It may seem that the heading of this column is contradictory. However, there is a very good and productive way to be selfish, thus insuring the happiness of others. Simply stated, a happy and contented person is much more capable of instilling a light-hearted and sunny attitude in the folks who are fortunate enough to share their space.
I have always thought it odd that there are some who wear their “unselfish” existence like a badge of honour. They see themselves a martyrs because they consistently sacrifice their time and energy...and even their health “for the better good.” They are so busy carrying their load that they do not have time to exercise, eat properly...or just have fun. Life becomes a condition to be endured and a smile is hardly ever worn on their face.
The truth is being a bit selfish is hard work. It is not always easy to be a happy person but actually the person who consistently wears a smile is the person who is selfless. It takes a great deal of energy, both physical and mental, as well as a good dose of self-discipline to be a ray of sunshine. Because happiness appears to be such a natural condition the happy person is not likely given credit for the effort they make to maintain a sunny disposition.
Happy people also deal with illness, physical pain, and financial concerns. They simply do not focus on those issues, and they do not discuss their problems when at a social event with friends. They are not even likely to dwell on their problems when they are with close family members. A happy person takes good care of the body and mind they have been given. They take time to exercise and they eat well. They take time to enjoy friendships...and even treat themselves to special treats, such as a massage, a new hairstyle, or attending a concert. The happy person finds any and every opportunity to enjoy a good chuckle...but never at another's expense.
The antics of the fellow leading the country to the south of us is a very good example of one who seems to laugh at other people's expense. He is the guy who wears the upside-down smile that is best described as a grimace. The only time that grimace seems to turn around is when someone at one at a rally makes a nasty comment about “an enemy.” Hillary Clinton provided Donald Trump with many of his jolly moments.
There is no doubt that having an adequate income can help with happiness. However, the “love of money” seems to create the opposite effect. Trump does not appear to be a happy person. In fact, his rages and anger show up in his tweets and in his very nasty comments. Anyone who takes a different viewpoint than his is fair game. Name-calling seems to be a particular talent of the man with the elaborate comb-over. His tireless, ongoing efforts to increase his financial holdings so that all with the name “Trump” can live in the style in which he wishes them to be accustomed is his “cross to bear.”
However, I can't help but wonder if maybe a bit of exercise – rather than riding around in a golf cart – might create enough endorphins to actually put a smile on the man's face. Being around a person who is angry and obviously unhappy is a real downer. Let's just say...meeting Donald Trump would be on the very, very bottom of my bucket list.
Shirley Hallee’s column appears weekly in the Amherst News.