Thursday, July 22, 2010

Search for Contentment

“"... all the sorrow and trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people. Not only in the big global Hitler-'n'-Stalin picture, but also on the smallest personal level. Even in my own life, I can see exactly where my episodes of unhappiness have brought suffering or distress or (at the very least) inconvenience to those around me. The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people."

— Elizabeth Gilbert in “Eat, Pray, Love”

People often do things more for others than themselves. When you constantly live to please others, at one point you start to lose yourself. You become defined by your actions towards others rather than your own regard for yourself. For example, you become the person who “can’t refuse”, rather than the person, who “won’t refuse”.

The more worrying thing about the above is that at a certain stage “self-sacrifice” starts appealing to you. With time, you start associating your unhappiness with the happiness of others.

When written in plain view as done above, it makes me see just how wrong, stupid and utterly disrespectful (to the "others") it is to think that. I have fallen into the above trap many times and have surely seen some of the people that I love most also trip.

I am reminded yet again that you need to love yourself before you can love the world.