Why you must first develop your own happiness

Why you must first develop your own happiness

The Happiness Within – by Jaime Cundy

The Cullinan diamond is the world's largest diamond. Frederick Wells, a surface manager for the Premier Diamond Mining Company, found the diamond on January 26, 1905 in South Africa. There is no argument that the diamond had been residing in South Africa for thousands of years, until being uncovered by Wells. While it is true that we would not have seen the diamond if it wasn't for Wells, we cannot say that the diamond did not exist until the discovery. Like a diamond waiting in the earth to be discovered, happiness resides within each individual person, waiting to be brought to the surface. When we are with other people, we are like the earth being mined for our happiness. Our happiness is often uncovered through our experiences with others, but like Wells finding the diamond this doesn't mean that it wasn't within us to begin with. Furthermore it is up to us as individuals to build our own happiness within ourselves, so that when the Wells' of the world come to uncover it, they too can find the Cullinan within all of us.

A diamond is created beneath the world's surface through years of constant pressure and heat. Similarly our happiness is built up within ourselves over years of experience. It is not until this diamond is unearthed however that we can truly appreciate its beauty. A diamond left uncovered cannot be appreciated, admired and worn with a sense of pride. Similarly, while happiness resides within an individual, it is often not expressed or even experienced until that individual is with others. In his book Spiritual Evolution George Vaillant describes how human beings experience love; "Love is the point at which the opposing elements of the biological and the spiritual, the personal and the social, and the intimate and the universal intersect" (2008, pp. 88). We can apply this same idea to happiness. Happiness occurs in all its glory when it is experienced with others, however there is a responsibility on the individual to yield to the external forces to revel the happiness within themselves. Vaillent supports this idea when he speaks of the life of Howard Hughes, a man who spent his life in love-less relationships with many different women, and ultimately died alone. "Howard Hughes could not permit himself to love or to feel love. For it is not enough to be loved; we need to be able to take love in, and we need to be able to give love back" (2008, pp. 87).

Jonathan Haidt (2006) identifies this same phenomenon in his book The Happiness Hypothesis, when he speaks of the idea of reciprocity…

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