The relativity of happiness
Many people’s happiness is not due to absolute-outcomes, but rather to relative-outcomes.
We compare ourselves to others and also to our-self in the past.
Happiness is sometimes circumstantial.
One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.
A millionaire lost his fortunes and was forced to move into a small 3 room apartment. A poor person that managed to earn and save some money moved into a big 3 room apartment. They were identical apartments; one person was very miserable the other person was very happy.
A woman was diagnosed by a doctor to be terminally ill. She informed her family about the bad news. The woman’s family was very sad and miserable knowing that soon their beloved is going to die. After some days the doctor called and said there was a mix-up and that the diagnose was a mistake. The family was so happy and relieved to hear that it was a mistake. They could have felt happy before the diagnose, but did they?
An older man looking back at his youthful days felt that life was so wonderful many years ago when he was physically fit. At old age, being physically-limited made the old man unhappy. He said he would give up all his fortunes if only he could be fit again. He could have felt happy for his good health at his younger days, but did he?
A couple came to the Rabbi and complained that they live in a one room house, with 7 children. Living so cramped made them quarrel constantly and they were both feeling unhappy. The Rabbi asked if they still have their goats in the yard. The couple replied that they do. The Rabbi advised them to take 3 goats into the house. Next day they came to the Rabbi and complained that living with the goats is a nightmare. The Rabbi instructed them to remove one goat. Next day they came to the Rabbi and complained that it is intolerable with the goats in the house. The Rabbi instructed them to remove one goat. Next day they came to the Rabbi and complained that they are still quarreling and unhappy. The Rabbi instructed them to remove the last goat. Next day they came to the Rabbi and thanked him. They said that now they realize that they have plenty of space and that there is no reason to be unhappy.