Ted Explains How to Be Happy
The other Ted talk, "Three Words That Will Change Your Life," was inspiring in a different way. Dr. Holder explained that for humans, happiness is inextricably linked to their relationships. We need to be bonded to others. If not, we bond to other things to self-medicate our loneliness, especially if we have suffered trauma and need to numb ourselves from life (leading to sex, drugs, and/or food addiction). People who are genuinely happy have close, loving relationships with others. They spend time nurturing these intimate friendships. They feel understood and heard, as well as safe enough to be close to others. The aforementioned three words that will change your life are: "tell me more," because saying them to someone instantly bonds them to you. Try it with your next conversation and instead of zoning out or interrupting, really make an effort to hear what your friends are saying. That is what builds connection and that connection leads to increased happiness.
Dr. Holder also explained that the happiness of your partner directly correlates with your own happiness. That completely makes sense to me, because I struggle with being completely happy when my husband is sad. He is such a big part of my life that I cannot imagine being care-free when he's upset. I have no doubt that many people can relate to this issue. I mean this not in a codependent, unhealthy way, but as an expression of the connection with my mate.
I wanted to share both of these talks because I think we all get caught up in the stress of our lives and the quest for what is "enough," that we forget to slow down and examine what truly make us smile. Happiness is being grateful that you are not in pain or hungry. Happiness is not what you can buy, it's appreciating who you are and who loves you. If only Sam had been so lucky to see what gifts lie beyond the teenage years! But honestly, he wouldn't see his death as "I wish I could have lived to see another birthday." Instead, he would see it as, "I'm so happy and grateful I got to celebrate 17 of them." Rest in peace buddy.