Happy new year everyone!
Hold on! What does this mean? Most people wish people a “Happy new year” but what does the person saying it think of and what does the person receiving it think of? Are they the same thing?
Are we wanting everyone to feeling happy 24 hours a day, 7 day a week, for the next 52 weeks? Perhaps we are. I can’t help wondering if the person would notice though. It takes me back to my favourite question does a fish know it is swimming in water? A fish just knows it moves around. Unless it is a fish that swims at the top of water and has experienced the feeling of “no water” I am not sure it does.
If someone has a happy disposition do they know it themselves or does it require others to point it out to them that they are typically happier than the average person? People might have an idea of some of their habits and attributes but it normally takes an outsider to help us understand who we are and who we are not. We can be very self aware but never spot something that someone would instantly associate with us.
Getting back to “Happy new year” was 2012 a happy year? How do judge this? I suspect some readers instantly answered my question hopefully positively but positively negatively. In 1992 in a speech marking the 40th anniversary of her Accession, Queen Elizabeth II, described 1992 as “Annus Horribilis”. What happened in the 1992 that was so bad? Well according to Wiki
- In March 1992, it was announced that her second son, The Duke of York, would separate from his wife The Duchess of York.
- In April, her daughter, The Princess Royal, divorced her husband Captain Mark Phillips.
- In June, The Princess of Wales’ tell-all book, Diana, Her True Story, was published.
- In November, just four days before the Guildhall speech, one of The Queen’s homes, Windsor Castle, caught fire.
I am sure all these things were terrible for the Queen at the time. I wonder how they are in retrospect? I wonder if she values having the fire now as it means better fire precautions are in place. Yes it is sad to have lost what she did but it could have been so much worse.
Are her children happier as individual having had their breakups? Would the Queen be so upset if Prince William got to the point of a marriage breakup or has the precedent and reality of modern life now influenced things?
These are four things that were public knowledge in the Queen’s life how much happiness did she experience? How much happiness had she forgotten she experienced that year as she was choosing to summarise it as “Annus Horribilis”?
It is normally very easy to dismiss happy events and remember problems and sadness. Problems and misfortunate cause us pain. We don’t like pain. We remember pain. Perhaps people take happiness for granted, perhaps people are poor at spotting it. Perhaps it just doesn’t have the impact on our lives that bad events have.
So when I wish people a happy new year what do I actually mean? What am I really wanting?
I think a happy new year for me is one where I can help change peoples lives for the positive. I enjoy doing this because it makes me feel good and I am selfish in enjoying feeling good inside. It matters little to me if the person who’s life is better is aware of the change or whether I receive praise for it. If I know I have put myself out to increase happiness in the world then I have done something good and I feel good inside. I am aware I make mistakes and I get things wrong but if I strive to improve I can’t fail to become happier and happier. Will I notice? I think in my case I will.
So my wish for 2013 is that everyone can increase their positive influence other people’s lives for their own selfish happiness.
Happy new year!