I have started The Happiness Trap and I’m intrigued by how it is mirrors Buddhist ideas about suffering.
I truly believe that all suffering is created by our thoughts, not by the situations in which we find ourselves. As an example, let’s say a young man meets a woman and falls in love. They start a relationship. Over time he decides she is the only one for him and that he can never be happy if she does not love him back. He doesn’t care that she never expresses affection, or that she snaps at him a little too often, or that she’s stingy with money when he likes to spend. He knows no relationship is perfect. He’s happy to adapt. All he cares about is the way she smiles, the funny jokes she makes that surprise him, the way she’s always there to help when he needs her, the way her hands feels in his.
Then, out of the blue, she tells him she doesn’t feel the same way and she leaves.
He is devastated.
Now let’s say that same man meets that same woman but he sees things slightly differently. He loves the way she smiles, the funny jokes she makes that surprise him, the way she’s always there to help when he needs her, and the way her hand feels in his. But he knows he doesn’t need anyone else to make him complete. He doesn’t believe there is only one person for each of us. As time goes by, he finds himself increasingly bothered by the fact that she never expresses affection. He hates the way she she snaps at him for no reason. And it bothers him that she’s stingy with money when they have plenty to spare.
Then, out of the blue she tells him she doesn’t love him and she leaves.
He is relieved.
Same situation. Same issues. Different thoughts.