Stop rignt now and watch this. Otherwise you won’t believe why I’ll be the happier one in my future divorce.
Yes, I’m the dumpee. The one who was left behind. The person who is being forced into a breakup I didn’t want. The Defendant, if you are looking at the divorce papers.
And with certainty, I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll be the happier one with this outcome. I have science on my side.
“Tis nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so” ~ William Shakespeare
Admit it, I really don’t have a choice in my outcome. I may not want to get divorced but that won’t stop Husband #2 from filing divorce papers and ending our union. That part has already been proven. Husband #2 filed papers in October of last year and the only thing that kept him from completing the process was a lack of funds. No matter how much I kick and fight, yell and dig in, I can’t stop a divorce from happening. Even refusing to sign the documents will not result in a lack of divorce, so you can see my “choice” in this matter is zero. It will happen regardless of my participation in the process.
This is where the science comes in. Natural Happiness is what we get when we get what we want and Synthetic Happiness is the happiness we make when we don’t get what we want. I’ll be entrenched in the Synthetic Happiness camp after our divorce is final.
Let me build this out a bit more. There is something called The Free Choice Paradigm. It boils down to this: The choice I made is better and the choice I didn’t make sucks. Ha ha! Happiness abounds! Right?
No. Not at all.
Freedom is the friend of Natural Happiness and the enemy of Synthetic Happiness, or so you would think. But when we’re stuck and have no options, we’re able to manufacture Synthetic Happiness by the bucketfull.
Natural Happiness is best, unless we have the option to change our minds, because when we have choices, we have second guesses, regrets, and changes in liking. And all that regret, second guessing and changes in our preferences mean decreases in happiness. Natural Happiness dies. Natural Happiness with choices leads to deep disappointment.
Digging deeper into Dan Gilbert‘s book “Stumbling on Happiness”, we find that people imagine the future poorly, in particular what will make them happy. It turns out that our imaginations fail us by adding or removing details from our projected futures. We also tend to ignore that things will feel differently once they actually happen. And that our future is more like the present than we care to admit.
I think I’m going to learn a lesson from Mr. Gilbert and concentrate on the present for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not throwing caution to the wind and spending my retirement savings allotment on ice cream and fancy shoes. I’m not completely off my rocker!
Instead, I’m going to concentrate on the present. Since I have no choice in the filing of divorce papers, I’m forced to look at the world through my optimistic eyes and find the happiness within and enjoy the little pieces of life that roll across my path every day. This is one time I’m thankful that the decision is being made for me and I now understand how people in terrible situations can find happiness in their difficult lives.
“We have within us the capacity to manufacture the very commodity we are constantly chasing when we choose experience” ~ Dan Gilbert
It’s time for me to manufacture some happiness with where I am right now…