Happiness vs. Suffering

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetI recently have gotten into Podcasts; I love listening to something inspirational and thought provoking on my morning commute. My normal go-to listens are At Home With (a Podcast where two women interview successful designers, YouTubers, and beauty experts in their personal homes, and describe the interior design as they ask questions about the success of the interviewee), and I also listen to How I Built This (where Guy Raz interviews successful entrepreneurs about their success and down fallings before hand). Today I listened to a new Podcast that a friend had recommended, the Podcast is called Armchair Expert and it’s Dax Shepard asking people questions about their lives, careers, and experiences. His very first guest was his wife Kristen Bell, and I’ve literally already listened to it twice! They have a real, honest relationship, but also the way Kristen looks at life was refreshing and at the same time it made me feel like I was listening to my own brain! Keep in mind I left out some of my favorite relationship anecdotes that they used, as to not spoil the fun of listening to them! I was actively laughing on several occasions, but also found myself thinking about what I can actively do to make myself happier, and to cause others less suffering. I would highly recommend listening to this one and have picked out some highlights below!Processed with VSCO with f2 presetThe interview starts, and it’s pretty obvious that Kristen and Dax are having a day where they’re a little out of sync; they’re bickering and arguing over Michael’s, which I actually love, because it means they are real live human beings. Kristen tells Dax that he’s annoying and he retorts, “If you can get through the annoying times, you’ve got a shot.” This really resonates with me! I read a quote recently that talked about how easy it is to love someone on Christmas, or on Valentine’s day, or on a seven day beach vacation, but life is hard and it sucks sometimes, and sometimes the person you love most annoys you more than anyone in the whole world (ask Darren about me and the snooze button). Anyway, the thing is, is that life is not perfect, and you need to, and deserve to find someone who loves you through the annoying times, through the times that absolutely break your heart, and through those perfect moments too!

Kristen Bell has literally the healthiest life perspective I have ever heard. Her husband confronts the fact that she is a chronic rule follower, but also has had one night stands, and is quick to tell people exactly what she thinks. She elaborates, “You’re taught that there is good and evil and I just don’t believe that anymore…When there is happiness, I don’t run from it.” She talks a lot about happiness versus suffering, and the fact that when confronted with something where she has to choose what to do she questions whether it causes her happiness, or someone else, or if it will result in anyone suffering. I LOVE THIS. I think I have always lived to the same standard, but never really knew how to describe it, but I definitely choose happiness. People ask me a lot how I’ve been able to stay positive, despite everything that is going on in my life, and the truth is, sometimes it is really hard, but every single morning I look in the mirror, and I choose happiness; I choose to write my own story, I choose to put on a pot of coffee, and go to work, and I choose to look for the little stuff, the person who lets me into traffic, the person who is in front of me at the drive-thru and pays for my order too, the light that turns green at the right moment, the strangers I meet who feel like family, the dog that seems happy to see me, the baby who asks for me by name, and I look for happiness.

Kristen also opens up about anxiety and depression and mentions how normal those things have become in the age of social media. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others, and as Dax points out, to others “edited” versions of themselves. She talks about comparison and says, “If I’m a piece of shit, I’m a piece of shit because I’m a piece of shit, not because of Emily Blunt.” Here, she’s talking about a friend getting a role over her, but I wish I could go back in time and teach my high school self this one!   I am so so so guilty of comparing myself to others, whether it’s been the way I look, what my job is, or even my relationship, I’ve constantly got what Kristen calls “a comparison hangover.” No one, not that girl that he left you for, or cheated on you with, not the girl with the more expensive purse, or better hair, no one should ever have the power to make you feel like a piece of shit, unless you already felt like one before they ever came along. In the words of Kristen, “I don’t want a comparison hangover. It’s useless, and it’s a waste of fucking time.” Comparing is never something that makes you feel good, there will always be someone more successful, with better hair, and prettier teeth than you, but that’s okay!

Dax argues that social media is hugely responsible for this hangover. He says, “you’re comparing yourself to people at the best moments of their life.” We see people’s wedding photos, the photo of the fancy hotel room, the day you got a new car, the day your boyfriend was the best boyfriend ever, and as much as it’s real, it’s a cultivated reality, which in all fairness is probably not the fairest representation of someone’s everyday. I’m guilty of this too, one of my last blog posts was about my Instagram “theme” – a post detailing how I cultivate the way my Instagram looks, and maybe that makes me a total fraud, but I like to think that I come on here and I write about some totally superficial stuff, which helps me forget some of my current reality, things like I’m 25 and still finding myself, while losing my father, so I try to be real too. If I want my Instagram to be pretty to distract me from those things that’s okay, but I am more than open to tell people about my real life.

Maybe my favorite line in the entire Podcast is when Kristen says, confidently, “Karma is not bullshit.” Kristen talks about the fact that she wonders what is selfish and selfless, because she helps people to make herself feel good. She says, “You can get all the things you want in life by being actively good to another person.” This is something my mother raised me to know as an absolute truth. I go out of my way to be nice to every person I come into contact with, every human being, every baby, every dog. I am smiley, loud, and want to help others, and if I believe anything in this universe it is that there is Karma, and here’s to hoping that something good happens to good people, and that the universe rewards those who are selfless and put others before themselves.

Kristen also talks about those people that we wish Karma upon, people who are mean and unpleasant and hateful. She sounds like a mother of two when she says,“If somebody says something nasty, it says nothing about you, and everything about them.” I needed to hear this yesterday. I had a customer who was so mean to me, they literally told me my voice was annoying, I was annoying, and they didn’t want my help, and I get it, I am annoying, I am my mother’s daughter, I am loud, I over articulate when I explain things, and I talk with my hands, I am best tolerated in small doses, but it took everything in my body to not scream at that man that my Dad is at home dying, and I am doing the best I can, and if that means that I put on a little extra show at work, with my perkiness and loud, overly articulate explanations, I think that that’s maybe okay. You don’t know anyone else’s story, and I am choosing happiness over suffering, so instead of telling that man that I am doing the best I can with what I’ve got, I wondered instead if he is suffering and I walked away. Kristen challenges her husband in the Podcast that he needs to be nice, even to telemarketers, because you never know who lost both of their parents yesterday, or their dog, or who relapsed with depression or anxiety, or who had their heart broken and that’s something that we should all be conscious of. Kristen also says, “I don’t care if anyone is saying shut up,” in other words – be who you are, unapologetically, and don’t get too caught up in people who are just mean.

The last thing that really resonated with me was Kristen explaining how she’s living her best life, “It’s ease of life, I’m looking for the easiest lane.” Pick the lane where it’s okay to be you, where it’s okay to say no to people, where you can pick your bed over the bar, pick the lane where the people you love are, and always consider happiness, and do what you can to prevent suffering.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

 

 

 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. ann says:

    I’m so glad you loved this episode as much as I did! I can’t stop thinking about it!

    1. Officially part of the armcherries! Love Dax and Monica!

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