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Got happiness???

January 20, 2011

So I am a member of the Groupon site for NYC and Brooklyn.  It’s a pretty cool coupon site that I’ve grown to love, and they like to give tips every day.  Today’s tip was a guide on self-esteem.  Here it is below:

The Groupon Guide to: Self-Esteem

Unfortunately, we don’t have people telling us how great we are all the time, necessitating the complex emotion of self-esteem. Here’s how to help you maintain a suitable amount of self-esteem:

Hour One: Cook a hearty breakfast. Not only will eating fill your lungs with nutrients, but the act of cooking will make you feel like a lumberjack—traditionally the tallest, and therefore most worthwhile, profession.
Hour Two: Read a book. Educated people are always happy.
Hour Three: Work with your hands. Why not create something positive and use your hands to make a birdhouse or a gang sign?
Hour Four: Think of others. Any time that you spend imagining that you’re volunteering can be written off on your taxes.
Hour Five: Spend the hour repeating, “You are not worthless,” over and over again. In no time, the words will lose all meaning.
Hour Six: Find a mirror and start staring. Studies prove that as long as you produce a reflection, you’re still alive.

I like this guide, but I take issue with “Hour Two: Educated people are always happy”.  I’m sorry, but how many very, very, very smart people do you know who are truly happy?  It is certainly fulfilling to be an enlightened individual, but I know more than one person whose life happiness has been ruined by reading books by  acclaimed authors and philosophers.

Also, smart people sometimes have to deal with not fitting in socially, or compensating their over-awareness of the world in some other dysfunctional way.  Imagine seeing things and reading into things no once else can see or understand?  It’s not always pleasant.  In fact, it sometimes curdles the blood.

I just like to think about what one of my students once told me.  She said, “I just realized recently that I was a smart woman.  And it’s really, really hard.  And this class (women’s studies) has made it even harder to be a smart woman.”  This statement made me happy, but also broke my heart.

Smart people are not always happy.

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