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Sentiments: This May Come As A Surprise, But… I Am Happy For Them

The title of this entry may make you think anything. After all, we can be happy for people for an innumerable amount of reasons. We can be happy for someone because they just had a baby. We can be happy for someone because they just found a new job. Or, we can be happy for someone because they just struck it rich with all the winning numbers in one of those wild-eyed, edge-of-your-seat lottery draws.  

                But as it relates to my own personal sentiments,  I can say, without reservation, that I was genuinely happy for someone else and the forward movement of their life. Now even if I was casually browsing Facebook and just happened to sneak a peek at a few photos of some longtime friends, ones I have had very limited communication with over the last decade. This does not, in any way, detract from the sincerity of my sentiments (at least it does not in my mind). There may be those individuals who think that snooping around on Facebook is a tad obsessive and a complete waste of time, but such people may tend to ascribe miniscule value to long-terms relationships (friendships).

                But back to my sentiments. My other-oriented sentiments were ones filled with good-will and genuineness. I came across a beautiful photo of a happy couple standing beside a rather nice new something. At first I thought ‘holy smokes…that thing is sharp, sleek and a slew of other fancy descriptive words’. Then I thought ‘Wow, look at them – they really have done well for themselves and are living a very good life together’. Let’s be honest though, such positive sentiments are often muddled and distorted by a mixture of negative thoughts and feelings. Seldom do such positive sentiments standalone unfettered by the easy seepage of spoken negativity.  

                For instance, consider all of the adult conversations you have had to date throughout your life. When you think about all of the conversations, specifically the ones that are centered around the achievement of others (usually people who you care about and in return care about you), how many of them get tainted by statements like ‘Yeah, but look at what they had to give up to get that’? Or, the bitter and resentful; ‘Well, that’s not the life I would chosen’? Far too often, when we focus on the achievements and forward movement of others, do we entangle ourselves in jealousy, anger, and petty verbalizations – verbalizations which berates the reputations of others – dragging their names through a bog of belch, filth, and stench (but who doesn’t do this, really?)

                How, then, do we avoid the incessant psychological temptations of belch, filth, and stench? Will we just accept our negative interactive trepidations as part of the big social game, one that inevitably irks out the giant belly laughs that keeps us moving as a people? Or, will we play it a little safer, deciding that it is better to perpetually permeate positive sentiments into our social relationships?  

Whatever which way we will be, as of right now, and for the foreseeable future…I am happy for them.

Matthew Polkinghorne

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