When we feel love and kindness toward others it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.
— Dalai Lama
Are we happy when we get what we want?
This year the keynote speaker at the American Psychological Association convention was Dr. Dan Gilbert of Harvard. His book Stumbling on Happiness is an international bestseller and his talk was about affective forecasting: Do we know what will make us happy?
He pointed out that we are hardwired from birth to be happy when we get salt, fat, sweet things and sex. Beyond that our culture provides us cues about what will make us happy. That was when he showed us a photo of his mother.
He explained that his mother was the cultural agent informing him of what will make him happy: Marry a nice girl, find a job you like, and have some children.
He took his mother to task with these things. Today we’ll talk about the first. Love and marriage will surely make us happy, yes?
Well, yes and no.