Sunday, March 31, 2013
Think about yourself so you can forget about yourself
This quote rang through my head when I finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I thought about it all day. Really thought about it. I had to ask myself what it really meant. In order to think about yourself, you think of what you want to do, who you want to be and what you really want. In order to forget yourself, you put others before you and you don't focus on yourself. So what did she mean?
Then, as I was reading Fruits Basket it hit me. Tohru Honda! Tohru thinks about herself, but no one would realize this because she is always focused on others. She treats people the way she wants to be treated, but at the same time, she protects herself. How you ask? By being generous, loving and kind. It goes back to the third book of the series when Momiji mentions a story they read in class. The Most Foolish Traveler In The World. This story is about a traveler who is always thinking of others and the people of the village use this to their advantage. When the traveler has lost everything, he wanders in the woods where the monsters convince him to give up his arms, legs and soon he is reduced to a head. Once the monster eats the traveler's eyes the monster thanks him and gives him a gift in return. The traveler thanks the monster happily as he dies, saying that this is the only gift he has ever received. The gift itself was a piece of paper with the word "fool" written on it. Momiji goes on to say that after they read the story . . . "Everyone laughed. While they laughed . . . I closed my eyes and thought about the traveler. I thought about the traveler who was tricked into being nothing but a crying head saying, "thank you." And . . . I thought . . . how lucky he was. Loss. . . Suffering . . . it's pointless to think about them. The traveler didn't think about them. That might be stupid to some people . . . but it's not stupid to me. Even though other people probably think he was being tricked, I don’t think he was. I think he did exactly what he wanted to do."
This is the characteristic that makes Tohru misunderstood. She is selfless sometimes, but she is selfish in others. She is always trying to be happy to make others happy.
I think I understand what this quote means now. In a way, to make others happy, you have to be happy yourself. If you're not happy, then the people around you aren't happy either, or they don't want to be with you because they know that you're not happy, and that makes them unhappy. Emotions are contagious things, and I guess Tohru learned that at a young age. So when people say they hate Tohru or they think she's weak, I shake my head. Tohru's strength is in her happiness.
Happiness is not an easy thing to achieve. You have to work at it. and working at happiness is a difficult and soul searching experience. It also varies with different people. Some people can tap into something that makes them happy easily. Some take years before they even think about who they are or what they want to do. Happiness is something you have to earn, and in earning it, you make other people happy too. But with the complications of the world and just life in general, you can't be happy all the time. You can, however, cherish the moments that you were happy and do your best to help others along the way. Finding happiness creates a sense of purpose, and just by seeking happiness out, you lighten the load of burdens that you constantly carry all the time.
You can also look at this as another way of saying, treat others the way you want to be treated, and once you achieve your goal, help someone else get there too.
So in order to be yourself and help others discover happiness, you must think about yourself to forget yourself.