Our happiness depends on that of others

By Matthieu Ricard on March 26, 2012

Among all the clumsy, blind and extreme ways we go about building happiness, one of the most sterile is egocentrism. ‟When selfish happiness is the only goal in life, life soon becomes goalless,” wrote Romain Rolland. Even if we display every outward sign of happiness, we can never be truly happy if we dissociate ourselves from the happiness of others. This in no way requires us to neglect our own happiness. Our desire for happiness is as legitimate as anyone else's. And in order to love others, we must learn to love ourselves. It's not about swooning over the color of our own eyes, our figure or some personality trait, but about giving due recognition to the desire to live each moment of existence as a moment of meaning and fulfillment. To love oneself is to love life. It is essential to understand that we make ourselves happy in making others happy.

In brief, the goal of life is a deep state of well-being and wisdom at all moments, accompanied by love for every being, and not by that individual love that modern society relentlessly drums into us. True happiness arises from the essential goodness that wholeheartedly desires everyone to find meaning in their lives. It is a love that is always available, without showiness or self-interest. The immutable simplicity of a good heart.