Caring For Others

How would we define happiness?

We all have our own definition of happiness. In Dr. Iza Kavedzija's article, she stated how one old lady defined happiness: looking after her husband’s parents makes her the happiest. Some people might be astounded by this definition of happiness. However, Dr. Iza interprets it as the importance of having care for others: the world will be a better place if people look after each other.

Nick: A very old lady in your paper, how she defined happiness or what happiness meant amused me. I think our listeners will be very surprised.

So a kind, 90-year-old lady who came to know you well shared with you that in life, if you look after your husband's parents, you will be most happy. I think most, if not all my listeners, would think the opposite of that statement.

I'd like to ask you, what was this old lady wanting to communicate with this statement?

Iza: So I think maybe I need to give you a little bit more context to do her justice. This came at the end of her life story, and she gave me her life story over several different sittings, so we spoke for quite a long time.

This person she led a long life, she had many children, she lived through the Second World War, her house was on fire in the Second World War, and she had to run away with her children in her arms by herself away from the Kansai region on foot.

So she lived through considerable hardship, then lived a long and content life with her husband, and with her children postwar. Her husband was an official, so they had a stable source of income.

Her main feeling or self-realisation was to care for her family and to make sure that for instance,  that they're eating healthy, and she could care for their health and their well-being, by making sure that they eat balanced meals. 

So I think what she was getting at here was the sense of the importance of care and importance of caring for others. If one cares for others, then everything will be good and that care will also come back to them one way or another.

This is not about straightforward reciprocity but in a sense that if we create a caring world and a caring community, then one way or another, those good things will be there, and therefore they will be there for us hopefully should we need them one day.