How can we be happy when there is so much suffering in the world?

Our core happiness (our general day-to-day feeling of wellbeing) is our evolutionary reward for satisfying long-term, ongoing innate needs. We don’t have a long-term, ongoing innate need for people in other parts of the world to not suffer.

Yes, we have that desire, but that’s not an innate need.

Core happiness is a real thing that we evolved; it’s not the result of having our wishes for humanity met.

When we see examples of people or animals suffering, we might well feel anguish, compassion, anger . . . but that doesn’t mean we cannot lead a happy life. A happy life comes from having certain innate needs satisfied, not from living in a perfect world. Which is just as well, because if our happiness relied on no one suffering, none of us could be happy.

If you’re unhappy, it’s not because you’re such a caring person that you can’t bring yourself to be happy with all the suffering in the world, it’s because you’re not having innate needs met.

What might those long-term, ongoing innate needs be? The one I discuss in this book is the need to feel safe, that whatever happens, you’ll handle it. The needs I discuss in ‘The Umpteen Ways to Satisfy Our Deep Need to Belong‘ are:
– feeling valued ‘by the tribe’
– feeling that you contribute ‘to the tribe’
– feeling connected with ‘the tribe’

There are others.

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