On unintentional side-effects….

As is probably obvious at this juncture, I’ve been thinking about happiness a lot recently. And I’ve been having very Phoebe-esque reactions to it.
Remember that episode of Friends when Phoebe want to find a good deed she can do that DOESN’T have the unintended side effect of making her feel good? I wonder if I’m reacting to happiness in a similar (though backward) fashion. Is there something I can do (or am allowed to do) just because it makes me happy?
I’ve been getting manicures from the same woman for over 15 years. I love getting manicures. I love seeing this woman who, over many years, has really become a friend. So do I get manicures purely because it makes me happy? Not exactly. I like that it’s HER that I get manicures from. I could get a manicure from anyone, anywhere, anytime I want. But I keep going back to the same person because she’s the person that’s been doing my manicures for 15 years and frankly, I’d feel terrible if I just stopped seeing her.
Baking makes me feel especially wonderful. It’s a very happy place for me to be, the kitchen. But the alterior motive is that, well, I know I kick ass in the kitchen and I love to make things for other people. I can’t really remember the last time I baked something and actually ate it myself. It’s the process that makes me happy, not the result. The result usually makes other people happy. Which reminds me: I need to make some cookies for a girl friend sometime this week.
So when I think about doing something, anything, that makes me happy, I wonder what the unintended results might be. Will someone else end up unhappy? Will someone else end up happy? Will something I do cause a string of events that I have no way of predicting, thus no way of altering or stopping or whatever?
Sometimes, doing something that makes you happy has the distinct possibility of also making you feel pretty crappy. I feel that way, sometimes, when I go shopping. I like buying things for myself (specifically bags and jackets), but when I’m spending money on me, it means that there’s a debt to be paid. It means that as soon as I sign the receipt, someone will call me to go for dinner or drinks and I can’t. I have kind of intense guilt over spending money sometimes.
Similarly, when people tell me to “just do what makes me happy,” I want to ask them if they’d still feel that way if they knew that what would make me happy has the possibility of making them UNhappy. So how does that work? I honestly have no idea. But apparently, I’ve been told, I’m the only one really, truly looking out for myself.

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