June 20th, 2013

Family Lessons from Moldova, the World's Unhappiest Place

By Ron Nakamoto

Eric Barker's blog post below is about the book The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner.  Weiner's search was focused on countries, societies, and cultures but I found that his conclusions could also apply to families.  Weiner found that the elements that favored democracy were trust and tolerance.  Can't the same be said for families?

Other quotes from the blog that might apply to families:

Lesson number one: “Not my problem” is not a philosophy. It’s a mental illness. Right up there with pessimism. Other people’s problems are our problems. If your neighbor is laid off, you may feel as if you’ve dodged the bullet, but you haven’t. The bullet hit you as well. You just don’t feel the pain yet. Or as Ruut Veenhoven told me: “The quality of a society is more important than your place in that society.” In other words, better to be a small fish in a clean pond than a big fish in a polluted lake.

Lesson number two: Poverty, relative poverty, is often an excuse for unhappiness. Yes, Moldovans are poor compared to other Europeans, but clearly it is their reaction to their economic problems, and not the problems alone, that explains their unhappiness. The seeds of Moldovan unhappiness are planted in their culture. A culture that belittles the value of trust and friendship. A culture that rewards mean-spiritedness and deceit. A culture that carves out no space for unrequited kindness, no space for what St. Augustine called (long before Bill Clinton came along) “the happiness of hope.”


Embedded Link

What can you learn about happiness from the unhappiest place on Earth? – Barking Up The Wrong Tree
Eric Weiner travels the world to get different countries perspectives on happiness. What does he learn when he visits the unhappiest place in the world?

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