Sartre said that hell is other people and sometimes that seems to be the case- think about last time you were on an over-crowded beach, or waiting for a busy commuter train at a London station, or queuing in a traffic jam, or trying to do Christmas shopping on a Saturday! Then you might just wish you could click your fingers and be on your own. However what about that brilliant concert or gig you went to? Or those hordes of well wishers on your wedding day? Or that sweaty dance floor? It wouldn’t be the same without those other people around you.
In fact the well known positive psychologist Martin Seligman talks in his latest book about the importance of connectedness with other people to our well-being. His “formula” for happiness is PERMA: positive emotions, engagement with the world, meaning, achievement and positive relationships. We all hopefully value our family and friends, but even in a crowd we can sometimes just share a positive moment with someone and that will add to our day. Also we can use the mindful practice of loving-kindness meditation on a regular basis which involves just thinking positive thoughts about the people in our lives- they are not always angels (as we are not either!) But sharing time with good people is certainly not hellish.