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#387: Creating Happiness

Monday, August 02, 2010

There is an old saying that most people are about as happy as they set their minds to be. But what does that mean?

This afternoon I watched a movie where a dying woman insisted she wanted to live so she could be happy. "What is happiness?" her caretaker asked her. The woman had no answer.

It's easy to do as she did and claim we simply want to be happy. But does that mean we are free of debt? That we have sufficient income to pay our bills? That we have meaningful activities to fill our time? That we have a few close friends? That we enjoy good health? Must all of these things be present for our happiness?

Isn't true happiness more than that? Isn't true happiness internal, a feeling of satisfaction despite our circumstances and problems?

"There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will." Epictetus

Proverbs tells us that "...he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast."

But doesn't unhappiness seem to be the normal state of mind of most people as they complain, feel envy, hatred, distrust, fear, worry and deal with stress, boredom, loneliness and feelings of worthlessness?

Happiness, then, like other habits, must often be forced in order to overcome that kind of thinking. That can be done by focusing on the positives in our lives. It may take a great effort of will to convince ourselves that the negatives facing us will one day be eliminated, but to think our problems will always be with us is to doom us to a life of misery and despair.

When a negative thought enters our minds, let's take a deliberate step to think of something positive. One author calls it "present moment happiness."

Or we can follow the philosophy on the back of H.C. Mattern's unique business card: "The way to happiness: keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Fill your life with love. Scatter sunshine. Forgets elf, think of others. Do as you would be done by. Try this for a week and you will be surprised."

Yes, life is often difficult. But difficult circumstances need not dictate how we think. And if we think happy thoughts we can banish negative ones. It may take practice, but it can be done.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • BBURGER62
    Awesome blog! Blessings and happiness to you! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3912 days ago
  • LINDA25427
    Happiness is a state of mind which we have control. Hope you have a great week filled with happiness and health . God bless . emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3913 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5178852
    You've done it again, Lou!
    3913 days ago
  • PEPPERLEAH
    Fantastic blog!
    3913 days ago
  • PUDLECRAZY
    Bravo! Your life is what you make it. Three of the most inspirational people in my life were a friend that was dying of ALS, a very terrible disease. a friend who was dying of brain cancer, and my father who was dying of brain cancer. Each of these people knew that their time on earth was limited, but each was determined to live their life to the fullest, to be positive, and to enjoy the time they had left. In a way, it might be easier to indulge in wallowing, yet their lives were rich to the end, and they enriched the lives of the people around them with their strength and outlook.

    Great blog.
    3913 days ago
  • YATMAMA
    There's a lot in life we cannot control. We can, however, surround ourselves with positive people, people who encourage us in our efforts, who cheer us on to our goals. We can avoid negative people who sabotage our focus, who pull us down, weaken our resolve. I think that is part of the wonder of SparkPeople, to be surrounded by people of like needs and goals who authentically believe we can meet our goals, who encourage us along in every arena of life. Thanks for your insight and wisdom, Lou!
    3913 days ago
  • LESLIES537
    Agreed! Great blog! emoticon
    3913 days ago
  • TEDYBEAR2838
    The last 2 paragraphs are emoticon
    3913 days ago
  • JONNYJETPROP
    Great blog.
    3913 days ago
  • PENNYAN45
    I agree that each person can decide to be happy or not. It is a decision that we make for ourselves. Being grateful for what we have goes a long way to making us happy.


    3914 days ago
  • MOMMA_LITTLE
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    3914 days ago
  • A10TIVTRTL
    I really like that quote. I'm going to carry it in my pocket (and my heart) for a few days. Thank you, Lou.
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    3914 days ago
  • PIGLET1979
    This is a great meditation. Happiness is, despite its almost ubiquitous presence in daily chatter, a most esoteric concept. It is an idea that is most certainly self-defined and fluid. For me, some great difficulty arises in living out my conceptual notion that happiness exists beyond the fray of the material world. Not that one cannot experience happiness within our material reality, but more so that material comfort somehow muddies the waters and creates false or arbitrary human reactions.

    This is all getting a bit too deep for a lite Monday afternoon discussion. And now I'll kindly excuse myself...ahem.
    emoticon
    3914 days ago
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