We must learn to find happiness amid the uncertainties and disappointments of today. But is it right for me to seek happiness when there is so much suffering in the world? Even while on vacation, I can’t help thinking about people who are starving, wars that are going on, economies collapsing, children suffering in broken families.
I want to be a responsible person. Rather than being on vacation, should I be doing something to help?
For me, there does seem to be a way to be both responsible and happy. Below are four simple principles, guided by my faith, that have helped me find a fulfilling, happy, and balanced life.
First, the essential element to any effort to improve the world is to start with and include God.
Second, continuously love and care for those in my immediate circle. This follows the motto: “Living for the Sake of Others.”
Third, I look for ways to serve in some aspect of the world around me. In fact, the motto on one of my favorite t-shirts reads “Peace Starts with Me!”
Fourth, partake of the beauty and pleasures of life on the earth such as nature, good food, hobbies, and friends. Do things that you enjoy. This principle creates the balance in my life.
How does my approach compare to your approach to finding a happy and balanced life?
Do my four principles work for you?
Do you have your own principles of happiness? What are they?
Please share your thoughts below
The four areas of concern are excellent and seek to create a better now and a better future. One thing I would add is, let go of the past. Few have had a perfect past. Our lack of maturity, bad friends, and circumstances have stained all our lives. The past need not determine our future.
These 4 cover a lot of ground, thoughtful, and a good framework to see your values as actions in the world. Within the context of the “third principle’, I would like to add – telling the truth as a service to humanity. My own contemplation of the current state of world affairs is the astounding falsehood that prevails in social media, far deeper than the Fox vs MSNBC battles – but the emerging new medias that have no boundaries. Human history, fallen history, began with a Lie. I think happiness involves being honest, trustworthy and sincere, and that cannot be without Truth. We cannot have a World of Peace without the clarion call of Truth in our hearts and minds.
I perceive that the four principles that you share here all have one thing in common: that you (or “I”) actively engage in relationship. I had that understanding when I was much younger; and recognized that happiness (or “joy”) was not something I could simply create on my own. It requires inititiating and responding in relationships. This is such an underlying assumption for many of us that it is often overlooked.
For those who don’t have a belief in God, or are unsure about it, the principles still work.
A fifth principle might be to live with a sense of adventure, and challenge your limitations.
Keith brings up an interesting point. Although Mark advocates starting with and including God, all other principles of happiness that he advances, and the fifth principle suggested by Keith, work well regardless of faith.
Physical (science) and spiritual principles created by God are true, regardless of belief in God. Science, that God created, is based on laws and principles that exist and operate independently from God. Therefore, I believe the basic principles of happiness proposed by Mark – i) to serve and care for the people and world around you, and ii) to balance that service with activities and adventures that provide personal inspiration and satisfaction – come from God, but can be a path to happiness regardless of faith.
I think your four pillars are accurate. I wonder if another aspect of living happily is to incorporate joy as a priority in each moment. For instance, catching the negative thoughts as they come in, and re-framing them to find something to be grateful for, or to find humor in, or to see in a new way? I find that when I catch my thoughts sliding into the complaining or frustrating realm, I need to notice and deliberately ask myself “Is this what I want to feel and dwell on?” Once I realize the thinking isn’t making me happy, I can find something to turn things around, and that really lightens the situation.
For me, happiness is a state of being, not a destination. I am happy when I feel that I am on my path: (1) Compassion; (2) Contribution beyond my own needs; (3) Self-improvement; (4) A balanced and stress-free state of mind.
Really appreciate the way you put into words the keys to true happiness. There’s an old saying, ” Brighten the corner, where you are” . Starting the day off with God, out in nature, before the Morning Devotion is very grounding and energizing for me. Love the sounds of nature, before the dawn. Have kept a daily Gratitude list for years. But since returning to the Divine Principle, I have been actively looking for opportunities to thank people and celebrate their gifts. Some people just don’t realize what they have to have to offer, and it can really lift their spirits to have those things acknowledged. Especially when it’s unexpected.