"Do unto others as you would have done unto you."
"If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."
"Think before you speak."
"Always say 'Please' and 'Thank you'."
"Always do your best."
"If all the other kids jumped off a cliff, would you want to do that too?"
"You can't buy happiness."
"If you want other people to love you, you have to love yourself."
"Don't judge people."
"Everything happens for a reason."
"Don't be a sore loser."
"What comes around goes around."
That stuff stuck with us (we all know we're saying it to our kids) but how long did it take until we actually "got it"? Usually it took a couple of life lessons to realize what they really meant. But even with the best of intentions (and a lot of vague platitudes), our parents can't teach us everything we need to know about life. We still have to fumble through on our own and learn as we go. Given how the world is such a negative place (have you watched the news lately?) it's not surprising that so many of the people we come across every day seem so negative and unfriendly (can you say "road rage"?). I think we can all use a reminder about how to be truly happy.
Those of you that know me on Facebook know that I try my best to stay positive (if not, check out my page on Facebook: The P.A.C.E. Page - Positive Attitude Changes Everything). I try my best to share things that will remind people what a difference a positive attitude makes. With all of the self-improvement books I've read and audio-books that I've listened to, I really thought I had learned a lot about staying positive and being happy. But acting happy and being happy are two different things. As mentioned in my previous post, I recently decided to start studying Happiness so I could learn more about it and try to figure out why it seems like I've been chasing happiness my whole life but never quite catching it. The book I just finished reading has definitely made me realize that I am now headed in the right direction.
"When you're Happy for No Reason, you bring happiness to your outer experiences rather than trying to extract happiness from them. You don't need to manipulate the world around you to try to make yourself happy. You live from happiness, rather than for happiness. Most of us focus on being Happy for Good Reason, stringing together as many happy experiences as we can, like beads in a necklace, to create a happy life. We have to spend a lot of time and energy trying to find just the right beads so we can have a 'happy necklace'. Being Happy for No Reason is like having a happy string. No matter what beads we put on our necklace -- good, bad or indifferent -- our inner experience, which is the string that runs through them all, is happy, creating a happy life. When you're Happy for No Reason you're unconditionally happy. It's not like your life always looks perfect -- it's just that however it looks, you'll still be happy."
The rest of the book "shows you step-by-step how to raise your happiness level". I have to admit, I think this book has helped me feel happier in the week or so since I finished reading it. It has changed my perspective about a lot of different things. Instead of worrying about all of the things that I usually worry about, I have realized that I will always be unhappy if I let those things dictate whether I'm going to be happy or not.
One of the things in the book that made me realize that I had started down the right path by studying Happiness was this:
"It's been proven that simply putting your attention on becoming happier has a powerful effect. In fact, one of the very first happiness experiments ever conducted demonstrated this. In 1977, Dr. Michael Fordyce, a psychologist and the author of The Psychology of Happiness, published the groundbreaking results of his experiment showing that students asked to study the habits of happy people actually increased their happiness and life satisfaction by just learning about the subject."
And it also included an important point:
"...investing time and attention to become happier is like diet and exercise; you can't do it for just a day or two, it has to be continued over time."
I hope you'll come along for the ride and work on being happier with me!