A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .

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The Secret of Happiness

January 3, 2012

The first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning was "I know what creates happiness." Perhaps an odd thing to come to mind, but it was a distilling of thoughts Iíd been chewing on for some time. I often feel grateful throughout the day for the ordinary wonderful things in my life, such as a warm home in winter, good health, a loving partner, interesting activities, delicious simple food. Appreciating what we have makes us happy, whereas a focus on what we lack makes us anxious and dissatisfied. This doesnít mean we donít seek healing if we are ill, or acquire some item we need. It means we donít always hanker after new gadgets, clothing, and experiences, or notice what other people have and want the same. Regarding the latter, the fact that American society has such a profound disparity of wealth makes comparison and resultant dissatisfaction more likely. Were we of more equal wealth the temptation to envy and acquisition of luxury items would not plague us so. Also complicit is advertising, with its message that you are not OK unless you buy X. X is rarely something you need, and is often, especially in the case of junk food, actually harmful.

To be happy, then, we must refuse to compare possessions, turn a deaf ear to advertising, and cultivate contentment. Hereís the secret to happiness: appreciate what you have, and donít want what you donít have.