By Bill Fox/Columnist
I believe that courtesy and kindness can help you to live a happier life and to be at peace within yourself. Let me give you an example from this past Saturday afternoon. I was driving east on Olive Avenue attempting to make a right onto Albert Street. We came across a red light at Albert and waited. When the light turned green only one car was able to go through as there was some kind of a backup both east and westbound ahead of us. After a moment or so, some drivers started to beep their horns. One fellow two cars ahead stood up through the passenger window to see what the hold-up was. If the car ahead could just get through the intercession I could make my right turn, but that was not to be on the next light. Finally cars started to move in our lane but in the opposite direction they were still stopped. Then I saw an elderly man with a long white cane crossing in front of them! How foolish I would have felt had I started to beep my horn. Was there a message we could have learned from the blind man crossing the road and the impatience of some of us?
It is not easy to seek happiness. Little acts of love and encouragement, of service and help, erase the rough places of life and help to make the path smooth. If we do these things, we cannot help but have our share of happiness.
One secret of attaining happiness is the art of giving. The paradox of life is that the more you give, the more you have. If you lose your life in the service of others, you will save it. Let no mean or selfish thought keep you from sharing a loving spirit. Give your personal comfort, your time, your money, and most of all, yourself. And you will find that you may be living more happily.
Going through an old column from a few years ago I found these points on happiness:
– Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.
– Happiness is being with the people you love; unhappiness is being separated from the people you love.
– Happiness is doing a job you love.
– Happiness is feeling useful to others.
– Happiness is caring about the happiness of those you love.
– Happiness is not attaching too much importance to what other people think.
– Happiness means making sure that those around you are happy.
Many people think happiness comes from having more power or more money. It says in the Bible that, “It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven.” I always imagined that this meant it was almost impossible for rich people to get into heaven, until I went to the Holy Land years ago. One of the entrances into the old city of Jerusalem was called the Eye of the Needle. It was possible for someone to walk through this entrance, but a camel would have to get on its knees in order to get through that opening. So it seems the lesson here is that it takes considerably more effort for rich people to get into heaven, and perhaps to attain true happiness.
I found these other quotes about happiness:
– “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes us happy.”
– From Dale Carnegie: “It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”
– “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” – Frederick Keonig
– “In getting married, the goal is to make your partner happy, not to have them make you happy!”- Father Tom McKillop, perhaps explaining why some people divorce today?
-Avoid a negative approach to life. Don’t be a fault-finder. One may find some fault in even the greatest masterpieces of art, music and literature. Is it not better just to enjoy their charm and glory?
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