Are you happy? If you are not, what is keeping you from attaining happiness? Is it money? If you had more money, would you be happy then? Is it popularity, success? Would these things make you happy? I would venture to guess – no.
If you were to Google happiness, the information, definitions and psychological discussions would bore you to tears. Though I was happy to learn that Aristotle and I have similar views. He believed that, though our circumstances might influence our happiness (i.e. wealth, health, beauty), we can develop habits and practices that help us to deal with misfortunes and setbacks in ways that will balance our lives and perspectives and, consequently we will rarely be unhappy.
I believe happiness comes from within. I think if we cannot be happy in our present lives, with our current situations, we will never be truly happy. So, Aristotle and I are pretty much on the same page. (Ow, I hurt myself just now, trying to give myself a pat on the back.)
I maintain, however, that a strong faith is key to our happiness. I have always felt that a balance of mind, body and spirit is crucial to maintaining our well-being. When Aristotle says we can develop habits that help us deal with misfortunes…that, to me, is strong faith and prayer, it can be nothing but.
There are days, of course, that do not go well – I’m not talking major, life-altering events, just ordinary, messy day-in-the-life type occurrences that leave us anything but happy. It’s pouring rain, the dog bursts in shaking water and slopping mud all over the kitchen floor; your late for work and haven’t even had time for breakfast; on the road, a farm tractor crawls along before you, with a steady stream of oncoming traffic ahead. You’re not in a good mood, clearly, but are you truly unhappy? No, you’ve just lost sight of what’s important. How often does that happen to us – we lose sight of what’s important. We need to cultivate those habits that bring us back to center, to happiness – prayer, contemplation, and peace. These should always be our practices, our habits.
Here, I must say, it would behoove me to practice what I preach. I confess this is not always my course of action. Sometimes I mistakenly think I’m in charge and that is truly when things go awry.
So, if you happen to see me on one of those days when things have gone awry, just give me a pointed look and this little reminder, ‘Have faith, and be happy.’ A tip for us all, to get back on track. Margery Frisch