Shards of Consciousness

Five Ways to Pursue Happiness

Newton's third law of motion says that "for every action there is an equal an opposite reaction." As a counterpoint to Five Ways to Make Yourself Miserable, here are five ways to pursue happiness. If you take nothing else from these two articles, take this.

You are responsible for who you are. You can be free, or you can be a prisoner. The choice is yours.

  1. Spend a few minutes each night remembering the positive things you've done or experienced. What you remember can be big, or it can be little. Give yourself a pat on the back for each goal you furthered today, each item on your todo list you completed, each person's day you made a little brighter with your smile. This exercise teaches you to focus on the positive aspects of your life, and it makes you remember you do make a difference in the world. Your acts may not seem important to you, but you don't know what effect they have on those around you.
  2. When something bad happens to you, see how you can turn it into a positive experience. For minor things this can take just a few minutes. For major things this may take years. The main point is to know that any circumstance, any event, is an avenue of growth and learning.
  3. Celebrate other people's successes. Again, this teaches you to focus on the positive aspects of your life. Even if the other person's success means your apparent failure in that particular thing, it happened for a reason and other options will open for you if you are open for them. At one level or another, we are all part of one another. Celebrating someone else's success is celebrating your own.
  4. Find new ways to pursue goals. The main reward from following the herd is the opportunity to wade in mud. Give yourself the chance to eat some fresh grass instead.
  5. Be loving. We often think jealousy is the result of love. It isn't. Jealousy is the result of possessiveness. Other people are not objects to be owned. 1 Corinthians 13:4 - 7 has some of the truest words to say on love:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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