“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”
Eleanor Roosevelt, diplomat and author (1884-1962)
Happiness. A “by-product” of what? I find it difficult to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face, like my cat does as she opens her eyes each and every morning and purrs just to be awake. Life is a scary place out there. Religion seems to be helping fewer and fewer people. The food industry continues to pull the lamb chop wool over our eyes with false and misleading information if not downright lies. Politics and government continue the rhetoric and the race for the next election while doing little. Greed seems to be the bottom line of most financial endeavors. There is less oil with which to drive and more oil on the loose with which to kill aquatic animals and fish. People continue to do things to each other that range from nasty to evil.
So if happiness isn’t the goal, and sometimes it seems like it’s not even an option, of what is it a by-product? How about the possibility that one has to do the best one can do given the situation and the conditions we are faced with? How about the possibility that there is a lot of good out there that while not highlighted in the newspapers should be noticed and acknowledged? How about one act of faith, or one act of kindness, or one act of caring? How about an “I Love You” or a “Thank You” as often as possible to those around you.
Perhaps the by-product is how we perceive the “stuff” of our life and how we choose to think about it. How we choose to react to it. Can we not take things personally? Can we continue to be optimistic in the face of difficulties. Can we be grateful for what we have rather than obsess on what we do not have? Is our life half empty or half full?
Perhaps the best we can do is to be grateful for what we have (because it could get worse) and to know that in one minute we could have NOTHING, i.e. enter the great hooded, scythed Angel of Death. Perhaps the best we can do is realize that we already have happiness because it exists there inside of us and the choice is ours to acknowledge it or not. Perhaps the best we can do is act as though we are happy every morning just to see the sun rise, like my kitty does, and behave throughout the day as though we were happy? Then maybe one day we will wake up and realize that Happiness is ours.