Saturday, June 27, 2009

What is Happiness

Before I write about "Happiness" I want to write about my blog.

Even if no one reads my blog I don't care. I am realizing more and more how nice it is to put my thoughts on paper. This is something I'm doing for me.

To be able to put my thoughts down has allowed me to actually view what goes on in my head. And I like what goes on inside my head, more than I thought. So, I highly recommend you start your own blog, you'll be glad you did.

What Dennis Prager says on happiness

Onto Happiness

What about happiness? Is it important? I believe it's very important. And it's our responsibility to strive to be happy. Sounds like a contradiction in terms, but happiness just doesn't happen. Like anything in life, it's something we work for.
I believe I'm a happy person. Sure, I have my moods, but overall, I'm happy.
First thing I do in the morning is to walk my dog, Bugger Butt. Now I don't know who enjoys this walk more, but Bugger Butt's tail wags a lot more than mine in the excitement of leaving and going for our daily jaunt. She gets to enjoy all the luscious smells of other dog shit and gets to take one herself. My main enjoyment is picking up her shit. "Oh yes, life is a joy".
When I walk in the morning with Bugs, it gives me a chance to thank God. First I thank Him for my life. I am so "lucky" to be alive at this very moment. Then I just thank him for whatever comes to my mind. It might be for the beautiful sky, the plants around me, the air that is somehow miraculously created, well you get the idea. It's my belief that everything around us is a miracle.
So, #1, I believe happiness is gratitude. When you're with people, do they express an overall gratitude or ingratitude? That will tell you if they're happy or not.
With gratitude, then comes contentment. I'm satisfied with my life. I love my wife, my home, and my life. Sure not everything is exactly how I want it, but all we can control is ourselves. My son is in prison. I wish he was here with me. But there's nothing I can do about it.
Also, something my mentor, Dennis Prager, said concerning happiness: "The missing tile" syndrome". Think of it like this: When you walk into a beautiful room and there is one missing tile. What happens? You don't focus on the beautiful room, you're looking at the missing tile. So in each of our lives we may suffer from the missing tile.
My missing tile was my teeth. It is something that gave me a lot of insecurity. A few months ago I got veneers on 6 of my front teeth and it came out quite nicely. Now it's not perfect, but it definitely has made me much happier and after all these years that missing tile has been replaced.
Something else that I believe that brings happiness is personal responsibility. Another word for maturity. To realize I am responsible for the actions that I take and its repercussions. We live in these crazy times expecting government to make us happy. And it's that belief that will take us as a nation toward servitude.
And a great part of maturity is "delay of gratification". There's another oxymoron: How can happiness and delay of gratification be one in the same thing?
Here's an example I will give that we experience daily: "Do I eat this, do I drink this, though I know in the long run, it is not good for me". A mature person will say "You know what, I think I'll forgo this immediate pleasure now, for a possible payoff in the future". Now one doesn't know if the payoff will ever happen, but experience and knowledge tells him it will, and he chooses to do without the immediate pleasure.
Where most of us can see this is in smoking. Now if you smoke, I know your grandfather smoked 3 packs a day and lived to be 105, but the statistics show that if you smoke, most likely you'll get to suffer its consequences. And you probably do already, but aren't honest enough to admit it. So here's a classic example of delay of gratification: If you quit smoking, sure you'd feel like shit, but after you go through that terrible period, your health gets restored, you're no longer a slave to a disgusting habit, and you save at least $4/day.
I was in Vegas a few months ago and a pack of cigarettes in the vending machine was $8.50. I thought "Jeez, by the time you've finished putting the quarters in the machine, you're done jonesing for a cigarette."
Some say being around someone who is unhappy is like being around someone with bad breath or smelly farts. Now I don't like smelly farts by any means, but I'll take that over being around someone unhappy.
My father-in-law is a happy person. He's 85 and I think one of his keys to a long life is his outlook on life. Every time I see him, he is the first to reach out his hand to shake mine. He's a person I like to be around. That's the kind of person I want to be, a happy person who others want to be around.
So happiness is a choice. It's very easy to say how things are messed up. But can we find the blessings in life and be thankful for them?

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