Long ago, the founding fathers who wrote the Declaration of Independence established a government that gave us the right to “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This is great. Most of us exercise our right to live life in freedom. Some of us, however, seem to be in the pursuit of misery rather than happiness. Have you ever noticed that being happy is easier for some people that it is for others? The ease with which some find happiness has little to do with privileges and income, and a lot to do with attitude and perspective.
You may think that writing about happiness doesn’t fit in the column “Strengthening Families,” but happiness is a very important aspect of strong families and healthy relationships. Some believe that our “set point” for our level of happiness is established when we are children. The child that grows up in a happier home environment is equipped to become a happier adult. Happier adults are usually healthier adults, with higher immunity to stress-related illnesses such as depression and high blood pressure. So, just like our founding fathers, I encourage you to engage in the pursuit of happiness. However, if you would rather pursue misery I have a list of “Top Ten Tips on Finding Misery”:
10) Make little things bother you. Don’t just let them bother you; make them bother you.
9) Lose your perspective of things and keep it lost. Don’t put first things first.
8) Find yourself a good worry; one about which you can do nothing except worry.
7) Be a perfectionist. Condemn yourself and others for not achieving perfection.
6) Be right. Always be right; perfectly right all the time. Be the only one who is right and
be very rigid about your rightness.
5) Don’t trust or accept people at anything other than their worst and weakest. Be
suspicious. Always assume the worst in others.
4) Always compare yourself unfavorably to others. A guaranteed misery-maker!
3) Take personally, with a chip on your shoulder, everything that happens to you that
you don’t like or agree with.
2) Don’t give yourself wholeheartedly or enthusiastically to anyone or anything.
1) Make negativity your view of life. Focus on all the things that have gone wrong rather
than keeping a balanced perspective.
Of course if you’d rather find happiness, just do the opposite of these tips.