Monday, March 25, 2019

Do You Want to Be Happy?

My ramblings on finding happiness in life!

When I was young I had a record with a song called Do You Want to Be Happy?

Here are the lyrics as I recall them:

Do you want to feel happy? Do you want to feel joyful? Do you want to feel gladness in your heart? There's a way to feel happy. There's a way to feel joyful. There's a way to feel glad if you will start and do something nice for somebody else that's what Jesus did. Don't be afraid it won't hurt you to try it. Do something nice for somebody else that's the way to live happy, joyful, gladly. It doesn't have to be something grand something small will do. Surely you know someone who has a need so... do something nice for somebody else. Jesus taught us to love everyone all the while to serve everyone make them smile will you do something nice for somebody else, do something nice for somebody else...

From a young age, the idea that happiness comes from serving others was one I embraced. I had fabulous examples from my parents. My dad is the kindest most generous man I know. My mother though gone from this earth for the past 13 years left me a legacy of service and unconditional love to follow and try to emulate.

I've been thinking a lot about kindness & service. I love to do random acts of kindness. I'm one who signs up to help every chance I get when there is a service opportunity. I do a lot of volunteer work at the temple and at our community theaters. I take meals, drop off gifts, write notes, doorbell ditch treats, etc.

Whenever I am having an off day I've learned the quickest way to get out a funk is to do something for someone. While never a boy scout I love their slogan to "do a good turn daily". If a day goes by and I haven't done something nice for someone I'm not living in harmony with what I believe. It can be a simple as a text or Instagram message. Or perhaps I make and drop off cookies or write and deliver a thank you note.

Recently someone asked me "Why are you always doing things like this?"
My only response was it's just who I am.

I find great joy and satisfaction in doing kind things for other people. I honestly don't expect anything in return. However, I have seen time and time again that what goes around comes around. I believe we really do attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. If I'm focusing on serving and loving others good things come my way. Rarely is it from the person I served or was kind too. The idea of Karma ("getting what you give" or "reaping what you sow") is one that resonates with me. I've seen it played out over and over again.

If I live in the high vibrations of love, service, kindness, and gratitude good things come my way.

Does that mean life is always easy? Heck no! Like most people, I've faced and continue to face challenges with health, money, marriage, children, the death of loved ones, and more.

Occasionally the people around me are mean or thoughtless and sometimes even cruel. In those cases, I try to go with the adage to "Kill 'Em With Kindness". I believe people are innately good but we are all struggling with challenges and hard things.

I heard a quote several years ago that went something like this:

I am responsible for my own happiness, so you’re off the hook

No one can offend me or make me angry or upset. I choose how I respond. The best way to do that is through kindness.

In the past, someone close to me would often accuse me of wearing rose-colored glasses as I refuse to focus on the negative in others. I love this quote by Gordon B Hinckley.

I do not suggest that you simply put on rose-colored glasses to make the world look rosy. I ask, rather, that you look above and beyond the negative, the critical, the cynical, the doubtful, to the positive. 

If looking above and beyond the negative, the critical, the cynical, the doubtful, to the positive equates to wearing rose-colored glasses then bring it on cause that's how I want to live.

One of my favorite movies has always been Disney's Pollyanna.

Pollyanna knew the secrets to happy living... 

Look for the Good

Play the Glad Game - find something to be glad about in every situation

If you focus on the good you will find it. Everyone has good within them and in this all too often negative world looking for and finding the good in situations and people can turn a negative situation into something positive.

My favorite saying comes from a talk by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin - Come What May and Love It!

In that talk, he said the following:
When we fell down, she expected us to pick ourselves up and get going again. So the advice my mother gave to me then wasn’t altogether unexpected. It has stayed with me all my life.
“Joseph,” she said, “come what may, and love it.”
I have often reflected on that counsel.
I think she may have meant that every life has peaks and shadows and times when it seems that the birds don’t sing and bells don’t ring. Yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result.
How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can’t—at least not in the moment. I don’t think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don’t think she was suggesting that we smother unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness. But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.
It's ok to have sad days and we won't always feel happy.  Sometimes life sucks. However, we can try to seek out and find the silver lining in every storm.

This is so much good in this world. Find it. Focus on it. Embrace it. Be the Good!
I love this quote often attributed to Mother Teresa:

“If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight. Build anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give the world the best you’ve got anyway."

In a recent conference address, Michelle D Craig shared a story about a young girl who made a tie for President Kimball. She followed up that story with this thought::
“Never suppress a generous thought.” Sometimes when I have an impression to do something for someone, I wonder if it was a prompting or just my own thoughts. But I am reminded that “that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.”
Whether they are direct promptings or just impulses to help, a good deed is never wasted, for “charity never faileth”—and is never the wrong response.
Often the timing is inconvenient, and we seldom know the impact of our small acts of service. But every now and then, we will recognize that we have been instruments in the hands of God and we will be grateful to know that the Holy Ghost working through us is a manifestation of God’s approval.

I've tried hard to respond anytime I have the thought to do something nice for someone else. Whether a direct prompting or just an impulse to help I've decided it doesn't really matter.

I love life. I love others. I love serving. I love being kind. I love looking for the good even when it's difficult to find. I hope to wear out my life in the service of others. That's the best way I've found to find true happiness.

"Be the reason someone smiles today."

"Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy." ~Buddah

"I've been searching for ways to heal myself, and I've found that kindness is the best way." ~Lady Gaga

What have you done to be kind today? Who have you helped? Have you done any good in the world today?

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