What Makes Happy People


Every time I’m at that mall I think of the man that took his own life because his restaurant there and other businesses were failing.  He was a father of three and a well known guy in town.  It was a shocking story to read about, he took his life with his car’s exhaust while his family was out of town.  I went to work the following Monday and the program for his funeral was on my employer’s desk.  The back of it was facing up and it was filled with photos of him and his children, one group shot including his wife.  All I could think was how those kids would miss their Dad terribly for the rest of their lives and the pain they must be in.  My heart went out to his wife, she was barely featured in any photos and I wondered if that was a sign that she was really angry with him.  Then there he was in the photos, smiling but how much agony he must have been in to take his own life.  Some will say it’s an act of cowardness but it must be driven by pain.  I have heard that acting out or anger is actually a cry for love.  Judd Apatow posted a link to an article on twitter yesterday about happy people.  He wrote “This is a great article all should read.”  So I clicked on the link and the article is called 15 Things Happy People Do Differently. The list made a lot of sense (I only disagreed a bit with #10 but that’s just me) except I started questioning whether people could consciously live their lives by this list.  It seemed to me that living life by these 15 rules would be inherent in a person’s character and not something that a person could decide to do because they saw this article.  Maybe over many years of conscious effort, practice, occasional error and self correction, a person could behave more in the way this article describes.  But even then I wonder if a person could become less selfish, less critical or more trusting, for example.  There is nature and nurture, one we are born with and the other has been drilled into us by our upbringing, our experiences, our role models.  How much reconditioning and reprogramming would it take to make a person change those ingrained qualities or are some people more apt to intense change?  Meanwhile, after reading Apatow’s suggested article I see links to other articles at the end of the page.  I click on the first in that row and it’s called 12 Scientifically Proven Steps to Happiness.  According to this article one just needs to include twelve broad stroke actions in their life like gratitude and optimism.  To the left of that is a link to an article that advises on 15 things one should give up to be happy. So the list goes on and on.  All of the tips are quite good to reflect on but what about the restaurant owner I recalled at the mall today, could anything help a person in that place?  Everyone is working with the cards they were dealt in this life, trying their best even if their own best is not good at all.  Be compassionate, we’re all part of this human experience. -smilingbug


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