Happiness #3 – More Characteristics
Here I will continue the discussion on common characteristics of personal happiness. As you read these posts, please do your best to experiment with these characteristics. See if you can experience more happiness without a frantic search for it. Ultimately it is about a special form of human love. Here is the list.
- Friendship – True friendship is about mutual caring, reciprocal helping, and lots and lots of sharing. True friends may become “family” and sometimes are more dependable. Seneca reminded us that true friends allow you to bury your most secret stories inside their hearts. Epicurus noted friendship as the greatest possession. Ralph Waldo Emerson said friendship was a masterpiece of nature. Aristotle pursued this further by noting that true friendship is like one soul belonging to two people. Develop and cherish a few very good friends!
- Gratitude – Gratitude combines deep appreciation and a special type of grace. Ralph Waldo Emerson advised us to do our best to find a few things to have gratitude for every single day. Gratitude is viewed as a major mind-body-soul strength. Hold deep gratitude for the few people who help you rekindle your inner light (Albert Schweitzer). John F. Kennedy said we need to thank people who help improve our lives. Marcus Tullius Cicero noted that gratitude is the most important virtue in life. Tecumseh advisedus to give thanks every single morning at first awakening. The Buddha and Friederich Schiller noted that happiness happens in gratitude – when we deal with what we cannot change. Abraham Lincoln noted that we should not worry, but we should pursue simple healthy living.
- Inspiration is Very Important – John F. Kennedy suggested that we are inspired most when we contribute to the better good. Find inspiration in love, divinity, prayer, meditation, and when your soft heart has been touched. Jane Goodall said we need to make positive differences in the lives of others. Mahatma Gandhi noted that a single kind act may be more powerful than many people bowing in prayer. Marcus Aurelius implied that we have power only over our mind but not external situations; it all depends on how we react to what life brings.
- Joyous Experiences – Pablo Picasso said good art can wash away painful dust on the soul. George Santayana noted that we are born and we will all die, so do your best to enjoy what lies between. Dr. Seuss reminded us to smile, even in suffering. Rumi told us to always act from our soul. The great meditation teacher Thich Nhat Hanh noted that joy and a smile go together, but it is unclear which causes what to occur. Marianne Williamson tells us to recognize how good things are and joy will follow.
- Kindness is it! – Booker T. Washington noted be kind to others and you will be happier. Do random acts of kindness as your norm. Xenophon told us to praise others, often. Richard Carlson advised us to let others know what you appreciate about them. Samual Taylor Coleridge emphasized that kindness can
- Mother Teresa suggested that a kind
come in very small doses: a smile, a kind face, a simple compliment. smile is an act of love. The Dalai Lama XIV said that his religion is kindness! Ralph Waldo Emerson advised us to be kind to others before it is too late to do so. Kahlil Gibran referred to kindness a strong manifestation of caring.
For more information refer to Baxter Harmon, L. (2015). Happiness a-z: The Gleeful Guide to Finding and Following Your Bliss. New York: MJF Books, pp. 39-93.
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont and the Home of The Monkton Sangha
Author of Mindful Happiness