Just saw a blurb on TV about a new book called “God Wants You Happy” by Father Jonathan Morris. Well, I’ve got GREAT news. I can save you the cost of the book, as well as the cost of a self-help seminar, or an hourly fee with a psych. Right here, right now, I can solve the planet’s quest for happiness.
Just buy my book and … haaaaa just kidding.
Now, my friends probably wouldn’t call me the happiest guy on the block. Nevertheless, I still believe I know the secret to happiness. All happiness. Period. No exceptions. Right now, I will permanently solve your quest for happiness at no charge.
Years ago I noticed something that got me thinking. I was visiting a village in Borneo. No electricity. Lots of runny noses. Flood season. Everywhere I looked was either under water, or smothered in thick, gooey mud. I don’t really want to make you lose your appetite, but I must provide you with the full picture. In order for me to bathe in the river next to that village, I had to jump off of a dock which also happened to be the village toilet. I elected to bathe at night so that I wouldn’t have to see what surrounded me. In that particular village my friend Scott pulled some Frisbees out of his bag and started tossing them around. The place exploded with laughter and big, beautiful smiles. Barefoot kids eagerly swarmed around the new toys, while their parents looked on with grins as pure as the sky.
To me it became something of a philosophical question. “How is it that people with virtually nothing can be visited by such pure happiness, while people in another context have luxurious circumstances yet are perpetual whiners?”
Does poverty breed happiness? Not so fast. I’ve seen happiness in affluent backgrounds too, and I’ve seen plenty of disconsolation among the poor. Does being a Christian make you happy? Come on, let’s be honest. We all know perpetually glum Christians. I’ve known very happy people who are not Christians. To promise someone that if he believes in Jesus he will become happy is to participate in a myth that some Christians love to perpetuate for some odd reason.
So, it is clear to me that happiness is unrelated to circumstances. Happiness is most certainly unrelated to religion. But happiness is relative. Something causes happiness. What could that something be?
I believe the reason the villagers were happy is that the Frisbees were viewed as an undeserved surprise. If they had ordered and paid for the Frisbees, and expected the Frisbees, they would not have experienced the same fullness of joy. In other words, the people in that village were grateful for the Frisbees.
Gratitude. Yes, gratitude and happiness are actually the same thing. Always and without exception, everywhere and at all times. Happy people are always grateful. When people are grateful they are also happy. When people are ungrateful they are also unhappy. Unhappy people don’t experience “undeserved surprises” because inside their hearts, they feel they actually deserve more.
Want to be a happier person? Start seeing every little thing as an undeserved surprise. Start saying Thank You all the time, and really mean it. I guarantee you will become a happier person. Venture on a quest for gratitude, and you will find yourself becoming happier. Remind yourself that every breath of oxygen is an undeserved gift from God. All beauty around you is from God. Every bite of food is from God. Every friendship is a treasure entrusted to you by God. Unhappy with your marriage? Your root problem is that you think you deserve better, and that’s just not true. Believe for one day that you deserve nothing, and your spouse will become your heart’s treasure. Miserable with your job? Every day as you are driving to work, say to yourself, “I don’t deserve this job. It is a gift from God.” Do you have enough gas in your tank to get to work? Well, thank God for it. You deserve nothing, believe it. Heighten your sensitivity to God’s love and God’s grace, which is constantly all around you, touching you.
World’s quest for happiness solved.