Updated: Dec 31, 2018

One Christmas my wonderful wife gave me the card shown here. I put it on my desk and pondered over it. While I deeply appreciated the message, I knew that one cannot make another person happy. So where does happiness come from? Is it inherited? Is it a skill that can be learned? Is it a decision?

Happiness is a state of mind that comes from within us. Happiness is not created from external sources despite all the advertising to the contrary. Happiness is not for sale nor can it be purchased. Happiness is not dictated by our environment and it is not hereditary. Sometimes we confuse happiness with pleasure. While pleasure may be an enjoyable pursuit it is not happiness. Pleasure may enhance our happiness, but it doesn’t create it.

So here is your assignment for today. Take your happiness temperature. Put a check where you are today. Then put a circle where you’d like to be.

Now make a serious commitment to identify what is getting in the way of your achieving your circle and to work on replacing those negative thoughts with positive ones.

Let’s get back to my Christmas card. As I kept pondering, I realized she is the most quietly positive person I know. I also concluded that while each of us cannot make someone else happy we can influence the degree of their happiness by the way we treat them and interact with them. The card was an indication that, at least, I wasn’t getting in the way of her happiness. Oh, by the way, I might be the happiest person in our household – she never gets in the way of my happiness.

I’m going to suggest that a positive approach to living is critical to achieving happiness. Each day, maybe each moment, decide to be happy or unhappy

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