It also stuck because of the message. This life is full of challenges and difficult situations. I think it has to be that way. We learn and grow through those experiences and so much of who we are becoming is because of how we deal with the difficult things in our lives and what we manage to learn from them. So I find it comforting that although we are meant to go through "trials" in this life, we are also meant to have joy.
I've written about happiness on the blog before- in terms of being happy "now" and not waiting for good things to happen in the future to make us happy. The same goes for waiting for material items to make us happy.
I have been reading a new book by Jeffrey R. Holland called To My Friends; Messages of Counsel and Comfort (published by Deseret Book). Chapter 18 is called: "To my friends who seek happiness". He quotes Aristotle as having said, "Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence." Then he focuses the rest of the chapter on how we can "pursue" happiness.
He quotes Abraham Lincoln as having said that, "folks are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be." and Elder Holland says that, "happiness comes first by what comes into your head a long time before material blessings come into your hand." He also talks about how sometimes we just need to get to work and focus on something else, and then we will find that happiness will just come to us. However, he also points out that (in the words of Elizabeth Gilbert), "Happiness is the consequence of personal effort," and that we must, "participate relentlessly in the manifestations of [our] own blessings... keep swimming upward into... happiness."
I feel like this all relates back to the idea I was expressing in my previous post about being happy now, and being happy where you are. Happiness doesn't come after waiting for an event or a possession to come to us. It comes from working. We have to work at it and we have to choose it.
Another thing that he mentioned in that chapter that I thought was worth sharing was kind of a "what not to do". He touched on anger and how it is damaging to almost everything it comes into contact with. He talks about how important it is to avoid contention, anger, and animosity in our lives. I thought it was interesting that he talked about negative thoughts and how even speaking them can let the words take on a life of their own, but thoughts can die quickly if we don't speak them. I suppose that could be taken in different ways but I found it interesting after a conversation I had recently with my sister-in-law about negative thoughts and deciding when it is worth bringing them up (at the risk of hurting someone) and when it is worth talking about (in order to solve or deal with them). She shared with me something she had been trying- she would wait one day before talking about something that was bothering her (to see if it still felt as important to her in a day). I like that approach!
So, what are your thoughts about this topic?
Are there things you try to do to bring happiness into your life?
Are there things you have found that help you to have more joy?
The book I referred to also touches on many other topics and messages, such as, "to my friends who love the Lord," "to my friends who want to change," and "to my friends who face opposition." There are 21 such chapters. Each chapter begins with a photograph and a quote overlay from the chapter. I'm really enjoying this book- it's another one that would be a nice gift idea!
Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the book mentioned above, for review purposes. All opinions shared are my own.