Being Happy in an Unhappy World

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” ~ Andrew Carnegie’ve started watching much less news because of its doom-and-gloom coverage. You have to look long and hard to find anything positive covered by the newscasters, and it really doesn’t serve me to get depressed by learning about all of the terrible things happening around the world that I can do absolutely nothing about. So I generally pulled the plug. (Though I certainly try to stay abreast of news situations that could affect my family.)

But it is so hard to do, and very few people seem to be able to go very long without reading an online newspaper or news website. Every time something negative, discomforting, disconcerting, terrifying, or horrible comes across the news wires, they ingest it. It becomes part of their psyche for the day. They dwell on it, they devour it, and they allow it to transmute any positive energy they had into something that feels depressed, scared, or life-sucking.

In addition, when we see terrible things happening around the world, we feel almost guilty being happy in our own lives. How can I feel happiness when people are getting sick and dying? How can I experience bliss when there are wars taking place? How can I feel pleasure eating a lovely meal when people are starving somewhere else in the world?

A better question is, how can you not? What does your feeling sad, helpless, upset, and hopeless do for all of those suffering? Do not misunderstand me—my heart goes out to all of those suffering in any way. I am incredibly tender-hearted, almost to a fault. The tears flow freely when I hear of others suffering.

But let’s also be realistic. You have a life to lead. You have a family and friends and circle of influence to be present for. If you can’t do anything about the situations that are bringing you grief, then do not engage. This holds true not only for news from around the globe, but also for any other situation in your life. If you can’t improve the situation, exit it. Don’t engage. Slowly walk away mentally and emotionally, or run, depending on the situation. But don’t just sit there at the kitchen table or your work desk getting progressively more depressed and resigned. That is not a place from which real positive work or progress can come.

Better yet, take some positive action. Instead of sitting there bemoaning the starving children in Africa, get out your checkbook or go online and send a contribution to a humanitarian organization. Don’t just sit there and do nothing. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” You can make a difference. Even when you think to yourself, “Oh, my $25 won’t change anything,” you are wrong. That $25 will feed a child for almost a month. And you can bet your bottom dollar that it makes a difference to that child. Taken together with the contributions of thousands of others who refuse to sit and wallow when they could be doing something to change the situation, that $25 might just start a wave of change and positive impact around the world. Don’t just sit there and complain—do something to make a change! You’ll feel better, and you never know what could come from your action.

Regardless, give yourself permission to be happy, to be joyful, to have bliss in your life. You will begin a ripple that will be endless. Share joy and love with others, they will share it with their circle of influence, and so on. With every bit of brilliance you share from your strong, positive center, you will empower and equip someone else to do the same. You do not have to be negative and sullen just because there are tough things going on in the world around you. There will always be sad and terrible things going on. That does not mean that your life happiness has to be put on hold indefinitely.

You can choose in every moment where you put your focus. Focus on the things that bring you joy, fulfillment, happiness, peace, and that make the world around you a better place. These are the things that you want to expand in your life, and these are the things—your own emotions, reactions, and behaviors—that you have the power to choose and change in every moment.

TODAY: Give yourself permission to have life, and have it abundantly! Don’t get sucked into the world’s tragedies. Do something positive on issues you care about, pray for those involved, and then live your life the best you can, experiencing all the bliss you can in the wonderful moments that you have in this lifetime. Choose bliss and lead a life based on that decision. It will make all the difference!

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