Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Pursuit of Happiness

Regardless of our current circumstances, we can always choose to be happy. However, it is much easier to fall into unhappiness. Human nature compels us to focus on all that we lack instead of all that we have. This can become a very significant problem - especially when it starts to consume a person's thoughts. So what is one to do? Dennis Prager addresses this issue through the use of a simple equation:

This idea can also be applied to the way we each envision Israel, Judaism and the Jewish people. Perhaps there are some Jews who are too religious or secular for our taste, but they have raised good families. Or perhaps there are some Jews who are too politically active for our taste, but they are charitable within the community. Fellow Jews - and other aspects of Jewish life - aren't always going to live up to our personal expectations. The question is whether we focus on the unrealistic image we have created or celebrate all the good that exists within the current reality.

Trying to maintain a positive attitude will help us not only become better people but also make it easier to deal with each other. Think about it for a moment; is it fair for others to have to deal with a miserable person? Interpersonal behavior is much simpler when the individual on the other end isn't busy complaining about all the things missing in their life. A good attitude goes a long way. Someone can seemingly have everything and be terribly unhappy, while someone else can seemingly have nothing and be quite happy. As the truism goes:

"The city of happiness is in the state of mind."