HOW TO FIND HAPPINESS
Copyright © 2008 All Rights Reserved
by Benedict Elie
When you think about it, what is our purpose on earth? What goal(s) do we pursue in life? One might further question: "What is the human adventure?"
A number of people have reflected on these issues, particularly psychologists, theologians and philosophers, along with astrologers and cosmologists. For thousands of years, whether during Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire or the Renaissance era, different directions have been suggested. Even today, these major issues remain a matter of concern. Some might even say that these strategic issues are of the utmost importance.
This article summarizes a few lessons drawn from the Zodiac on the art of finding happiness and joy in life.
As the saying goes, "When you want something done right, you have to do it yourself." Happiness cannot be bought or found on store shelves.
Preferably, such thinking effort should take place in a peaceful, quiet setting. The process involves reflecting primarily on one's strengths, weaknesses and main objectives in life. It also defines the means to bring personal projects to successful completion. In short, the process involves proper strategic planning.
Naturally, there will always be obstacles, barriers or hurdles in your way. You must learn to change obstacles encountered into challenges to overcome. The sky is not always blue and cloudless; sometimes it rains, sometimes it is too hot or too cold. There is widespread belief that life on earth is no paradise. Our environment is not always serene; however, simply by taking time to reflect a little, problems can be solved. We must adapt without losing sight of our main objectives. "Every cloud has its silver lining", as the proverb goes.
The following chart illustrates the main points on which to focus when trying to get to know yourself better and find happiness and joy in life.
The first element to consider when seeking happiness involves our thoughts as such, including our ideas, mind and reason. The great philosopher Aristotle once defined Man as a potentially reasonable animal.
The main purpose of reason is to prevent pointless disappointment, misfortune, grief and stress. Another important purpose of reason is to make us think about ways to find happiness on the short, medium and long term.
Joy in life is experienced within particular boundaries. Actions must be achieved within established limits. Moreover, happiness requires some amount of self-control and that we be the masters of our lives.
But above all, reason basically has a single goal: to help us find happiness and joy in life. In short, finding happiness means achieving a certain inner balance through reasoning.
HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Naturally, personal health and well-being should be a major concern. Reason must encourage us to eat and rest properly. It must see to it that we take the necessary steps to enjoy the best possible health conditions. After all, we ourselves basically determine what to eat and when to rest. Monitoring our health and overall well-being while ensuring proper physical fitness is certainly an obligation to be considered when striving to become a master of oneself and one's life and to find joy in life on the short, medium and long term. In this regard, "slow and steady wins the race", as the proverb goes. Undoubtedly, this other proverb may also come to mind: "Healthy mind, healthy body".
LOVE AND SPIRITUALITY
For thousands of years Man has always celebrated love, whether in literature, love songs, soft music or today's movies.
Love is often presented from a romantic, idealized or spiritual perspective. Love and spirituality go hand in hand and may include theological connotations: Jesus taught us to "Love thy neighbour as thyself".
Human beings are not meant to live alone on an ongoing basis; most of us seek our "soul mate".
To some extent, you have control over your health, sexual life, financial security, human relationships in general, and the completion of your projects. In love, another person is involved, following and observing you closely, at times judging you and even disagreeing with you. Love is certainly fascinating, but it is not easily controlled.
This area is very touchy. In addition, love requires some detachment in order not to lose ourselves completely into the other person. Otherwise, we are in for a major heartbreak. It seems that the first heartbreak is the hardest. On the long run, we get used to heartbreaks to some extent.
In the chart above, sex overlaps the areas of Health and Well-being and Love and Spirituality.
Without any doubt, "loveless sex" may be found, but it is much less rewarding.
MONEY AND SECURITY
In general, statistics show that financial difficulties cause a great deal of stress. Therefore, we should live reasonably and within our means. Preferably, budgets should be prepared to anticipate expenses based on income. At a minimum, expenses should match income, and savings should yield benefits in a steady, sensible way.
In our modern times, the freedom of opinion and, generally speaking, freedom of expression have been gained. But we have not acquired the absolute right to work or to wealth (from a legal point of view, one cannot be required to work or be wealthy). Hence, it is better to control our financial security ourselves and to proceed carefully in this area.
This important aspect in an individual's life leads to the road to happiness and joy in life.
First, self-fulfilment and achieving personal objectives certainly require a sound thinking process. We must know ourselves and what we want. We must take the necessary steps to achieve the objectives we set for ourselves on the short, medium and long term. In this regard, establishing a limited number of more realistic objectives in order to achieve them satisfactorily is recommended. Moreover, people will appreciate work properly done. There is a judgment issue in this area. Lastly, the more you limit the number of objectives, the more you are able to achieve them. As the saying goes, "There is no need to start a project that cannot be brought to successful completion. "
It is up to you to "thrive" in areas of your choice, like a beautiful flower under the sun. Through your own reason, you determine the areas where you want to find self-fulfilment. You are also the one to decide on the steps to take to complete your projects.
People certainly need some time alone to think, meditate and commune with themselves. We also seek a soul mate, partner or lover. Third, we should not neglect our human relationships, network of friends and acquaintances.
A network of friends is very important indeed in appreciating life and finding happiness and joy in life. Whether at work or play, we may genuinely enjoy rubbing shoulders with interesting people or people whom we find extraordinary. To achieve personal and professional success in life, we must surround ourselves with good people. What is more, the esteem that others have for us makes us feel secure and happy.
A USEFUL TOOL FOR THERAPISTS
The chart illustrated above can be a useful tool to begin initial therapy with an individual. A therapist need only show the chart to the individual involved and ask him/her to give his/her impressions, indicate which are his/her strengths and weaknesses, and state what he/she intends to do to solve his/her problems.
The author of this article would like to thank Réjean Déziel and Suzanne Fiset for their precious advice
Permission is granted by the author to reproduce this article by any means.
AUTHOR: Benedict Elie