Friday, March 8, 2013

Happiness Fridays - Happiness is a Moral Obligation

So, this is week two of my new Happiness Fridays.  It's nice to have a constant in my life; something to look forward to and think about all week.  I know last Friday I named this day, Happy Fridays, but after looking at my past blog posts I noticed that I had a post titled Happy Friday so I'm changing it to Happiness Fridays.

I actually checked the book, Happiness is a Serious Problem written by Dennis Prager, out of my local public library.  I have decided that I'm going to purchase it; it's that good and I want to keep it around and mark it up and make notes in the margins.  If you like reading books with short chapters (and I do) you'll love this book!  The chapters are short and to the point. 

The first chapter is titled, Happiness is a Moral Obligation which I mentioned last week in my first post on this subject; I was going to skip this subject since I already mentioned it, but something at the end of the short chapter caught my eye and has been on my mind since I read it almost a week ago. 

Beside the point that it's our responsibility to be happy to add happiness to the world instead of sorrow and pessimism (and who wants to have an unhappy spouse, parent, sibling, or friend), Dennis Prager points out that our happiness or unhappiness also reflects on our religious affiliation and beliefs.

"I once asked a deeply religious man if he considered himself a truly pious (good, devout, faithful) person.  He responded that while he aspired to be one, he felt that he fell short in two areas.  One of those areas, he said, was his not being a happy enough person to be considered truly pious."
 " His point was that unhappy religious people reflect poorly on their religion and on their Creator.  He was right; in fact, unhappy religious people pose a real challenge ot faith.  If their faith is so impressive, why aren't these devoted adherents happy?  There are only two possible reasons: either they are not practicing their faith correctly, or they are practicing their faith correctly and the religion itself is not conducive to happiness......Unhappy religious people should therefore think about how important being happy is--if not for themselves, then for the sake of their religion."

I have been reflecting this week on my own happiness and how it matches up with my beliefs.   I have thought about my past struggles with depression and unhappiness mixed with lots of happiness and about my present, in thinking grateful thoughts and focusing on positive and happy things.   I don't dwell on the past so much anymore; I look at it as a huge lesson and have learned from that.  I focus more on the present and hope for a bright future.  I want my actions and happiness to match up with my thoughts and beliefs.

This week a friend of mine showed that her beliefs and actions align.  We have a young friend who's just gone through a divorce; it became final on Wednesday and we all knew that because our small, local newspaper posted it (weird, right?).  My friend saw the post in the paper and instead of thinking about it or just praying for our young friend, she took her some flowers and ice cream!   It made such an impact on this young woman that she posted it on facebook to publicly thank her.

I have a favorite quote from one of the past Prophets of my Church, Ezra Taft Benson which says,
"If our thoughts (and might I add beliefs as well) make us what we are, and we are to be like Christ, then we must think (and may I add, act on?) Christlike thoughts."  My purpose in my life is to live a life so as to reflect my love and belief of my Savior.  Do I show that daily?  I know I'm not perfect, but am I striving even in times when I don't feel like it? 

No matter your beliefs or religion, do your thoughts and actions match your beliefs? 

I believe that when my thoughts and beliefs match up with my actions, I am a happier person.

Until next Friday,
 "Be cheerful in all that you do.  Live joyfully.  Live happily.  Live enthusiastically knowing that God does not dwell in gloom and melancholy, but in light and love."-----Ezra Taft Benson



  1. Oh, Sharon, I so agree with Dennis Prager!! "Unhappy people reflect poorly on their religion and their Creator." We should be the happiest people in the world and yet I don't see that often enough in others' faces and especially my own. Knowing what we know and having what we have should make us the happiest people EVER! I think I need to work on that :)

    1. Judy, all of this happiness stuff is something I think that has to be worked on all of the time! :) Maybe we put so much pressure on ourselves that we zap out our happiness? On the other hand, maybe if we focus more on being happy and are grateful for what we are becoming, ignoring what we're not yet...maybe that would help? :) Have a great weekend!