In celebration of International Day of Happiness, I’m sharing different takes on happiness – and scattering flower pictures among them, because flowers make me happy. I hope a little of this works for you too!
Each day, for several years, I’ve received an inspirational quote by e-mail from thinker, influencer and author Gretchen Reuben, who created The Happiness Project. I’ve saved some of my favourites, including these. You’ll find her details below.
“Some beautiful things are more dazzling when they are still imperfect than when they have been too perfectly crafted.” La Rochefoucauld
“Humor is the antidote to over thinking. It’s a way of saying that life is paradoxical. Humor contains contradictions; it does not resolve them but revels in them. It says that the right way to exist among the contradictions, paradoxes, and absurdities of life is to cope with them through laughter.” Bob Mankoff
“Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.” Flannery O’Connor
“Once in those very early days my brother brought into the nursery the lid of a biscuit tin which he had covered with moss and garnished with twigs and flowers so as to make it a toy garden or a toy forest. That was the first beauty I ever knew. What the real garden had failed to do, the toy garden did. It made me aware of nature—not, indeed, as a storehouse of forms and colors but as something cool, dewy, fresh, exuberant….As long as I live my imagination of Paradise will retain something of my brother’s toy garden.” C. S. Lewis
“Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere wholeheartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation.” W.H. Sheldon
“To be mature you have to realize what you value most. It is extraordinary to discover that comparatively few people reach this level of maturity. They seem never to have paused to consider what has value for them. They spend great effort and sometimes make great sacrifices for values that, fundamentally, meet no real needs of their own. Perhaps they have imbibed the values of their particular profession or job, of their community or their neighbors, of their parents or family. Not to arrive at a clear understanding of one’s own values is a tragic waste. You have missed the whole point of what life is for.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.” Eudora Welty
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” Fred “Mr.” Rogers
“Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance.” James Baldwin
“There is a myth, sometimes widespread, that a person need only do inner work…that a man is entirely responsible for his own problems; and that to cure himself, he need only change himself…The fact is, a person is so formed by his surroundings, that his state of harmony depends on his harmony with his surroundings.” Christopher Alexander
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Buddha
“No effort is required to define or even attain happiness, but enormous concentration is needed to abandon everything else.” Quentin Crisp
“Enough is abundance to the wise.” Euripides
“What is one’s personality, detached from that of the friends with whom fate happens to have linked one? I cannot think of myself apart from the influence of the two or three greatest friendships of my life, and any account of my own growth must be that of their stimulating and enlightening influence.” Edith Wharton
Happiness is different things for different people. Many of these tips sound so certain, but my final choice gives an artist’s slant on personality for those of us who don’t have, expect or need answers to everything. So, in celebration of the happy ones who keep elements of the child alive their whole lives:
“I don’t know who I am or who I was. I know it less than ever. I do and I don’t identify myself with myself. Everything is totally contradictory, but maybe I have remained exactly as I was as a small boy of twelve.” Alberto Giacometti
The Happiness Project
Gretchen Reuben’s daily happiness quotes are free and they often bring a smile to my face. If you’d like to receive them, you can subscribe on her website gretchenrubin.com where you’ll also find details of her books and research on happiness.
Action for Happiness
A non-profit movement of people from 160 countries, committed to building a happier society by making positive changes in their personal lives, homes, workplaces and communities. Twitter: @actionhappiness Website: actionforhappiness.org
The UN General Assembly
The UN had the idea to establish the International Day of Happiness to encourage more of us to believe that “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal”. I’ll go with that! This year, they are encouraging people to share happy songs (and sounds) under the hashtag #HappySoundsLike – if you’re curious to see what they’ve chosen, or have a song to suggest, check it out on Twitter.