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The Rules for Happiness

on April 24, 2012

“Rules for Happiness: something to do, someone to love,  something to hope for.”

— Immanuel Kant

In many parts of life, it’s understood that there are rules. Rules in the classroom, rules of the road, rules of engagement, rules on how to interpret the rules… it can become a lot to deal with. And while I must say that I don’t like ALL rules, some just seem right. That is my feeling towards this quote.

So many of us dedicate our lives to the pursuit of happiness. Hell, it’s even in The Declaration of Independence. It’s a right that should be guaranteed to every individual. And yet, we seem to struggle to attain it, to maintain it. We set these unreachable goals and we look for happiness in the distance when, in actuality, it is right in front of us. Now, if it were that simple, people would not dedicate articles and studies to the science, history, and psychology of happiness. Is it perhaps that we over do it? We OVER-THINK happiness until, all of a sudden, we are drowning in our own

This entire search led me to yet another quote that seem to hit the nail square on the head. “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” Simplicity wins out. And these rules, while still trying to get us to our happy place, simplify the matter at hand.

1. Something to do

Wouldn’t you know it that when you are upset about something, you try to find something else to do to drown out the sorrow. When you want to break up the monotony of your daily routine, you look for something new, fun, and exciting. Without even knowing it, each day, your body yearns for happiness. It reaches into the atmosphere, finds something precious, and holds on for dear life. Perhaps it is not that we cannot find what makes us happy. More likely, it seems that we don’t realize when we find the right thing. Allow yourself something to do, even if that “something” is finding a quiet spot and focusing on your breathing or the sound of sunlight pouring in through the window. Yep, seems pretty crucial to happiness.

2. Someone to love

We all need somebody. That person, those people who make each day bearable. I’m sure you have at least one person that when something great happens, you want to run to tell them about it. When something unfortunate happens, you want to feel their arms around you or their voice consoling you, reminding you that tomorrow is a new day, full of brilliant opportunities. I know I have those people. I have people now. I’ve opened my heart and stumbled upon some pretty great individuals to give my love to. These are the people who stay up with you when you lose the someone you can’t live without. These are the people who in the middle of the night call because they know you can help them work it out. Some of my lowest and most unhappy times were spent with these people because they give me strength. They remind me that everything will be okay, that I will be okay. Happiness is being understood. People who love you do that for you without a second’s hesitation.

3. Something to hope for

Where would we be without hope? Honestly. I don’t want to labor this point as I feel that would only weigh hope down. However, I will say this… with hope, anything is possible (particularly happiness). Give yourself a place to place your heart and your sights. Keep looking for happiness knowing with every fiber of your being that you will have it.

Seems like it took a lot to arrive at a simple conclusion: You set the conditions for your own happiness. In order to survive, people need food, water, shelter. In order to be happy, you need something to do, somebody to love, and something to hope for.

A purpose, love, and hope. Sounds like a recipe for happiness to me.

Love and Light,

Carly

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