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A Happiness Thought
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From the onset of the USA’s existence, happiness has been a central tenant of our reasoning and motivations. The inalienable right of the pursuit of said happiness has been the linchpin of much of western thought since those immortal words were first declared over two-hundred and thirty-three years ago. The problem is that while the right to pursue happiness is (generally speaking) as strong as ever it seems that the actual procurement of the commodity is a rare event. 

Indeed, we only need to take a cursory glance to see that the circumstances of a predominate portion of society are far less than “happy.” The divorce rate is growing ever higher, in fact, I am told the county I work in, Fairfield County, Ohio, has an annual divorce rate of 70% compared to the number of marriages. That is for every ten marriage licenses applied for, there are seven petitions for divorce. So much for happiness there! And having a secure financial foundation does not seem to be an ultimate answer.

The recent public debacle of Tiger Woods goes to show that success, money, and prestige is not necessarily a contributing factor to one’s sense of happiness either. The aforementioned Fairfield County has some very affluent communities in it, and yet it demonstrates the fact that the number one reason for the breakdown of the family is money. So having money or not having it has little to do with the achievement of happiness. 

In Woods’ case (not to mention any number of other political, social and religious figures), it appeared as if he lacked absolutely nothing, and yet he had the need of something else, something more. And all this begs the question: Why do we as human beings always seem to need something more than what we have, regardless of the successes we have notched on our proverbial belts? Why does the human heart grow so dissatisfied with the level of happiness that we have worked so hard to achieve? 

There are nearly as many potential answers to this query as there are answerers. For those like myself, Augustine’s God shaped void supplies an appealing rejoinder. For those of a different ilk, a compulsion to charitable work seems to give some weight to balance the scales of perspective. And while the religious and non-religious points of views might be assumed as generally opposite it direction, these perspectives tend to have one common denominator: They both see true fulfillment, true happiness as being truly reached outside of ones own selfish paradigms. Happiness is not solely within, but rather is found in the investing of oneself in something other than itself. 

So on this New Years Day, perhaps we can resolve to be less egocentric, less myopic, less focused on personal gains and goals, and take time to really invest ourselves in something bigger. If we can do that, I have a sneaking suspicion that not only happiness will surface to the top of our lives, but joy itself will become a constant and enduring companion. 

Happy New Year!

  

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A Happinesss Thought of Truth

"Happiness is not solely within, but rather is found in the investing of oneself in something other than itself."

I truly love this!

Thank you very much, D. Allen, for your beautifully written and richest letter on " A Happiness Thought". You couldn't have said it any better.

Happy New Year!

Truly,

Catherine Nagle

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Thanks Catherine...

I am glad you found my thoughts inspiring, and I appreciate the time you've invested in me by reading and responding. I am in your debt,

Doug

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Happiness

I just joined the Red Room today. That makes ME happy. And this is the first blog I've read all the way through here. Another happy event. It caught my eye because one of my books is called "The Happy Introvert." Okay, you might think introverts are too inside of themselves. But that's one of the myths I try to dispell in my book. Yes, we process information a lot. That's what we do. We need time for that because our brains are different from extroverts' brains. But we're not necessarily more "self-centered" or selfish. What we all need to learn is acceptance of one another for greater happiness. In writing about introverts I had to examine our counterparts: extroverts. I came to appreciate them more than I had - for how they can light a room up, how they can bring people together, how they know just the right thing to say sometimes when I don't. We introverts have many gifts, too. We can focus well, we have deep interests in many things, we're sensitive, and we have the ability to like our own company. The world needs us both. So an important ingredient for happiness is understanding each other. - Elizabeth Wagele

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Thank you and Welcome...

to Red Room, Elizabeth. I am honored that you have chosen my blog to be your first, or at least the first one you read through. As for my status in the introvert/extrovert question, I would say that I am neither and both.  I am very inward in my thinking stages, that is when I read and study- which I do a lot. But I am very extroverted in public. I love to speak to a crowd and to people as individuals in a public setting, but out of that set of circumstances, I am not as open or gregarious. I am willling to talk about anything, but am prone to wait until asked before engaging in the conversation. (Not always, mind you, but it is my tendency, and I have to fight against it.)

One way I fight against this is through writing. And when people read (and in the case of a blog, comment) on my words, then I feel that they have invited me to converse. Thank you for your invitation.

PS: I play the piano, and Beethoven is my favorite composer, with Chopin as distant, but respectable second.

Doug