Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Finding Happiness



OK, so how do I get that?  It is important that I first learn to be happy by myself.  Happy with my life.  Happy with myself and being by myself.  That doesn't take away the reality of my situation, nor my physical/social needs, but it means I need to have a way of handling them that is healthy.

So, how to be happy?  For most of my life what has made me truly happy - the only real thing - is sex because that made me feel good about myself.  It's very hard to feel happy when you don't feel good about yourself.  So, I need 2 things: 1) the ability to feel good/confident about myself outside of female approval; and 2) another basis for personal happiness.

Sticking with the latter, how to be happy?  On what basis?  The monastic/Catholic/Christian answer is that happiness comes from the contemplation of good and beauty, and in living a moral life in moderation - and that to be happy one must remove the sources of unhappiness, which is sin.  So, purity of heart and recognition (and appreciation) of what is truly good and beautiful.  In more broad form, it is the beatitudes.  Christ's basis for happiness:
  • Poverty in spirit -- non-materialism, not being owned by what you own, non-elitism
  • Mourning -- mourn sin and mourn the world, not expecting life to be perfect, so not being surprised or thrown out of sorts when life sucks, but mourn it before hand because you know the state it is in.
  • Meekness - under control, kindness, not ruled by passions
  • Merciful
  • Purity of heart - throw off sin and corruption and embrace purity
  • etc, and all in the face of hardship, suffering, and persecution.
All of these have EVERYTHING to do with ME and nothing to do with anyone else, what they think of me, or with any life circumstances.  But they DO, I think now, imply that you choose who to be, you be it, you believe in it, and you have confidence in it.  You are happy because you are the right person with the right virtues - virtue is its own reward.

So, be good, fight sin, and be happy because of it.  Know God and be happy because you do.

Other standards, while not from Christ, are still potentially relevant.  Like having productive, fulfilling work, which I would have if I would just pay attention and apply myself.  Having friends: and I do.  I have good friends.  Good stuff to do: Yup.  Entertainment: I have more books, movies, and games that I could ever use.  Family: my family is awesome and stable and healthy and function and supportive and cares for me; and I still have my kids, too, who love me and are great.  Activities: lots.  Hobbies: yes, too many and not enough time even now.

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