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Happiness Depends on Self

Tuesday, 19 December, 2017 - 7:36 pm

For an under 2 minute audio click here 

Usually external factors are beyond our control, thus we can’t depend on them to find true happiness. Further, if we do rely on external factors such as wealth or fame for our happiness , these factors master us.

For the individual to control his or her own happiness depends on developing a positive outlook to whatever life brings us.

This concept of seeking happiness in a way that depends only on yourself can be found in ‘Ethics of our Fathers’. Here the Mishna teaches that the wise man is one who learns from everyone, independent of any intellectual deficiencies in oneself.  The honourable person is one who honours others, irrespective of whether he receives honour from others. The wealthy person is one who is satisfied with what he has, regardless of the amount.

The message is quite clear.  Do not seek or demand happiness through factors dependent on anything external to us. Base your happiness on your own attitudes over which you can be the master.

Judaism does not deny that certain external situations are conducive to happiness. Nevertheless, none of these can guarantee personal happiness.  Observation of ourselves and others will show many examples where one is blessed with dream-like circumstances, but still cannot find an enduring state of joy.

Once we accept the responsibility for happiness, independent on the good or bad fortune in our lives, our attitudes and thought patterns will sustain our happiness, not the chase of illusions.

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