Happiness can’t possibly be about “self”. Humans were made for things that involves others—someway, somehow, somewhere, sometime, we only operate at our best when we’re doing something that involves others.
Happiness flows from the Two Great Commands. Even placing God first—not “instead of”, but “first”—efficiently and quite effectively knocks us down to the right level where life isn’t about ourselves, but about others.
Human happiness can’t be passive. It requires creating good things through cooperative effort. “Consumerism” can’t replace happiness. Like a narcotic, the sneakiest form is “happiness consumption”, favoring and rating things on their ability to “make me happy”. Happiness is only happy as much as it is proactive.
That doesn’t mean meddling and nannying to a point of insufferability. Silence is golden because it includes being considerate of others. But, if “love and happiness” mean ignoring needs of others—whether need be for silence or intervention or encouragement or course correction—then “love and happiness” aren’t.
When tragedy strikes, victims need help; go help them. Send money. Stay out of the way. Report the overlooked truth. Stand witness. Find any way to help. Don’t just sit by yourself, looking for a sliver lining to someone else’s tragedy.
Life has many yeahs and many boos and many glasses of water which can be measured by their contents or lack thereof, but your choice to be happy doesn’t end with gratitude and thankfulness; it only begins there. Never lecture others on their need to find their silver linings on their rain clouds, especially if you are a rain cloud. When you must bring rain and lightning, make sure you shine a doorway of sunlight and a make huge rainbow afterward. When you can truly appreciate the silver linings of life’s rain clouds, you have all the reason you need to be sunshine on someone else’s storm, not just a sunshine admirer.
By all means, enjoy stories, art, and beauty that make you happy. Celebrate and share them with friends. But, don’t stop there. Don’t lose your appetite for helping happiness take over the universe. Of all the moments that make us happy, the happiest moments put a smile on someone else’s face.