The Happiness Project

I’m having a few more thoughts about what I like to call the “happiness project.”

I am assuming that having a community made up of individuals who are happier is healthy for the whole neighbourhood. I think part of the secret to happiness is to be kinder to others. I’m inviting you to join me in my self-makeover. We can improve one person at a time and I can only start with myself. So, I vow to be kinder.

I am ashamed that when I got a phone call from a solicitor from Telus calling me for the tenth time in a row to try to sell me Internet TV. I was rather rude to the person who made the call. I’m fully aware that she is a person trying to earn a living and not really representative of Telus as a whole. It’s also rather ironic that I recently cut off contact with a girlfriend because I deemed her to be too rude on a regular basis. Yet I was just as rude to the person who called from Telus. I guess it’s true that we dislike most in others the parts that we cannot accept in ourselves.

I attempt to be mindful of the influences that I let in my life. And yet sometimes the negative thoughts that swirl around my brain are of my own making. Sometimes lack of sleep or food will lead me to a foul mood. That’s when I need to remind myself to censor the unkind and judgmental thoughts that have occasionally crept into the cracks of my brain. Instead I’m going to, like Leonard Cohen said, “let the light come in.” I pledge to ask myself, “is this kind?” before I open my mouth to speak to someone. I am going to practice always going to the light.

I will try to understand where someone is coming from. I will strive to give people the benefit of the doubt and expect the best from them. In my teens I decided that life is a self-fulfilling prophecy and that we create the world that we expect, so I will steer myself towards consistently having a kinder, gentler way. I will be the person my dog thinks I am. I will try to leave people feeling better for having had an exchange with me. I haven’t always done that, but it’s never too late to start. I see so many people who are unhappy for no particular reason. I wonder what makes some brains turn towards rainy ways and others towards sunny ways. I’m hoping that we can all learn to see the glass half full.

Will you join me in the “happiness project?”

Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.

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Janis Irwin MLA

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