Targeting Happiness


Jim makes it a habit to hang around fun and positive people.

In the past we had a friend that had a problem with depression and feeling gloomy much of the time. We were talking one evening when we found out that her two main activities were reading and watching television. Also, we noticed that almost all of the books and TV programs were depressing topics where some form of harm or unhappiness besets the characters of the book or show.

I invited her to seek out books and shows that were lighter topics and ones that covered more happy and easy themes. Her response was that she liked just the heavier topics that generally included criminal activity, death, and considerable amounts of sadness.

Well, this sounded like offering alcohol to an alcoholic, or a box of chocolates to a person on a strict diet. Each appeared to be an inherent contradiction that could induce one toward an unhealthy outcome. Targeting happiness involves making positive efforts to do, receive, and be part of positive actions; and like efforts not to do, receive, or be part of negative actions. Sure, life has its ups and downs, hence the valuable saying, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Targeting happiness in most of what we do can also be an example to others to assist them to be positive. As with darts and shooting targets, there are various scores that can be achieved. We always want to shoot for the bulls-eye but that will not be achieved every time. It’s a good goal to improve yet not beat ourselves up if we lag a bit. I end with a thought by Abraham Lincoln: “I’m a slow walker, but I never walk back.”

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