For 5 years in a row, Finland has ranked # 1 as the happiest country in the world, according to the “World Happiness Report.”
A self-described psychology expert from Finland attributes this to 3 factors:
(1)”We don’t compare ourselves to our neighbors.”
I agree! Captain Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation once told young ensign Wesley Crusher never to compare himself to others; only with his own last best result.
Comparing yourself to others, as a general rule, will either make you feel down about yourself for not being as good as someone else; OR make you feel content with not growing or improving, since you’re perhaps ahead of everyone else.
Other people are not the standard. The standard is simply the standard!
(2) “We don’t overlook the benefits of nature.”
I like this in one respect. There’s more to life than what’s on the computer. If you never leave the computer to look at a sunset or sunrise, or to enjoy what’s around you — the man made as well as the “God given” — then you’re doing yourself a disservice. It saddens me to see young children always or only on their computers, and never out playing tag, spontaneous sports (in the neighborhood, not just the organized team), playing hide-and-seek, or simply smelling the air, enjoying the sunlight and reflecting. You virtually NEVER see this any more.
It makes me sad not because I want to control children and I think they should do only what I want them to do. It makes me sad because virtually everyone agrees that children are more miserable, as a group, than they used to be. And they’re growing up into 20 and 30 somethings who are pretty miserable, anxious people too, by all indications.
So if residents of Finland have this figured out, good for them!
Now, if you turn love of nature into a fundamentalist religion, and you want to shut down or morally condemn fossil fuels, technology and anything that’s man made, then you’re not going to be happy. You’re going to despise yourself for benefiting from the man made and — if you join the crusade to shut all of the man made down — you’ll end up harming or even killing millions of people (including, quite possibly, yourself).
Love of nature cannot be turned into the modern “woke” version of self-annihilating mysticism. There’s no way you can call that happiness!
(3) “We don’t break the community circle of trust.” If you find someone’s wallet, you make every effort to return it to them. You treat others the way you want to be treated. You don’t sacrifice for them. You don’t give up your lives and your happiness for them. But you DO give them the minimal level of respect you want for yourself, unless or until they show otherwise.
It’s called a benevolent attitude. The benevolent attitude consists of assuming everyone else is fine and good — and not your adversary. UNLESS or UNTIL an individual gives you reason to suspect otherwise. But you don’t start out assuming this about everybody. If you do, you’ll be miserable and unhappy, for sure. And no more self-protected than you started out, either.
Trust, but verify. But trust. And act like you’re trustworthy, too — even with strangers, where it’s relevant, with things like a found wallet.
Not a bad approach to happiness. In America and elsewhere, there’s less of this than we’ve ever seen before. How ironic to live in a time where everything is in place to ensure happiness more than ever before — and yet fewer people are probably happy than ever before.
No wonder we’re losing our liberty. Because without inner peace and serenity, liberty is meaningless — and it won’t last for long, either.
Photo credit http://psychology.iresearchnet.com
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