Throwing Away Our Happiness II

Happiness does not consist of what we have but what we are; not in our possessions but in our attitude towards them. It is the serenity of the soul in the presence of a present joy. It is not absolute, requiring certain fixed conditions; it is relative. What would be a fast for one might prove a royal feast for another. Happiness does not always require success, prosperity or attainment. It is often the joy of hopeful struggle, consecration of purpose and energy to some good end. Real happiness ever has its root in unselfishness—its blossom in love of some kind. We make or mar our own happiness and that of others to a larger degree than we are willing to admit. It is easier to pose as victim of conditions than to prove oneself victor.” ~ William George Jordan

It is easier to pose as victim of conditions than to prove oneself victor.Ain’t that the truth! How few men and women there are on earth who are willing to to assume total responsibility for everything that occurs in their lives, but those that do, my oh my are they valuable.

When I say total responsibility, I mean not just for the elements in your world that are of your doing, but every aspect. The majority of what happens in your life – good, bad or neutral – is likely the result of another’s actions and the sooner you come to terms with the fact that you can handle whatever comes your way as if you had caused it to come into being, the better.

The world is incredibly interrelated. While the internet has sped things up a bit and perhaps made our connectedness more obvious, we, as individuals, were always a part of the body of humanity. The decisions we make and the actions we take as supposedly free agents always have their impact and influence on the rest of the body. That which we bind is bound for the entire body and that which we loosen is loosened for our fellows.

It makes sense then that assuming total responsibility to handle everything that comes your way as creatively, wisely and diligently as possible, for the victories you establish by means of this radiant posture never return to you void. You may feel sad when they may come back to you dented, twisted and misshapen by the carelessness of others, but do not despair, for your attitude toward that which happens in life is more important than you might think.

Murmuring about that which displeases you, blaming those who have wronged you and wishing your life were different rarely ends creatively, but assuming responsibility always does. Be clear on this point: assuming responsibility need not imply that you were at fault in the matter. It only means that you are willing to clean it up and move on.

Take heart today and lend strength to the world you center. Remind yourself on occasion (in particular when the going gets rough) of these inescapable laws of living and you cannot go wrong:

“Real happiness ever has its root in unselfishness—its blossom in love of some kind.”

“We make or mar our own happiness and that of others to a larger degree than we are willing to admit.”

“It is easier to pose as victim of conditions than to prove oneself victor.”

16 thoughts on “Throwing Away Our Happiness II

  1. Pingback: Day 159 – It’s all about Attitude! « A Year Of Living Wisely

  2. Colin

    Accepting total responsibility for the things that happen in your life is one of the fundamental keys to happiness. When you do this, you take away any reason you might have thought you had for judging others. It doesn’t matter who did or didn’t do whatever, what matters is how you handle the circumstances that are in your control. You are then freed from the chains of emotional blackmail as well. When you don’t worry about what other people might do in response to your actions, you can do the right thing without concern.


  3. David R

    Rejecting responsibility always gives away power. Those who have taken the approach you suggest here have always been the ones through whom power has moved to influence the world. For many , however, life becomes an exercise in avoiding responsibility of any kind. Sure, they don’t have much power or influence, but “power brings pressure, and who needs that?” The sad thing is that such ones still suffer under the pressure of their own unfulfilled potential. Accepting responsibility for what is now present is always the creative starting point, a point through whick power may flow in helpful accomplishment. Here is the beginning of fulfilment!


  4. Ricardo B.

    I think that’s a good point about our responsibility and what that means. I hear it talked about in many circles – “own it”, “it is yours”, “live up to it” – I am advised time and again by the well-meaning when it comes to dealing with problems. You add a bit more color to the issue, where it doesn’t mean necessarily to assume fault, but for whatever the reason that your situation is the way it is, work with it to improve the condition so that you can be free to move forward in your life. When done effectively, this in turn helps carve out the roads of improvement for all the others who are seeking help.
    We meet people everyday, in a variety of circumstances, randomly as well as planned, that we influence through simply the way we are. The agenda for the planned meeting may not have anything to do with this — say a business meeting or a trip to the mechanic for an oil change — but everyone is looking for something. Randomly, it can be the clerk at the grocery store – whatever. We all are seekers. But, we touch each other through the quality of our interactions, and this quality is borne through the consciousness we have grown into right up until that time.
    This matter of taking responsibility is probably one of the pinnacle hallmarks of maturity, of someone who inspires their world with a peaceful smile genuinely saying, “I’ve got to admit it’s getting better, a little better all the time….” 🙂


    1. Gregg Hake

      People tend to “own” what they like in and about their lives while simultaneously “disowning” those elements which are displeasing. This is a tiring business, for the world is a great mixture that cannot be sorted out using this on-again off-again approach. Only full commitment will do the trick!


  5. Brigitte

    I loved this point about taking full responsibility as many things have many causes: “It only means that you are willing to clean it up and move on.” Taking responsibility is an attitude of “the buck stops here” and when something comes into my sphere of influence, I’m going to be an influence that helps, not hinders.


    1. Gregg Hake

      Absolutely. Well put, Brigitte. I would add, “…no matter how you might feel about having to do so.” Put your big girl pants on and handle it!


  6. Joshua

    Murmuring & wishful thinking can easily be seen for what they are in light of this consideration……unwillingness to assume responsibility. Ever so slight they begin, and before long the childish tendency spills over unto all that we touch, reaffirming to the world, that this state of affairs remain.
    Let this be done, through those who have the courage and strength to take a different stand, that the message might be loud and clear, “This far, and No further!” because there are those who are willing to stand firm and clean up this mess, we’ve collectively created!


    1. Gregg Hake

      Given the craziness in the world today most people feel justified in taking the approach you mention. They either throw up their hands in resignation or cobble together absolutely ridiculous ” get rich/happy/famous” schemes to make up for the fact that they have not assumed total responsibility in their worlds.


  7. DeeDee Miller

    Wonderful excerpt! Thanks for re-emphasizing the three quotes at the end. After your further thoughts on Jordan’s excerpts those really hit the mark!


  8. strawberryfields

    What a breath of fresh air this post is! Our interrelatedness is an aspect of life that brings profound joy and harmony with others, it is also the avenue that can inflict great pain and sadness. The point is we don’t have complete control over that. We can do what is intellegent to limit our proximity to those who are irresponsible in there lives but the fact is we are all connected. The mastery comes in the areas we do have complete control, our own attitude, thoughts and ultimately our actions. Will each person encounter the things that are unpleasant? Yes, but it doesn’t have to be from ourselves.


    1. Gregg Hake

      Mastery begins with exercising control over that which you actually have control while specifically relinquishing the frantic attempt to control that over which you do not. Thanks for sharing!


  9. I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I do know that when we die and it comes for God to judge us – he will NOT ask, how many good things have you done in your Life? Rather he will ask, how much LOVE did you put into what you did? In this Life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.

    Mother Teresa

    Surely, Love is the seed of all happiness!


    1. Gregg Hake

      I’ve always been puzzled as to why we feel that happiness/ecstasy/nirvana is reserved unto some vague and mysterious afterlife. Why not function in a way (read: under the command of love) that brings the kingdom of happiness on earth, as it is in heaven!?! Perhaps a heretical thought, but not one that was foreign to the writings of the great masters throughout history. Thank you for sharing the quote and for your comment, Carmen!


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