I always get a kick out of seeing a headline like that; as if there is really some great unknown secret that will immediately make life better, if only it were revealed to us. While there is no secret to a good life, there are bits of advice that we can pick up from others and implement in our own lives to make them better. One such piece of advice I got from a post to my usual source – the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Laugh when you can; apologize when you should; and let go of what you can’t change.” (Posted by Carrie Goldring)
The other piece of advice comes from French philosopher Albert Camus – “To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.”
Our ability to laugh, especially at ourselves, is a great release from the stresses of everyday life and a necessary pause in the intensity that we sometimes put on ourselves in life. The ability to admit mistakes, own them, and apologize for them or make them right is also a necessity. Only through that process can we forgive ourselves get them off our backs. Finally, the ability to recognize those things in life that one cannot change and let go of them is critical. Our faith helps with that by allowing us to give those things to God in the simple prayer, “Not my will, but thy will be done.”
And then there is the advice of Camus. I don’t think he was saying not to be empathetic to the needs of others so much as not to be hung up on what others think about you or what you do. Many people spend an inordinate amount of time being concerned about the answer to the question, “What will others think?” before and after they do something. Even getting dressed in the morning usually involves that question for those people. Camus is saying that happiness does not come from others, but rather from within ourselves.
There are phrases that ae used within or vocabularies that point to the answer of living a good life – phrases like, “I laughed so hard that I cried” or “Those are tears of happiness”. Those phrases are describing examples of those moments in life that we let go of all else and live in the moment. We enjoy life. I have also heard the phrase, “I never felt more alive than at that moment” to describe some wonderful event in someone’s life.
Perhaps that is the secret to the good life. Again, I point to another quote from Albert Camus that sums this up very nicely – “Live to the point of tears.”
So the secret to the good life is to stop worrying about it and start living it – living it to the point of tears. A good start at living that way it to recall the words of the Psalmist – “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24
If we wake up each morning and acknowledge and give thanks to God for giving us another day it is bound to be a better day – a day in which we can live life to the point of tears.
Now you know the secret. Say your prayer to thank God for this day and then go out and live your life to the point of tears. It’s going to be a great day!