3 “Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. 4 “Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad. 5 “Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth. 6 “Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full. 7 “Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy. 8 “Happy are people who have pure hearts, because they will see God. 9 “Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children. Matthew 5:3-9, CEB
A few days ago I confessed that I was reading random internet articles on happiness just to “see what’s out there”. Well, it is “a few days” to you, it’s only been a few hours to me. I came across another article on happiness on the Huffington Post. The title said something about 6 habits that boost happiness. One of those habits was “try to be happy”. I guess making some effort at happiness might actually give us something in the way of “results”.
This made me think about the old adage: fake it ‘til you make it. We’ve made good use of that phrase in recovery. Over the years, I’ve learned that both early, early theologians as well as more modern neurologists agree with that approach. The best way to ingrain something in our lives is to practice. Today we call that a habit. Those early theologians called it virtue.
It’s interesting to think that faking it until you make it can apply even to something like happiness. I suspect, as with most things, your actual mileage may vary. There are limits to its usefulness. But it reminds us of something we talk about often: perspective. We may be powerless over many aspects of life, but we can take some responsibility for our perspective. Our perspective can actually impact our emotional state. Well, actually, I guess I can’t say that since we stopped defining happiness as only an emotion. Our perspective can influence our contentment/happiness/joy. It may seem like a difficult thing to work on. It may seem daunting. It probably is, in fact. But, if this research is at all correct, it may be worth it.
Did we mention there’s an enneagram class going on right now? If you want perspective, try that on for size.