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3 Human Principles for Better Happiness in the New Year

We are at the twilight of 2016.  Another year retired to the annals of history.  Looking back, 2016 was a good year for me.  I had my ups and downs. The ups far outweighed the downs in my pursuit of a better happiness I’m glad to say.

As a whole though 2016 was a strange year for the world.

My point of view of the world as a 52 years old, middle-class African-American male and former Jehovah’s Witness is substantially narrowed.  However, I’ve heard similar sentiments from friends from all walks of life and feel confident it’s a shared point of view by more than a few.

Increased political unrest and turmoil.  The continued spread of terrorism.  The most bizarre US presidential election I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.  The passing of creative icons who defined my post-pubescent and young adult life – People like David Bowie, Prince and George Michael to name just a few.

And that’s just scratching the surface.

It’s a New Day

It’s a yucky world at times.  It’s easy to get all worked up and feel discombobulated.  For sanity sake I’ve decided to stick with what I know.  In a global sense I won’t change the world.  However, I can change the part of the world I live in and impact on a daily basis.  To me, the best way to do this is to start with me and push whatever good I can to the outside world.

We’re at the dawn of a new year.  It’s a new day and another chance to make things right in our world.

To get the ball rolling, here are 3 ways I’m going to pursue a better happiness in 2017 based on a few basic human principles:

(I reference a few Bible scriptures below as I’m familiar with these based on my life experience.  These are simply human principles for life which anyone from any background can apply and benefit from)

Focus on what’s really most important

The Apostle Paul wrote of the need to think about what’s really important and focus on that first.  It’s prioritizing 101.  I like how The Message Bible puts it: “You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush.” (Philippians 1:10)

For me, ‘using my head’ in this way means being God centered and focusing on myself, my family and my friends – in that order.  To bring the best me to others requires I be at my best mentally, physically and spiritually.

There are times I lose track of my priorities.  We all do at times.  Focusing too much on material things or worrying about work and the ever-increasing number of projects.  These things are important.  However, these things don’t make a life.  Or, at least they shouldn’t.  When we have our basic needs and a loving family and friends we realize that is what’s most important.

The job and the materials things it brings should enhance the life we live not take away from what’s most important in it.

My aim in 2017 is to embrace that mindset and focus on what really matters.

Be service minded toward others

Many of us know the adage: “It is better to give than receive.” These are words attributed to Jesus Christ and quoted often.  When we genuinely give of ourselves in some way we get that warm, fuzzy feeling which is so great to have.

The Message Bible renders it: “You’re far happier giving than getting.” (Acts 20:35)

It’s apt apply this to the giving of materials gifts.  But what about giving of our time or presence?  Or simply showing up in a loving and kind way?  As I apply it, I need to quit thinking about what’s in it for me in situations.  Rather, I must think of how I can make whatever it is a better experience for the other person.  Whether at work, at home or with friends, the goal is listening to understand instead of judging.

People just need you there for them sometimes.  This New Year I will be more service minded toward others.

Don’t worry (so much)

This 3rd human principle is also provided by Jesus and recorded in the Bible at Matthew 6:34.

In short, don’t worry.

This is hard for me because I over think things.  Instead of appreciating the positives I ruminate over how to avoid the negatives.  This year I’ll make an effort to focus on obtaining the best outcome in any given circumstance.  In life, you get the good and the bad. Yet, your view of things plays a tremendous role in how you live through it.

Jesus said to look at the birds and flowers.  See how they’re well fed and beautiful.  God takes care of them and you’ll have what you need too.   The basic message is this: Instead of worrying, be God-centered and don’t get worked up about things.  Dealing with today is enough.  Besides, you won’t change a thing by worrying about it.

Applying this simple truth can change everything.  In 2017, I plan to not worry (so much).

What about you?

So there it is: 3 ways I’ll be pursuing a better happiness in 2017.  Short, sweet and definitely attainable!

What about you?  Do you have any self-improvement goals in mind for the coming year?

Are there any human principles you already apply with success or wish to apply more fully?

© Marc Townsend

December 31, 2016

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