A Recipe For Happiness
( Originally Published 1916 )
It is worth while to try any recipe for happiness.
Here is one that at least is to be commended for its simplicity and for the fact that it is within the reach of all.
It is to rid yourself of your notion of your RIGHTS.
Think a bit, and you will see that the greater part of all the indignities, chagrins, and humiliations you have had to endure arise from certain ideas you entertain about what is DUE you.
If you can knead your mind about until you come to the conclusion that NOTHING AT ALL is due you, happiness is pretty sure to come in and take permanent lodgings in your heart.
Most of us have a contempt for manipulating our minds to suit the inevitable, and an admiration for those of us who can coerce events to suit their desires.
But, for instance, suppose, when you awake in the morning, before you get out of bed to do your gymnastics, you do a little mental exercise. Ask yourself : "Why should any one love me? Why should I be sought, admired, or praised? What right have I to health or wealth? Others suffer, why should I be happy? 1 have no claims on the universe, so if anything good comes my way today I shall consider myself in luck."
Before you get up clean out of your mind every feeling of your RIGHTS, and see what kind of a day you will have.
Don't try for more than one day, at first, for it will tax your forces.
Old habits of thought will bring constant suggestions, that you are being abused, imposed upon, oppressed and devoured. Be patient. Put these ideas away. Try, just one day, to act on the theory that you have no rights at all.
Expect no gratitude when you help the poor. Look for no recognition when you accommodate a friend. Give up your seat in the crowded car. Step back and wait for others at the theatre box office. Require no attention from your servants, your children, or your wife. Be a doormat—it's only for one day.
By night you may be disgusted with the experiment.
And yet, reflect! Have not all the best things in life come to you over your shoulder, and have not the great miseries of your life been due to not getting things you thought you ought to have, things you strived for?
Remember the simple and lively emotions caused by the unexpected stroke of luck, by the favor of some one from whom you did not look for it, by the love shown you that you did not dream of, by beautiful sights, pleasant odors, delightful foods, as well as other surprises of sympathy, regard, and appreciation that fell to you as bolts from a clear sky.
The best of our treasures came to us undeserved.
The joys that know no yesterdays are all surplus. We never earned them.
Health is nature's largess.
True love is the GIFT of an overbrimrning heart. The man who thinks he DESERVES the love of a good woman, and the worship of little children, ought to be kicked.
In its higher plane, life is not commercial; it is not buying for a price; it is not a realm of law, except the mystic law of love. Thank God 1 we do NOT get our just deserts.
To get the taste of life we must approach it as a beggar at the king's court. If we are despised, what more natural? If we are feasted, what a marvel?
Rather, let us say that none of us can get the rich, sweet flavor of life unless he has the spirit in him of a little child.
Verily, verily, he that cannot be changed and become as a little child shall never know at all how good a thing it is to live.