Whenever life gets me down and I need borrowed wisdom because what little I have has all run out, I turn to Richard Templar’s The Rules of Life. There are 100 rules in total, all of them good. These are a few that I’m personally working on now.
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” – Mother Teresa
I’ve come to realise that one of the things that make me unhappy is my judgments about other people. Very often, this makes them unhappy too! How to not judge others is simple in theory, and very difficult in practice. Judgment comes to us so naturally that it takes conscious effort and a lot of practice to stop doing it. Here’s what I’m reminding myself to do.
The art of listening is so rare in our fast-paced world that one of the easiest ways to show we care about a person is to listen to them. All of us want a witness to our lives, someone to tell our stories to. Yet few of us really listen to the stories of others.
When it comes to the art of listening, I can think of no better master than my mother. Family, relatives, and friends confide in her because they know she listens. After observing her for years, I realised that there are three simple secrets to her method.
What are “happy hormones”, why do they make us happy, and how do we get more of these into our system?
Happy hormones generally refer to endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. Technically, some of these are neurotransmitters and not hormones, but we shan’t bother ourselves with those scientific details here.
I’m leaving out adrenaline (also called epinephrine) which stimulates a fight-or-flight response. Adrenaline doesn’t make us happy per se, just highly excitable!
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it everyday.” – Henri Nouwen
One day many years ago, I was taking a short cut through a carpark. A sudden spontaneous thought came into my mind with such force that I actually said the words out loud, to no one in particular: “I’m so ANGRY!”
Hearing those words stopped me in my tracks. I knew I’d said them, but I couldn’t figure out why. Nothing had happened that morning to make me angry, and there was no specific incident the anger was about.
In that moment I saw myself as if my mind had taken a photographic snapshot. There I was, standing in the middle of the carpark – jaws clenched, brows knit in a frown, shoulders tensed.
I knew then that anger had become my default state. My most spontaneous thought was one of anger. Until now I have no idea how I’d gotten that way, though I suppose it was the result of allowing the cares of the world to shape my subconscious.