Included in this issue is information about one of the longest-running studies in the world regarding happiness and well-being. Researchers, who conducted the study for more than 86 years, sought to determine what factors determine a happy and fulfilled life. Not surprisingly, they found that the greatest impact upon people’s happiness is determined by the quality of their relationships with others.
Buddhist philosophy defines happiness as a sense of long-term well-being, peace of mind, and satisfaction with our lives, noting that the greatest source of true happiness is in cherishing others. For, if we truly care about others’ well-being and happiness, we actually feel more open and connected to them and to ourselves.
But how can we possibly cherish everyone, including those who hurt us or others, or who even appear to be determined to hurt the world with their negative actions? Should we allow those who have hurt us to forego our positive efforts to make ourselves and the world better? Healthier? Happier?
I believe that while I cannot control the actions of others that are difficult to forgive, I can start by forgiving myself for any mistakes I may have made along the way, and promise to do better should a similar situation arise. If we were all able to do this, I believe it would help pave the way for cherishing ourselves and others, and to achieving more meaningful relationships and happiness.
Spring is just around the corner, and a great time to open our hearts to new ways of thinking that bring us greater peace, health, and satisfaction with our lives.