This question the bus driver asked me after I had exchanged a few sentences with him. We had the bus to ourselves so no one got jealous from our hearty conversation.
Yes, I am a happy person.
I wish I were too. Can’t you give me a few tips, the driver asked.
Sure. First tip. Pull up the corners of your mouth. But not by pretending you are happy. Really from the heart. That action will, if you do it sincerely, generate the feeling of happiness. And once you feel it, it will be even easier to continue doing so. (Don’t wait to act until you feel happy. First act; the feelings will follow.)
Make sure you do it for no particular reason, without any cause. When our happiness doesn’t depend on anything exterior, only on our decision, nothing can take our happiness away. We decide.
Next tip. Being in a bad mood is mostly an addiction or a bad habit. Just like smoking cigarettes. Just say no. Choose life. Start now.
People who say that they don’t want to be happy normally mean that they first want to cry about something painful. There is nothing wrong with crying. As all babies know and most grownups have forgotten: crying enough cleans away hurts and leaves one happy. (Really crying, with tears; not just grumping.) But when you can’t cry, be happy. Refuse to be in a bad mood. (Happy people also have an easier time crying.)
Next tip. Try to make other people happy. You can’t try that without becoming happy yourself.
Give. The more you give the more you become a happy camper/giver. We may also sometimes ask others to make us happy but most of the time, to give is the most superior expression of being us. Give a smile. Lend a listening ear. Make a little blessing or wish for someone.
Maybe some people will sometimes think that you are crazy if you are so happy. Just look them in the eyes and friendly wink. Wink to connect with their happy self that is waiting to be released from serious captivity. Smile at them. (Don’t be happy in a private bubble. Invite them in.) Invite them to a free hug, dance or song. (Across the gender gap, we may make two people of the same sex hug.)
I won’t blame people who feel sad or numb from hardship and oppression. Things do need to shape up in the world. Just don’t think for a second that a hard life makes happiness impossible. Not true. Many people in truly miserable lives know that they can’t afford the “luxury” of being sad. Happiness may be a lifesaver, a necessity.
Being happy has enormous side effects. It is impossible to be happy and, at the same time, be arrogant, stingy, angry, tense, jealous, revengeful, worried, dissatisfied, hateful, down, etc. There are times to cry, to say no, to look somber. But one can always be happy in one’s heart and mind. Besides, it is best to say no as if you hand someone the moon.
Judaism teaches that being constantly happy is a major vocation for every Jew. Living happily costs less energy and feels better. Do yourself a favor and be happy. It will lift everyone’s spirit.
Then I had to get off the bus. The driver was much gladdened by my tips. Many blessings rolled off his tong. How about you? Does this inspire you?