No legacy is so rich as honesty.

~ William Shakespeare ~

Rot Or Not It’s What We’ve Got

February 22nd, 2015 ~ Est. reading time: 3 mins, 11 secs

Life isn't always on your side.

Life isn’t always on your side.

Society imploding on itself. That’s the fear of many a doomsayer throughout the ages. So what makes this era any different?

Well, socially not that much. While some decry the decline of family is leading us to a point of social destruction, human beings have proved to be – thus far at least – a remarkable hardy lot.

So I suspect fears about social standards are more about change anxiety and that’s always understandable.

What is much more concerning – which the minders of the notorious doomsday clock have recently reminded us about – is that we humans have a corporate collection of nuclear weapons big enough to blow up everything many times over. that would wipe us out many times over, leaving little more than a gathering of plucky cockroaches, to inherit a very wrecked Earth.

Nuclear war notwithstanding, there’s the fear that nuggety little bugs could wipe most of us off. Or else a rather nasty collision from a passing asteroid blasts us to bits. Or, the prospect of coming soon to you robots deciding we pesky people are more trouble than we’re worth. And if they and all the other threats don’t do it, global overheating is. With a ringside seat for climatic catastrophe this century and a sea so acid, most of the critters in it will call it quits, the prosecutes are not exactly jolly.

That is to say all of this can severely mess around with your state of happiness, can’t it? Never before in human history have we managed to amass such a diverse range of apocalyptic risks all at one time. So, yes, those prone to a little worry know only too well that the rot really does look rather nasty.

And yet, this is not the time to surrender your happiness but, surprisingly, to fortify it. When risk levels rise we need to realise what matters most to us and do something about our situation (whatever that is).

Happiness that’s based on getting pleasure in a consumerist way won’t last. But when the going gets tough a sense of positive purpose does. Happiness sourced from constructive action and values not only keeps us encouraged, it also makes us capable.

What this means in these big fear scenarios is that we get a grip on what we are capable of rather than cringing in the corner, denying risks that we can collectively do something about, or waste our days blaming.

Same goes for situations that unfold at a personal level. When you get caught up in the mess lived by someone you love, like substance abuse, domestic violence, rampant gambling, or relationship breakdown, the first thing to get blown away is the thrill and frippery most people think happiness is.

Being happy – and I mean happy in a lasting way – actually requires a foundation of understanding in yourself and a little bit of life too.

Rot or not, this life is what we’ve got. When the situation you find yourself in is falling apart the only way to find any joy is by getting a footing on good and noble things you can believe in and living them out.

Waiting for good times isn’t good enough. Nor is blaming life for the bad hand you’ve been dealt. Because we each have the capacity to bring joy into the life of someone else. Everyone, no matter how poor or humble, can reveal beauty in even the most dire of circumstances. And that makes you, me, and everyone else rather amazing.

Still, as positive as that is in times of uncertainty, there’s a big BUT in the way. Just because we have these capacities doesn’t mean we use them. Like you, that guy down the way who keeps being a pain in the letter ‘a’ has these incredible abilities too. Yet he refuses to use them. Likewise, people might prefer to fight, berate, estrange, and destroy, and when they do, they aren’t going anywhere.

So happiness that builds happiness rests with choices based on perspective. Our magnificent abilities are nothing unless we have a basis for believing in something better than our next pleasure sensation, whether our team will win, we get more money, or others start treating us nicely.

Life global and personal ‘is what it is’. Thankfully, what we can do with it is actually in our hands. But you have got to be strong. Your happiness has to have its roots in stuff that’s worthy, solid, and withstands time’s tests. No matter what.

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