I want to be happy. But happy is a place, and usually I have no idea how to get there. So when Pope Francis gave us some advice on how to become happy in nine easy steps, I was definitely on board. After all, nine steps doesn’t sound too far.
I was expecting something like, “Eat better, get more exercise, and pray a lot.” But I was pleasantly surprised at his guide to happiness.
The following is my interpretation of Pope Francis’ nine steps along with Beliefnet.com‘s?explanation.
1. “Live and let live“
I always think this means ignore others. But that’s not what Pope Francis says. He says ?Live.?
?Recognize that living a charitable, honest and joyful existence can be.?
2. “Be giving of yourself to others“
That sounds like working in a soup kitchen. But once again, there is more to this.
?It isn’t just charity in material goods but charity in spirit?freely and without regard to rank or status.?
3. “Proceed calmly“
I don’t suppose the Pope is suggesting buying a pair of Hushpuppy shoes?
No, he is talking about the chaos that surrounds us as we race toward some unknown destination. To be able to walk softly and proceed calmly, personal examination is required. The Pope wants people to examine their lives more closely.
4. “Consumerism has brought us anxiety”
Ah! Enjoying leisure! This must be about going to Disneyland. Wrong again. We reach for materials goods, fame or competition ?…in the wide world of avatars in detrimental and destructive ways.??
5. “Sunday is for families“
I suppose this means I have to go visit my relatives on Sunday. Right! Right? Yes! But the Pope infers that a leisurely afternoon with friends and family can be good.
Clich?’s abound about family being the cornerstone of society and yet when given an opportunity to live those truths, very few of us do anymore.?
6. “We need to be creative with young people”
This isn’t about handing the teenager a $20 bill. It is about listening to the ?needs of children ? of the next generation.? According to Beliefnet, the Pope says this because:
“…he understands how they are particularly at risk. He also reminds us of our obligations to our children who specifically require us to tend to their needs lest they become victims of the world in which they live.?
7. Respect Nature
Oh I like this one. It is wonderful to spend time walking among the trees. But Pope Francis is talking about something very serious.
?He uses words such as ?suicide? and ?tyrannical? in regards to the environment. If we take seriously his comments about our children we are forced to recognize that one gift we give our children is the earth itself through our love and care of it.?
8. Move On!
A former friend often said, ?Scrape your shoe and move on.? That is not quite what the Pope means. He talks about gossip being ?abhorrent.? Oh darn. Then he goes on to say that low self-esteem may be the cause of gossip. Oh double darn.
???Letting go of negative things quickly? is a universally understood balm for the soul. Someone who has low self-esteem may find time spent on social media sites only increases their low self-esteem as they compare themselves to others who are putting on a false face to the world.?
9. “The call of peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive”
Working for peace. This one sounds huge and insurmountable. I can’t end the wars. And yes it causes me great sadness.
Wow. Pope Francis has an extraordinary list that tells us how to be happy. It is simple. But not easy. I suppose if I truly want to achieve the elusive state of happy – and I do – I know how to get there.