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The Thieves of Happiness

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Themes for these recipes are provided courtesy of conversations from my clients, friends and business associates and last week’s discussion seemed preoccupied with the much- jaded topic of the acquisition of happiness.  Volumes upon volumes of words have been dedicated to this spiritual firefly to explain and capture its true definition...and here is some more…


We all know that happiness is not something that can be neatly defined, and wrapped up in a Tiffany bow. Happiness can only be experienced. I also might add that your version of happiness maybe another’s misery. Forgive me if I sound a tad cynical, it is just so achingly simple to think about and yet, for many so difficult to feel it would appear.


Recently, yours truly came under attack from a ‘concerned acquaintance’ and was accused of the heinous crime of being constantly happy. Obviously, deep down I was miserable and floating up the river Denial and was merely reflecting a cheery facade. No one could be this happy, was the blatant glove in the face accusation.  As is my want, I let the words be osmotically absorbed, thought and felt about them deeply before I chose to respond…and I did respond… with two smoking, loving barrels.


Happiness does not belong to the genus of some rare, nocturnal creature that can only be sited once or twice in a fortunate lifetime. Neither does Happiness arrive on the wings of Lady Luck, at a card game, lotto or shelled fortune cookie. Happiness is like everything else in life that is worth having and savoring - it is a choice.


Granted, little devices like the blame game, poor me and who‘s the pretty victim cannot be played as the price of happiness comes with personal responsibility. Responsibility is such a late 90’s millennia word/cliché that is jam-packed with for some, an unglamorous, yet rewarding way to live. In fact, for this author, if you are not a new client and ergo, still oblivious to this life tenet, I display little patience and sympathy for those who’s sole purpose is to complain. I am reminded of the maxim of a dear friend named Carlo, who recently retired at the tender age of forty, a very happy man. His sage brotherly advice fifteen years ago was “Never criticize, condemn or complain.” These words pretty much obliterated my modus operandi at the time...hmmm. A novel and totally undramatic way to live that had little appeal until the pain of complaining demanded I do something different. That statement resonated with me and challenged me daily. Some days, as a result of this practice, I had very little to say… I then realized to my abject horror that I had little character depth and scant composure and was not a very good friend.


The practice of being silent allows us to truly listen instead of polluting our thought waves with the critical, poor me refrain. That tired old magpie will only give you what is wrong with your life because that has been it’s feathery diet from conception until the time you chose to listen to the silence and stillness so you could actually hear.


Ask yourself this question: What exactly do I want out of life? If your answer is less than succinct and shiny, then you are paving the way for a less than shiny happiness. Think about it? If you are vague and do not know what you truly want, or how to get it, then how can you hope to be fulfilled or happy.


I often hear this ‘wish’: ‘I would like to meet someone I can marry, who will make me happy’. We all intellectually know that no one can ‘make’ us happy and yet that is exactly what people do. Then when the poor wretch who has been unfortunate enough to be your chosen one fails to make you happy, you begin to assault and accuse him/her of not being the person you thought they were!!


Clearly, if you cannot make yourself happy, then what gives you the right to demand happiness from someone else?


Whatever you do for yourself, or to yourself, automatically affects all those around you i.e. if you are happy, you in turn affect and uplift those around you. This is a selfish process as opposed to self-centered. This flies in the face of our social conditioning for we have been taught that you should not be selfish i.e. “I am not at all selfish, because I always put you first and you never bother to ‘make’ me happy.” Sob! Blame! Sob! Blame!


I like being happy and I like choosing to be happy and my friends like that I like choosing to be happy because in turn, it ignites their capacity to be happy. Some people choose to be miserable, because they think that to be miserable is to be humble. For me, the definition of being humble means that I am not so arrogant as to demand that others should make me happy.


Our world, our relationships and our happiness expand with infinite possibilities when we choose to give as much as we take. Sometimes people give too much because we have been conditioned to give. They give you presents, they give you their expectations, they give you their demands, they give you their problems, they give you their frustration, they give you their anger, they give you their misery, they give you a huge headache! This variety of giving is only another form of manipulation.

I’ll give you my bad temper in exchange for your joy; I’ll give you my lies and hypocrisy in return for your honesty; I’ll give you my love and you give me a long string of expectations and conditions…sound familiar. No one has the right to impose their misery upon the world and then expect everyone else to give them happiness in return.


Life is a process of giving and taking, a fair exchange of energy, yet many people only give or take and it becomes impossible to distinguish with any real clarity the difference between the two. If you give much happiness, you can afford to take happiness wherever you go. If you choose to learn from every exchange in life, you receive and get clarity from everything and then can return that clarity wherever you go.

So, if you wish to give only a little that day, remember to take only as much as you have given. If you are sad, and can only give a little, don’t expect everyone to shower you with happiness. If you give your sadness, expect sadness to be returned. If you give your anger, expect a large parcel back. We only get back what we put out.


Everyone has their own set of challenges and there is no avoiding those challenges by inflicting your pain and misery on to someone else. All our challenges are there to enable us to become stronger, wiser, more loving happier people. If you try to ‘give’ your challenges to someone else you are stealing someone else’s happiness.


So, what have you stolen lately? What have you taken that did not belong to you that you did not earn or deserve?


Life is but a system of relationships and the one peace inducing golden message is that we always have choice. Choice of what we say, what we feel, what we do, of who we become. If thieves of happiness surround you, and you have thoroughly checked your authenticity and integrity, and you have extended the hand of choice and they refuse it, quietly and gently, one by one, let them go and return to their choice of misery.



To do now:

Make a decision before you get out of bed today to be happy and if you cannot allow yourself this choice, refrain from stealing it from someone else. Be aware of your choices.
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It has been brought to our attention that Margaret is being portrayed as a psychic on $1.99 sites. These sites are doing so without Margaret's permission. Margaret has not claimed she is a psychic. - MW