"The Beauty of Life does not depend on how happy you are, but how happy others can be because of you." - Unknown
The purpose of life, I think, is simply to be happy. I believe that happiness is a choice. It starts with gratitude and appreciation and it grows from there.
Not always an easy thing to achieve, I know. There are always plenty of obstacles. One of the biggest, I think, is being around unhappy people. It's difficult to put forth the effort to be happy when you're around toxic people, or in a toxic environment.
So it's really worth our while to try and make those around us happy. I believe that we are all smaller pieces of a greater whole. Think of society as a living entity. The health and happiness of that entity as a whole is dependent upon the health and happiness of the individual pieces.
I believe that we are equally as responsible for the health and happiness of the greater entity as we are for our own health and happiness. While each of us is essentially powerless to have any meaningful impact against something so great, we can affect change piece by piece. Person by person.
A few weeks ago, I was driving through the parking lot of our local grocery store. There's one particular stop sign where I seem to have gotten into the habit of making somewhat of a rolling stop. That day was no different than any other, except this time another car was making its way through the intersection.
As we both hit the brakes, my eye caught the driver of the other car. It was an older woman. Much older. And she looked mean. I immediately averted my eyes, as I was preparing to get an earful. I rolled through the stop sign. I almost hit her car. I was in the wrong, and I was sure that she was going to let me have it.
What seemed like an eternity later, I resolved to accept the consequences of my actions, and looked her way. This was going to be unpleasant, I thought. She's going to shoot me a look that will turn me to stone. And I deserve it. I'm at fault here.
And when I looked up and when our eyes met, she nodded and smiled. And she waved at me, all as if to say, "No worries. We all make mistakes."
Here I was, bracing for a proverbial beating, but I found myself feeling relieved and happy. And my mood, which wasn't necessarily a bad one before, was immediately lifted. And I'd like to think that at some point after that incident, that maybe I lifted somebody else's mood in kind.
And with that, I realized the impact that each of us can have on each other. Not just family and friends, but we all have the power to impact complete strangers, for better or for worse.
We're all responsible for the society around us. Our own happiness is influenced by our surroundings. In a toxic environment, it's that much harder to thrive, or to simply exist.
As the saying goes, no one us can change the world. But we can change one person's world, and maybe that's good enough.
I was reminded of this today when I read the following:
Once a group of 50 people was attending a seminar.
Suddenly the speaker stopped and started giving each person a balloon. Each one was asked to write his/her name on it using a marker pen. Then all the balloons were collected and put in another room.
Now these delegates were let in that room and asked to find the balloon which had their name written, within 5 minutes.
Everyone was frantically searching for their name, pushing, colliding with each other, and there was utter chaos.
At the end of 5 minutes, no one could find their own balloon.
Now each one was asked to randomly collect a balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it. Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.
The speaker began: This is exactly happening in our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is. Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people. Give them their happiness, you will get your own happiness.
And this is the purpose of human life.
-- Author Unknown