CT Journal: Take an idea or topic from open
forum and develop it in this manner: state the idea, elaborate on the
idea, exemplify the idea, and illustrate the idea by means of an
I think that true happiness can only be achieved through selflessness and genuine concern for others. I often misinterpret triumph such as getting good grades or receiving many presents on my birthday as happiness, but I now that I seriously consider it, I realize that it cannot be so. Real happiness comes from doing nice things for others, not only thinking of myself. Instead of being self-centered, by behaving thoughtfully towards other people, I am actually doing myself a service, because those other people will treat me kindly in return.
For example, the other day, I had twenty dollars with which I was planning to buy a new shirt for myself. I really liked the shirt of them, and it was on sale. The sale was a one-time-only offer, so I was looking forward to going shopping. That afternoon, a friend came up to me and asked if they could borrow twenty bucks to get their mother a birthday gift. They were pretty embarrassed and depressed that they had forgotten to save money for this occasion, and practically got down on their knees to beg me for a loan. I knew that if I lent them the money I wouldn't be able to buy the shirt that I really wanted, but I also knew how terrible my friend would feel if they were unable to give their mom a birthday present.
I gave them the money, at first slightly disappointed that I would miss out on the shirt, but then I began to feel . . . well, happy. I discovered much more gratification in lending my friend the money than keeping it to buy myself something not very important. Although I didn't get the new shirt I had wanted so badly, it didn't matter. I had survived fourteen years of my life without it, so it wasn't as if I wouldn't be able to go on with my life if I didn't get the shirt. I found out that by putting my friend before myself, I felt like a benevolent and giving person, which was a very satisfactory feeling, and I strengthened a friendship. I learned that generosity is so much more rewarding than selfishness, because I get a bigger feeling of satisfaction. The kind of happiness I could have gotten by buying a new shirt that I liked would be temporary, and somehow false. It would be an almost greedy kind of happiness, the way a child who adores candy probably feels after a long night of trick-or-treating.
To me, happiness that only benefits oneself isn't real. The happiness I experienced when I sacrificed my opportunity to purchase an article of clothing in order to provide my friend with cash for their mother's birthday gift was genuine because it involved giving to someone other than myself. Like the act of giving, many times real happiness is gained form intangibles rather than physical objects such as clothes. There is a famous saying that people use to describe a present that in itself isn't very large, expensive, or ample: "It doesn't matter because it's the thought that counts." In other words, the present is just a present. It may not have much worth or importance, but it represents something more valuable. Just the fact that someone cared enough to give another person a gift should grant anyone true happiness.
I think that genuine happiness is like a boomerang. The more times you use it, the more times it returns. If you never throw your boomerang because you don't want to take the risk of losing it or breaking it, obviously it won't be able to come back because you haven't cast it. Also, if you don't put much force into your throw, the boomerang won't return either. It will simply fall a few feet away from you and drop onto the ground. To get the greatest results from your boomerang, you have to throw it with enthusiastic energy, and without restraint. To give freely is to ultimately receive greatly. And as with throwing a boomerang, the happiness comes not from having something, but from giving something.
Twinkle twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky.
Sometimes outer appearance does not apply to what lies beneath, in
the depths of a person or thing. In a perfect world, people would not
judge another by their physical looks alone, but learn to think
deeper into the character of that person which when understood, can
make their true beauty come to life for the very first time.