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How to live happily.

Updated on March 4, 2013

Is it possible to live happily?

Of course it is. Okay, so you may not be ecstatically happy every single minute of your life but it can be helpful if you think of the 'down' times as only being there as something against which you measure the 'up' times.

So boredom, the occasional glooms, even unwanted trauma can be used, not just as experience to learn from, but also as a contrast against which you can weigh up the happiness quotient of the good times. In fact such a comparison can add something to the happy times, all it takes is awareness.

Awareness is simply realising how you are feeling … and also remembering that just as happiness is not constant, then neither are the gloomy times.

I made the video above to outline a few of the things that I have learnt throughout my rather eventful life. Although it is neither a definitive nor exhaustive list ... and it will not resonate with everyone. I can only hope that it moves a few people to think a little more deeply about their own life. If it does then it will have been worthwhile.

So, perhaps we should simply think of these guidelines as a starting point?

Are you happy ....

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Guidelines for a happy life ... expanded upon.

  • Accept that you are not perfect ...

in looks, behaviour, career. The key word here is ‘accept'. You are human, you will foul up from time to time. Beat yourself up by all means ... but quickly. Then move on and learn from your mistake. If you find you make the same mistake again then you will obviously need some reinforcing of the message and make no mistake, God, the Universe or wherever else you believe these trials to have come from will always send you the lessons you need to learn.

  • Realise that failure is another word for lesson ...

If you are too timid to try things you will never make the mistake that affords you a learning experience and your world will stay small, safe and, most probably, deadly boring. Accept these lessons gracefully but above all realise that such 'failures' do not mean you have failed in all things.

  • Give freely of your time to others, it can repay in unexpected ways.

This is a tricky one when time is the most precious possession many of us will ever have. But here's the thing ... making time for others can have heartwarming repercussions, usually just when you were not expecting anything.

  • Know the difference between love and infatuation, choose wisely.

This too is often difficult to get right. One of these provides a lifetime of companionship and support, the other satisfies only a fleeting need. Take your time to get it right. Love will wait for you, infatuation will fade away with time. And never mistake sexual attraction for real love … love is not a pop music video.

  • Be kind ... there is little to gain from criticism.

Only the seriously lacking in confidence seek to boost it at another's expense by belittling them. If you need to criticise, ask yourself 'why?' And be honest with the answer you give yourself … it will repay you in the long run.

  • Taking credit for another's work corrodes your soul ...

If it's a compliment from the boss mistakenly attributing someone else's work to you, do not allow it. Stealing the hard work of others is not just stealing kudos, it is self-delusion writ large. If the work is not yours you will always know it and there can be no satisfaction or pleasure in such knowledge. Honesty says much more about you as a person and can only ever earn you respect … your own as well as other people’s.

  • Strive to live with honour, it gives peace of mind.

You may not always succeed in this but if you have honestly tried at least you have a little balm for your mind. A peaceful mind is a possession to treasure and personal honour makes it possible.

  • Do good - a kind action can repay out of all proportion to its cost.

It doesn't have to be a grand gesture, even a simple action can promote feelings of kindness and reciprocation in the hearts of others. Make it a regular policy to commit random acts of kindness.

  • Guard against a sense of entitlement, you are only entitled to life.

You have been given the priceless gift of life, what you make of it is up to you. Do not expect to be given everything … or even anything … else. Having been born is enough, seize your life with gratitude.

  • Avoid vanity ... looks are fleeting and you too will one day be old.

Vanity is only excusable in the very young and even they must take care to cultivate more depth of character as time passes. Vanity in old age leads to discontent and misery for those whose lives have always followed such a shallow path.

  • Expect to work hard ... there are few shortcuts to earning a living.

We cannot all expect to inherit a fortune. For most of us working hard is how we survive. Be aware of the tricksters. If we can avoid being either greedy or desperate we can avoid being exploited or robbed. Remember there is rarely such a thing as a free lunch so avoid naivety without allowing yourself to wallow in cynicism. It is a fine balance but remember cynics can miss much by being too suspicious of others.

  • Allow your emotions but temper anger and make sure it is just.

Emotions are the thoughts of your soul. Listen to your soul, for hiding or suppressing its messages means that it never has its say and this can lead to mental distress. This does not mean you should throw yourself on the floor and drum your heels every time things go wrong. It simply means that you should state your feelings clearly and without force. Even the emotion of anger will accept this stricture just as long as it is openly heard and understood. And if, on quick reflection, you know your anger is unjustified you can still express it safely ... but on the cushions ... not the cat.

  • Try to do your best in everything ... and enjoy your life.

What can I say? You are alive and life is a miracle, always an unfolding adventure. All you can do is to do ... and be ... the best you can. You have a right to your happiness ... 'an it harm none' (Wiccan rede)but be aware it is up to you to make yourself happy. Try hard not to burden others with that responsibility.

Namaste!

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    • Angie Jardine profile image
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      Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Bless you, healthylife … that is very kind.

      Keep up the good work on yourself, you are the only one who can do it … and you are worth it!

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thanks for the helpful tips. I think I will begin using the word lesson to replace failure. I agree that daily random acts of kindness change one's perspective. I have also learned that it is solely up to me to make myself happy and I'm always working on it.I'm also very impressed with the video. Voted up!

    • Angie Jardine profile image
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      Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Thank you, T-L … you are ever the gallant.

      I don’t have the camera I would really like and my eyes are getting a bit dodgy … so it is very kind of you to be so fulsome with your praise.

      And a big mwah to you too!

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Don't tinker with the video, my friend. There is the capacity for you to put the photo in there somewhere. You have no idea how often i look at it and enjoy it. It is one of the loveliest pictures I have to gaze at and to think, "Ah! If only I liked gardening, I could attempt something like that."

      And of course, I feel you have a wonderful camera and also a very artistic eye.

      Mwah! (as we say)

    • Angie Jardine profile image
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      Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Bless him! These are all photos from my various reclaimed gardens … the pot with the nasturtiums is a new one … but can’t bring myself to tinker with the vid to add it :)

      x

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      And where's my favourite photograph? The pot with the nasturtiums.

      Lovely hub, my friend, Makes me want to settle down with a cup of herbal tea and a bowl of Cous Cous.

      The video, I need not tell you, is so lovely. I dare not show Steve. He'd be on your doorstep in the blink of a whatever.

    • Angie Jardine profile image
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      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Steady thost, steady ... :)

      Many thanks for the kind words and thanks too for stopping by to leave them (blows kiss)

    • thost profile image

      thost 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      infatuation will fade away with time, But it’s so exciting.

      Great Hub with sound advice.

    • Angie Jardine profile image
      Author

      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Could not agree more, Moneyger.

      Many thanks for commenting.

    • Moneyger profile image

      Moneyger 5 years ago

      A great hub and good food for thought. The fact is that, unless we experience the 'down' times, we will hardly recognize the 'up' times.

    • Angie Jardine profile image
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      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Many thanks, SK for taking the time to comment ... much appreciated.

    • SKCandles profile image

      SKCandles 5 years ago from Canada

      Great information and definitely some things to think about.

    • Angie Jardine profile image
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      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi Theresa ... many thanks for taking the time to leave your kind comment.

      You're right about my being one of the many who leave such advice but I tend to need reminding every now and then and I just thought maybe other people might appreciate a prompt too.

      And of course everybody's guidelines are different.

      Namaste!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Angie - Many people have a list,many people offer advice on the life well lived. But this is very well-done, very well-written, an encouragement to us all. Blessings, Theresa

    • Angie Jardine profile image
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      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Bless you, Glenn! You are very kind ...

      These are just the things I believe are helpful ... can't always follow them though, but the whole idea is to try one's best, isn't it?

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I agree with every statement. And I like how you explained each one in detail as well. I feel that these things in your list should be reviewed from time to time so we don't forget them. That's how important I think they are. The video was a nice touch. Well done.

    • Angie Jardine profile image
      Author

      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi Feline ... thanks for pitching up here and leaving such a kind comment ...

      As for the vid ... all done by trial and error, as usual. x

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 5 years ago

      Such simple words...but so full of wisdom! :)

      Love the video!

    • Angie Jardine profile image
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      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi Sherry ... wow! Thank you ... and many thanks for the follow.

      I'll be round at yours (hub profile that is) shortly.

    • Angie Jardine profile image
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      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hiya WOL ... many, many thanks for doing that ... and even more for thinking of it.

      I did join Pinterest a couple of weeks ago but haven't really worked out how to do much with it ... durr! Will be interested to see what happens. x

    • Angie Jardine profile image
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      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi Scribenet ... how kind you are.

      I really do love it when people take the time to comment, even more when they say lovely things!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Totally awesome. Repinned.

    • profile image

      writeronline 5 years ago

      It's pinned, Angie, along with this message:

      "This is like Desiderata for the modern day. Don't know 'Desiderata'? All the more reason to check these words of wisdom, and the vid."

      Stand back!

    • profile image

      writeronline 5 years ago

      Angie, I'll attend to that wee Pinning matter post haste. if you haven't joined Pinterest, I'm not sure you'll be able to look at the post - but if it works, it will show up in your page views.(Thousands of them, day after day...ad infinitum :)

      Cheers

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Angie...great guidlines to live by and a beautiful video to go with them...love the beautiful pictures!

    • Angie Jardine profile image
      Author

      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi samsons1 ... many thanks for the kind words, I really appreciate them. Much love ... A

    • Angie Jardine profile image
      Author

      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      WOL - that would be great, thanks. I'm still not au fait with Pinterest ... so I would be most obliged if you could load it up for me. Bless x

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Most beautiful and inspirational hub. Loved the video and the instructive "words of wisdom". Voted up, useful and beautiful. A work of art...

    • profile image

      writeronline 5 years ago

      I meant to ask, Angie, do you have any objection to this being pinned at Pinterest? It's exactly the kind of thing that I see ringing the chimes of many 'Pinners', but has the added advantage of originality, and I'd be pleased to load it there for you. But not without your knowledge and approval.

    • Angie Jardine profile image
      Author

      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Wow, WOL ... that is powerful praise indeed from you.

      Obviously the vid is not as slick as I would have liked but I am a novice at all this so I am quite pleased with the result.

      Love to you and the Antipodes ... x

    • profile image

      writeronline 5 years ago

      Beautiful work, Angie. Your words powerfully convey the wisdom that can come from age; but only to those who've listened and learned along the way. Your pictures are wonderful, uplifting, and soothing at once. And your video proves what I've always believed (when making ads, also a long time ago now..), mix the perfect combination of words, pictures and music - and magic happens.

      It's happened here.

    • Angie Jardine profile image
      Author

      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hello sweetie ... thanks for such a kind comment!

      I had forgotten about the Desiderata, M2C - even though I have part of it carved into a slate in my garden. Durr!

      These are just ... principles ... I suppose, that seemed to me to be helpful for happiness. Let's face it so many of us need to 'get over ourselves' these days ... esp. yours truly at times. But then half the battle is actually realising that, eh? :x

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

      Oh, Angie! This is the most beautiful thing I've read in quite a while...reminiscent of the Desiderata, which is something I've always cherished. Thank you so much for sharing this today - I bet many others needed it as much as I did. :)

    • Angie Jardine profile image
      Author

      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Thanks, Natashalh ... it is a useful trait, surprising how many of us don't always learn though.

      Still, that's enough about me ... :)

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I really like your tips. They are so true - every single one of them! I especially like your statement that failure is another word for lesson. I think having the ability to learn from mistakes is one of the best/most useful traits a person can have.

    • Angie Jardine profile image
      Author

      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hello, Goodlady! Thanks for the kind comments ...

      Yes, they are mostly my photos ... views of Devon and my homes and gardens in Devon and various parts of Cornwall. The cats however were my next door neighbours in the far west of Cornwall ... she sent it to me knowing I would be interested in how her latest stray was settling in (that's him ... Nen ... on the left).

      My husband also took the last one ... sunset looking across at the Lleyn peninsula in North Wales.

      We are now back in our beloved Cornwall but our garden is being planted with veg. - needs must doncha know!

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Such idyllic pictures/video! Did you take them all, from where you live? How beautiful. Clever you. What heavenly gardens and flowers and pussy cats... Well DONE!!!

    • Angie Jardine profile image
      Author

      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi Sandra ... you were quick! Many thanks for commenting ... and especially for being impressed with my vid. As usual it was achieved by my tried and trusted process of trial and error!

      These are mostly photos of the various gardens I have created and then left ...

    • sandrabusby profile image

      Sandra Busby 5 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      Love the shots of Cornwall. And -- I'm impressed by your video. Thanks for SHARING.