So you want to be happy ...

A spiritual look at issues of interest to young people

The other day when I was talking to my friend Erin, who is in middle school, she started singing the song "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands."

Erin told me that happiness comes from God. Everything He made is good, is just like He is. Unhappiness isn't good, so it can't be from God. God is forever, so happiness has to be forever.

Then I asked Erin to tell some things she's learned about being happy.

Are you happy?

Yes. God gives me happiness. He's with me all the time. That's comforting.

I have good feelings - it's just the way I am. God made me happy, and it doesn't depend on having things.

Do you ever feel unhappy?

Yes. Everyone does sometimes. Some days I forget that happiness comes from God. And so I might sulk for a while. But then I remember that happiness isn't from a person. That I shouldn't be happy just because I get something I want. That helps me feel happy again.

What would you say to someone who is not happy?

Something that helps me is keeping a notebook by my bed. At night, I write about good things that happened that day. When I first heard about this idea, I thought it was silly. But I found that the more good things I notice, the more I have something to be happy about.

What kinds of things are in your notebook?

One day at the mall, two girls were getting their ears pierced. One was afraid and the other was helping her. It was nice to see her comfort her friend.

Two of my friends usually are really ugly to each other on the bus. But one day they had a nice conversation. I thought that was good.

Also, I was helping out at my brother's school, and everyone wanted to help. No one was complaining and saying "I don't want to do this."

What else would you tell someone who feels unhappy?

It may be you feel people don't like you or that you're not good enough. But don't think about trying to impress people. Express God! Be what God made you to be. Do what God would want you to do. Be creative, be helpful, use your abilities. That will make you happy because you'll see you're good at things.

Sometimes you have to let yourself be happy. It's easy to mope, but happiness is refreshing. It's worth the effort.

If you want to be happy, you may even need to pretend at first. Smile, even though it's hard. Soon it catches on, and you forget you're pretending. Think about God being everywhere. The more you see God, the more you'll see good things in your life. Soon you will find people want to be with you and share happiness.

Could you be happy even if you had some really tough problems - a bad situation at home, or not being able to have nice clothes, or ... ?

It might be hard. But really, happiness doesn't depend on what's going on around you. Situations don't make or break you. Happiness is inside you, part of who you are. Remember that it's from God. Everyone can be happy, just because God makes everyone happy.

I thought of a line from another song: "Happiness flows in a circular motion." It's all around. Everyone is included because it's from God. You are happy, you share your happiness, and it comes back to you.

Some kids think pills or drugs or stuff can make them happy. What do you think?

God makes you happy and keeps you happy. Nothing else can do this. If you put your hopes in stuff that seems good (new shoes, a pill, or a drug) you'll always be disappointed. That kind of happiness won't last. But finding ways to express love for people will give you happiness that does last.

Being happy is really important. You need to stand up for your happiness. Remember, God made you happy, so you can be. Also, share your happiness.

Happiness is spiritual,

born of Truth and Love.

It is unselfish; therefore it

cannot exist alone, but

requires all mankind

to share it.

Mary Baker Eddy

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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