9 Common Sense Guidelines that Hold the Secret to Being Happy
The more things change, the more they stay the same
My husband’s mother passed away in 1998 at the age of 85.
Being left with the task of sorting through her earthly belongings, many of her personal effects were packed up and stored, giving us the emotional space to reflect on her life, and the time to handle the many details of her estate.
A year later, we began the process of sifting through what she’d left behind. Her legacy included twenty boxes of photo albums, letters, cards, and poems — including hand-written stories of her life and memories from her childhood.
With each new box, we discovered little pieces of precious treasure.
One of our more interesting finds was a set of carefully printed notes taken from a high school lecture. Dated October, 1930, she had written the title of the lesson in large, flowing letters: “Good Advice for Every Young Woman to Heed.”
After reading it, I was reminded of the old French proverb by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr …
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
The message she’d so carefully penned on the now-brittle paper brought a smile to my face, and a reminder that some hidden treasures — and the lessons they carry — are timeless.
And sometimes, they arrive when you need them the most.
Allow me to share those enduring words of wisdom from nearly a hundred years ago:
Wash your face in the morning and before retiring at night. Your face is the picture you present to the world. Treat it as you would any work of art.
Choose your speech wisely. Be noticed for your sensibilities and remembered for your economy of words.
Avoid loud and boisterous people. They are a vexation to the spirit and will waste your time and, eventually, your life.
Be an example for others. You say far more with your actions than with your words. And others are always watching.
Never count on others to take care of you. Graciously accept kind acts when offered, but never expect gifts of prestige, power, or wealth. Even though you may believe you are entitled to the very best life has to offer, the world will bestow upon you what you deservedly earn.
Use the present to build the future. Very little is accomplished without personal effort. Decide to make every day a victory. Put your heart into every task, doing it the best way you know how, and your rewards will multiply with the passing days.
Consider carefully your choice of mate. Far too many women jump headlong into marriage believing they will be able to rid their partner of disagreeable behaviors. But in truth, trying to change the ways of a man after marriage will present you with a challenge as difficult as changing lead into gold.
Learn new skills and be open to new ways of doing old things. The future will belong to those who are willing to change with it. Continue to learn new things. Read new books. Although you may lose your fortune, you can never lose your education.
Count every blessing, every day. Be happy with what you have, and don’t let your energy be drained away by envy and greed. Life is short. Decide to be happy.
The few yellowed pieces of paper in that box — carefully scribed and preserved for generations to come — remind me daily that the simplest thoughts and actions can bring us much more than a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
Those common-sense guidelines offer a few secrets to being happy.
Developing an optimistic mindset, along with a sense of awareness and personal accountability, are the steppingstones to becoming courteous, respectful, and likeable human beings.
In health & happiness,
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Jill Reid is the author of Real Life, Discover Your Personal Truth, Life in Small Doses, and Please God, Make Me A Writer. Her books, videos, and newsletter explore life, relationships, self-improvement, health, and personal success strategies for working through the challenges of everyday life.
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