People are unhappy for all sorts of reasons, but aside from terrible physical problems and debilitating illnesses, the main cause seems to be Having Less Than Other People Who Seem to Have It All. We usually learn we are suffering from this chronic condition by reading magazines and newspapers, watching TV and logging on to Facebook. I try to cull some of these outside influences before they bring me down, throwing out those "special sections" inside every Sunday's New York Times that are brimming with lavish spreads on fabulous houses and fantastic journeys to exotic places populated by beautiful people, that sort of thing. You know, things I can't afford and have no bearing on my life. I usually take the offending magazine and close my eyes so I can't even read the cover lines, then grope my way to the recycling bin in the garage and dump it in.
Today I realized I will have to cancel our home delivery of the Wall Street Journal because we are simply not rich enough to continue reading it. I won't go into details about which one of several articles detailing how the filthy rich squander their money while African babies with distended tummies barely survive on mud pies sent me over the edge because I don't want to bum you out. In fact, like every other freelance author out there, I want to make you happier! And so here's my prescription for happiness in three easy steps:
1. Stop comparing yourself to anyone but yourself.
2. Be grateful if you can walk, and in fact, get outside and walk.
3. Forget about how your outsides look and be grateful your insides still work.