Did you know that happiness is built into our DNA? Our brain is wired to encourage our body to choose what will keep us safe, healthy, nourished, and happy. Pope Francis even dismissed the commonly held notion that it is wrong to pursue happiness. He said, “God has placed in the heart of every man and woman an irrepressible desire for happiness, for fulfillment.” But he warns us against seeking happiness in the wrong things, and through the wrong means. So how then should we pursue our bliss? Here are three ideas to try:
Build your self-worth
Pope Francis asks, “Do you realize how much you are worth in the eyes of God? Do you know that you are loved and welcomed by him unconditionally, as indeed you are?” Sometimes, our unhappiness stems from lack of self-worth because we feel unworthy and unwanted. We forget who we are—or more specifically who we are to God. Maybe your life literally needs a wake-up call.
My Pope Tip: Start your day with a morning alarm with the simple message: “I am loved.” You may be surprised that, no matter the circumstance you may find yourself in that day, you can hold your head up and face them with confidence.
Create Positive Change
Pope Francis has encouraged us to “have the courage to be happy.” Why would happiness require courage? Often, it is easier to complain and to settle for quick fixes, rather than go after what will make us truly happy. What is good for our souls—connection, reflection, and appreciation—gets lost in pursuit of what’s popular, or being popular. Being critical may win us “likes” but wouldn’t it be more powerful to take action instead of using just words?
My Pope Tip: Ask yourself, “am I part of the solution?” If you aren’t, how can you do your part in a real, transformative way?
Carrying the burden of anger oftentimes makes us feel stuck. “Live and let live,” Pope Francis advises. “Move forward and let others do the same.” The anger, hurt, and resentment that we carry with us leave no room for the joy of peace and human connection.
My Pope Tip: We may not be able to hear the person who hurt us saying “I’m sorry” but we can, in our own hearts, take off the chains that keep us in the past and choose to forgive. Peace will not come overnight but you’ll eventually feel a little lighter and a little more free, day by day.