A camel and its kid lived in a village. One day the baby camel complained to it’s mother that his companions in the village are mocking at it, seeing different parts of his body. The mother camel asked the baby camel with great concern why they are mocking at them. The baby camel replied with great sadness asking the mother, “Why we have our eyes and our eye lids are so big and ugly”? The mother camel very patiently replied, “As we are desert animals, we travel in the desert. Often there may be heavy wind and so to protect our eyes from the dust coming from the desert through the wind, God has made big eye lids.
Again the baby camel asked his mother, “Why we have our feet so big like a cup? The horse feet are small and beautiful”. The mother replied, “As we are desert animals, we have to travel in the desert and so we have feet like a cup and we can run faster than the horses in the desert”. Again the baby camel asked the mother, “Why we have a cone like a projection on our backs, which looks ugly”? The mother camel replied, “As I said earlier, we should realize that we are desert animals. We will not find water so easily in the desert. Hence God has made the safety bag on our backs. We can save water in this bag in a short time when water is available. We can travel without water even for six months. Through this arrangement, we can save our lives in the desert. This gift is not given to any other animal in the world. Hence we must be thankful to God and be happy to be what we are!
It is true that happiness largely depends on our innate temperament and life’s circumstances. But at the same time, we can influence our happiness levels following certain strategies.
a) Gratitude: There are so many things going right in our lives, but we are blind to our fortunes until we are deprived of them. Whether it involves good health, steady jobs, a roof over our heads or a supportive family. We forget all these things and complain a small inconvenience and speak about always what is lacking in our lives. Yet, If we make a conscious effort to list five positives – every week, we may find ourselves with a growing sense of appreciation compounded by greater well being. In addition to feeling grateful, we may also express our thanks more consciously, more explicitly and more often. Such a disposition can make one more optimistic which results in greater resilience.
b) Realism: According to psychologist Martin Seligman, optimists tend to see negative situations or failure as temporary, local and external. Whereas pessimists view that their effects are permanent, pervasive and personal. But we should learn to be realistic so that they are less damaging to our well being.
c) Self Reflection: It is salubrious to human well being. But Lyubomirsky, a psychologist dissuades us from “Over Thinking”. Repeatedly regretting and ruminating negative situations and events is not conducive to our well being. When we attain a stage of obsessive thinking we need to distract ourselves and direct our attention towards more productive activities. There is also another danger of indulging in social comparisons. Instead of determining our worth, relative to others, we need to develop our “Own internal standards” basing on our ideals and goals. From these standards we should gauge our actions and achievements.
d) Acts of Kindness: We should engage on regular basis acts of kindness, without expecting a reward in return. For example, offering a seat in the metro to an elderly person, giving a gift to a cleaning staff, volunteering to do groceries for a neighbor who is invalid and assist others in different ways will boost our worth. These beneficent behaviors can galvanize others to act in pro social ways and thereby prompting a chain of positivity around us.
I wish you all a very happy Easter!
Most Rev. Dr. M. Devadass Ambrose
Bishop of Thanjavur