One of the main goals for humanists is to lead a happy and fulfilling life. We don’t view this as a hedonistic goal. We know that by being happy, we improve the world around us in many ways.
How Humanists go about being happy is what makes all the difference. For a Humanist, happiness is the by-product of living an ethical life of personal fulfillment that aspires to the greater good of humanity.
Since ethical people improve the societies in which they live, let’s start with how leading an ethical life can help us become happier.
If you don’t like who you are as a person, you aren’t going to be happy. The best way to like yourself is to be an ethical person who is compassionate in all that you do. Not because you are worried about being caught if you don’t, but because being a good person makes you feel good about who you are.
Make a commitment to yourself to be the most ethical and compassionate person you can be. You will be happier and society will thank you.
The next part of the Humanist approach to happiness is to seek personal fulfillment by aspiring to the greater good of humanity. Working to improve the world for everyone is not only immensely satisfying, it also helps to make your life and the lives of others better. There is a tremendous amount of joy to be had in helping other people and just imagine what the world would be like if everyone had this as their goal.
The problem is that even if you do decide that you want to work altruistically for the benefit of others, finding the time isn’t easy. Even with the best intentions, most of us aren’t able to devote our entire lives to the service to others. In the real world we have to work to procure food and shelter. While it would be nice if we could all find employment we find personally fulfilling, in the current economy most of us don’t have the that sort of luxury.
Don’t let that stop you. Regardless of your circumstances it is possible to find the sort of personal fulfillment that comes when you are working to help others. Don’t just sit idly by and hope someone else will fix our problems. Volunteer. It doesn’t matter what cause you choose, just choose one you find interesting and care about.
What matters isn’t the specific cause, it’s that you’ve chosen to become an active and engaged citizen of the world. You will be happier and the world will be a better place. So go forth, be happy and help make others happy too.
Jennifer Hancock, is the author of the new book, the Humanist Approach to Happiness: Practical Wisdom. She can be found on the web at www.Jen-Hancock.com.