GATEWAY TO HAPPINESS
4. A person who accepts upon himself the obligation to be happy and constantly strives to master this attribute is able to have a large degree of control. Many elevated masters have mastered happiness to such an extent that their faces glowed with happiness despite any personal difficulties and problems that they experienced.
Far too often we judge happiness according to outward appearances and
accustom ourselves and our children to overestimate the value of material acquisitions. Happiness is by no means determined by this kind of wealth. In fact, as such acquisitions become everyday needs, they lose their value. On the other hand, if they must one day be relinquished, our senses, which have become used to those superficialities, feel sorely deprived. No person should be rated according to the quantity of his material acquisitions or his status in society. (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch; From the Wisdom of Mishle, p. 144)
2. Complete happiness will not come to one’s soul through gratifying physical desires. The only way to achieve perfect happiness is to find spiritual fulfillment which leads to being satisfied with one’s material situation. (Mussar Hatorah,
Some people are under the impression that in our modern age we need new
concepts for obtaining happiness. But people do not change. There are constant changes in external conditions and environment, but the essential person, what makes him happy or sad, his desires and ambitions, basically remain the same. New techniques might be developed, but the scholars throughout the ages in their mussar (ethical) works have supplied us with the knowledge necessary for making ourselves happy. (Toras Hanefesh, p.11)
4. Happiness as an obligation does not mean that you should feel guilty if you are not happy. The first time you hear this concept you may not be able to demand happiness of yourself when you are sad. It is not feasible for most people to be constantly happy without ever feeling sad, nor is it always appropriate to be happy.
Happiness as an obligation means that whether or not you are happy in your life depends largely on yourself. You have the ability to master the thoughts and attitudes that will produce happiness.
5. While it is possible to choose self-statements and patterns of thought in a short time, for many people it takes a concerted effort over a long period of time before
HAPPINESS IS AN OBLIGATION