When Adar Arrives, Increase Your Joy. The sages have taught us this timeless mitzvah over the last few millennia. It sounds like a pretty simple mitzvah to perform. Just be happy and joyous. As with most meaningful things in life, internalizing happiness and joy in life can be quite challenging. Most people are mistaken to think that happiness is reserved for the folks with no problems and stress in life. In fact, the people that are happy and grateful must choose to be of that, and people that are miserable must choose to internalize the misery. This is not to discount the genuine hardship and sometimes tragic events that individuals encounter but whether someone will be in a state of perpetual happiness or misery is their choice. I have been speaking for a while about the need to be grateful and how that is a catalyst to joy. In the same vein, I came across an article “Six Simple Strategies for Achieving Misery” by Dr. Sol Herzig which articulates this well. These are his thoughts:
1. Cling to Entitlement: Always feel entitled, that life owes you, that you were born to receive. Always look for the injustice in others having something that you do not, and do not agree to any concession or compromise.
2. It’s all personal: Always assume that everything was done with evil intentions. Always try to find malicious intent and seize every opportunity to see it as conclusive proof that you do not matter to others.
3. Focus on Problems: Keep careful track of all your problems and continually review them. Nurture the attitude that you can’t move on to anything unless everything is resolved first.
4. Magnify Everything: Do not cheat yourself out of misery by maintaining perspective. Try to cultivate negative thinking in respect to every mistake or mishap and magnify it, without allowing for regret or forgiveness.
5. Expect Catastrophe: It’s important to remember that terrible, horrible things might happen any minute, and to let your imagination run wild. Diseases, disasters, terror attacks – don’t let anything surprise you. Be alert.
6. Just say “No thanks” to gratitude: Take everything you’ve received in life as a given, without thanking those who caused it. Try to focus on what you don’t have rather than what you do have.
There’s a powerful idiom from the Talmud: From the negative, the positive can be implied. The choice to be happy or miserable belongs to every one of us. Let’s choose wisely.
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