The Happiness Thieves

By Desmond Yeoh SC

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach

There are thieves who are always with us and are constantly stealing from us our joy and happiness. Sometimes we manage to protect our happiness from these thieves but often times our happiness are stolen from us.

To defend ourselves against these thieves, we must be able to recognised them whenever they appear. These thieves are our expectations of how things or other people should be.

Humanity is cursed with the tendency to focus on the one thing that is wrong and ignore the nine other things that are right. One whose mind is able to focus on the nine things that are right all the time; and see the one thing which appears wrong as a hidden blessing; will be free from these happiness thieves.

Young children are naturally happy because they have few expectations. However, as they grow up, they develop more and more expectations of how the world should be; and lose the innate joyfulness. People with critical parents tend to grow up with higher expectations of themselves and the world. That is because the expectations imposed on them by their parents are conditioned into them, thus becoming part of their mental formations or perceptions of the world. These expectations become like discriminatory spectacles they are forced to wear which allow them to only see things which are wrong (from their point of view).

Self-understanding and the willingness to accept our erroneous ways are critical elements to get rid of these happiness thieves. They are numerous but we can, over time, understand each and every one of them and remove them from our life.

The most powerful weapon to use is the understanding that everything happens for a reason and are actually hidden blessings. Every event contributes to our spiritual evolution. We can just look back on our own life to see that the apparently negative past events had also brought some good things. Some people who lost their jobs went on to start successful businesses in the fields they love. Some went through some critical illnesses to eventually discover the true meaning of life. Blessings are in abundance but we often fail to recognise them.


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