Its being almost 17 months since the World was introduced to arguably the most controversial, most humble, most people-oriented Pope ever. In a long interview with an old friend who was writing for an Argentine magazine (Clarin this week), The Pope put forward a 10-point plan for happiness. The list makes so much sense that I decided to share them with you including my comments on them.
1. Live and let live. Pope shocked the World and the Christian community when he embraced gays and said “Who am I to judge them”. Jesus echoed this message in Matthew 7:1 which reads “Judge not, unless you want to be judged yourself”. Our ear drums and mouths have been infiltrated with judgmental assertions of people. “She did this, he did they, they are this, they are that”. The Pope is trying to tell us to live our lives and let other lives theirs. According to him, everyone should be guided by this principle, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, “Move forward and let others do the same.”
2. Be giving of yourself to others. Do you get and withhold or do you get and disperse. Learn to invest your time and money into other people other than your family. People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water putrid (smells).”
3. Move quietly in the World. An early 20th-century Argentine writer, Ricardo Guiraldes, said in one of his books that in one’s youth, a person is “a rocky stream that runs over everything,” but as one gets older, one becomes “a running river, quietly peaceful.” The Pope is admonishing us to live like him, don’t be a nuisance to others, make peace everywhere you go, don’t make enemies.
4. A healthy sense of leisure. Parents get so preoccupied with the pursuit of wealth and power that they don’t have ample “me” and family time. Parents are being advised by the Pope to set aside time to play with their children. He also advises families to turn off their televisions at dinner time, because TV “doesn’t let you communicate” with family effectively about the things that really matter.
5. Sundays should be holidays. I always have the belief that Sundays is a day to bond with 2 families (church family and biological family) under one umbrella (God). We are in an era where people bond more with work, customers and their boss on Sundays leaving family and God. The Pope has the belief that working on Sundays negatively impacts families and friendships. According to The Pope, “Sunday is for family”, workers should have Sundays off.
6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop is a popular saying. When youths are not engaged positively, they are vulnerable to being engaged negatively. Which could be through cultism, armed robbery, fraudulent activities etc. Pope said that “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs” and be more vulnerable to suicide”.
7. Respect and take care of nature. A proper respect for nature means that you can’t pollute the air, poison the rivers and chop down the forests indiscriminately without suffering greatly. Environmental degradation “is one of the biggest challenges we have,” he said. “I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?’”
8. Stop being negative. I am a great advocate of positive thinking and attitude. When people see negatives, I see positives. When people see lack, I see opportunities. The only thing negativity does is to bring you down. Negativity has an elder brother called depression, and they are quite close. Leave the negative talk where it belongs, behind you. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, ‘I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,’” the Pope said. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”
9. Don’t proselytise; respect others’ beliefs. According to Wikipedia, Proselytism is the act of attempting to convert people to another religion or opinion. The pope is trying to say that we should respect others’ belief systems. If he’s muslim, respect his beliefs, don’t try telling him that his religion is not the true religion. ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you,’ No. The church grows by attraction, not proselytising,” the Pope said.
Let the love attract people, let your way of life attract people, let your results attract people. Stop proselytism.
10. Work for peace. We have this notion that only Law enforcement agencies and the Government can enforce peace in a country or region. Pope says that “We are living in a time of many wars,” and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive” and dynamic.
Pope Francis has in his usually unorthodox way given us his 10 hints for happiness and inner peace. Most tips if not all have one way or another brought me happiness and inner peace and I’m sure as you implement them, they will do the same for you.