Some Quotations That Started Me Thinking About Happiness.

When I started thinking about happiness, several quotations made a special impression:

“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer somebody else up.” Mark Twain

“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.” Robert Louis Stevenson (I ended up using this quotation as an epigraph to The Happiness Project.)

“Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

“Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.” Simone Weil

“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” Colette

“It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.” G.K. Chesterton (This is true on so many levels.)

“A man’s first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart.” Joseph Addison

“Order is Heaven’s first law.” Alexander Pope

How about you? Do you have a favorite quote, one that has shaped your thinking?

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  • BuzzsHoney

    Don’t cry because it is over. Smile because it happened. – Dr. Seuss

  • Steven S

    The quotation from Luke 10 is great, but out of context I think its full meaning is lost. Mary is commended for choosing “the good part” because she sought to know Jesus–to be still, to sit at his feet, and to learn from him. Knowing Him is the source of all true happiness.

    Augustine put it well in his Confessions: “Without exception we all long for happiness…all agree that they want to be happy…They may all search for it in different ways, but all try their hardest to reach the same goal, that is, joy.” But apart from God, all other ways we search for happiness leave us longing for more…
    “In your presence is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forever more.” Psalm 16:11

  • Carol

    I wake up every morning determined both to change the world and have a hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult 🙂

  • mathilde

    Only recently discovered this : there are two ways to spread light, to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
    I love it because I truly wish to be the candle at all times but it can be a lot of pressure and it’s not realistic. So instead of trying so hard to be the candle, you can also be the mirror. Just let the candle shine and enjoy it’s light and warmth.
    What I also love is a qoute on my son’s birth card ennoucement. Love and light are the only things that multiply if you share it.

  • Erin

    “If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” – Margaret Atwood

  • Trisha

    No one and nothing outside yourself can make you unhappy, only your own thoughts. I learnt that going through Cognitive Therapy (the original form, not CBT) with Prof Gilliam Butler at Oxford University when I suffered from severe depression after losing three babies in a row during my thirties (I am now in early sixties). No other therapies worked for me, but as a questioner, I could see and understand and read about this therapy and test the validity of it. Her books remain by me daily and did so through all my later studies as a mature student and into academic life myself. Not bad for a girl born into working class life, council house, low expectations of the 1950s.