I’m not Catholic, but I find Pope Francis to be an inspiring religious leader and a man I respect. I especially admire that he doesn’t just speak words of compassion and justice, but he lives out those words in his everyday life. He recently spoke about these 10 Tips To Happiness, which speak to people of all faiths or none:
1. Live and let live. The Pope made headlines when he replied to a question about rights for gay people,”Who am I to judge?” Happiness comes from letting people be who they are without condemnation or prejudice.
2. Give yourself to others. We are happiest when we are giving, not receiving, aren’t we? Being generous expands and deepens our spirits and connects us with others.
3 Move quietly in the world. Use prayer and meditation to center and balance yourself. Walk softly on the Earth.
4. Enjoy leisure. Avoid being seduced by consumerism. Be playful and take time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
5. Take Sunday (or a day of rest) to be with your family. As Michael J. Fox said, “Family is not an important thing. It is everything.”
6. Empower young people. Give youth opportunities for jobs and honest, simple work. How can anyone be happy or have self-respect if she or he is denied a job?
7. Care for the environment. Respect nature. Don’t waste the world’s precious resources. Preserve for future generations. As the Pope says, “Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?”
8. Let go of negative things. Don’t get stuck in the past with doubts, guilt, and regrets. Move on. Practice forgiveness as a way of letting go of grudges and anger. You will be happier.
9. Respect others opinions. Don’t push your religion on others by proselytizing. You will impress people more with compassionate acts than with preaching dogma.
10. Work for peace. The Pope repeats the words of Jesus by saying, “blessed are the peacemakers,” and he has worked hard for peace in the Mideast and other parts of the world. He calls on us to take the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount seriously, believing that peace can only be achieved through justice.
Do any of these particularly speak to you?