Tim and I watched this documentary on Netflix last night. It was excellent.
(Except for the part with the inexplicably sweaty Church camp revivalist motivational speaker. You'll know when you get there.)
We had it recommended to us by some good friends, and it did not disappoint. If you haven't watched it yet, you should.
Go do it RIGHT NOW.
Something that struck me the most about all of the people in the film: they were happy in service. They thought a little more about others and a little less about themselves and their problems. They saw how they fit in the universe as a part of a whole, not as someone who is amazing on their own merit.
It is also shocking to step back and see how caught up we get in material things that just don't matter. Don't get me wrong, I am the first to admit that my iPhone is always in my hand, and I am pretty sure I would die without access to the internet. But there should be a balance to these things. Technology, more often than not, isolates us instead of bringing us closer together. I'm not talking about keeping in touch with people, I'm talking about really connecting with someone--looking in their eyes, feeling empathy for them, and trying to understand their struggles. Sitting by them and holding their hand. Giving them a hug, or rubbing their back. Celebrating with their successes, and sorrowing with them in their grief.
This modern world, in which we have everything, is ironically the cause of why most of us feel we have nothing. It makes me think of this phrase: comparison is the thief of joy.
I fall into that trap way too often. If only I was skinnier like so-and-so; if only I dressed as cool as her; if only I had this talent; if only, if only, if only--then, I would be truly happy. But I don't think that is true. I think that's a lie we tell ourselves. More than likely, the feeling would be a fleeting happiness based on something that could never bring you lasting happiness and true peace.
Turning outward and helping others is the cure for those restless feelings of inadequacy and constant comparisons. I loved the idea in the documentary that doing so reminds you of what you do have, and what you can give to others who have less. Serving others reminds us to constantly be grateful for what we have been given.
Most of all, I loved how I could see how easily this fit into LDS doctrine. How many times have we heard the prophets tell us that charity, compassion, and selflessness should be the center of our focus? That service gives us true happiness, and leads to charity?
"When you are filled with charity, you obey God's commandments and do all you can to serve others...you will avoid judging others, criticizing them, or saying negative things about them. You will be patient with them and try to help them when they are struggling or discouraged. Charity, like faith, leads to action. You will develop charity as you look for opportunities to serve others and give of yourself."
From Preach My Gospel, a manual for LDS missionaries
Some good thoughts. Seriously, go watch it.
Also, as I pointed out to Tim, all of the happiest people had gardens. There MUST be a correlation.
I neeeeeeeed a garden.