When I saw the breaking news about the MH17 crash, due to what can only be described as an act of evil, my heart sank and a lump in my throat left me speechless, as my eyes filled with tears for those who had lost a loved one. This was a senseless loss because even the people who committed the act of evil didn’t gain anything from it, except evoking more fear in a region they already control.
The images from such an unimaginable event are haunting to even the happiest person.
While my spiritual self believes that individual souls aren’t innately evil, I also believe that anyone can succumb to negativity and do acts of evil.
Of course, this isn’t the only news story that highlights acts of evil. We certainly don’t hear on the news, or know about, all evil acts, since many victims suffer in silence. The victims may be anyone from our neighbors to strangers on the other side of the world. The only common denominator about their personal stories is that, if we knew the details, chills would run down our spines and tears down our cheeks.
Those who personally experience evil acts live with emotional scars from events that most of us would find unfathomable. However, they alone must decide how these acts will define them. Just like we all must when we experience uncontrollable, yet common life-changing, unhappy experiences – such as health challenges, death, natural disasters, money woes, and heartache to name a few. However, the difference in these unhappy moments is that they usually don’t result from someone else’s pre-meditated act.
How should those of use not personally impacted by acts of evil respond? Be Happy Anyway.
I know it sounds simple, and perhaps callous. We need to honor our initial feelings for those impacted by acts of evil, but we cannot let the sadness, anger and fear these acts evoke define us. If we do, we give power to the people who commit these acts, and then they haunt our happiness because we are defined by negativity instead of positivity.
The reason I believe that it’s so important for people to recognize their happy moments is that happy people make a positive difference in the world. Happy people aren’t consciously hurting others, because it’s incongruent with being happy. Obviously, a happy person may need to defend themselves, but that’s vastly different from someone who hurts random strangers, and justifies it by calling it collateral damage.
There always has been, and always will be, a negative ripple effect from collateral damage. Forgiveness by those impacted is the only way to reverse this negative ripple into a positive one. But, for most in the initial aftermath of evil, that does not happen immediately. It’s something that, at best, happens over time, so in the initial wake of evil, the ripple of negativity usually continues.
I’m not certain any of us can say how we’d respond if something horrific happened to us, or those we love. But I know if more people acknowledged their happiness, the world would be better for it because fewer people would be stuck in negativity. Happy people believe we live in a world of abundance, and that there is enough for everyone. Happy people respect differences. Happy people believe we can live in harmony. Happy people unite on commonalities. Happy people don’t succumb to the fear of scarcity, but instead rise to the optimism of abundance.
It’s easier said than done, to be happy anyway. We’ll never eliminate unhappy moments, since some are just part of living. Can our happiness impact those who are so unhappy that fear defines them, and they commit acts of evil? The optimist in me wants to say yes, but that probably takes divine intervention. However, our happiness can inspire someone whose happiness is haunted by evil, and who is trying to rise above it instead of succumbing to the fear. The way we live our lives can inspire that person, and we can give them hope that happiness does happen.
The next time you hear of an act of evil, and you want to do something after your prayers, your tears, and your moments of anger: Be Happy Anyway. That way, your actions have the possibility of lifting the world one happy person at time.
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