Christmas is a time to remember that we are not alone in this world, that our actions have repercussions beyond ourselves and that each of us has a role to play in blessing the lives of others. Most people in the United States generally feel pretty happy, but according to the Center for Disease Control, 40 percent of Americans don’t feel a deep sense of purpose.
According to one recent study, Some Key Differences between a Happy Life and a Meaningful Life, while being happy and finding meaning in life overlap somewhat, there are significant differences. One that stands out is that “Happiness was linked to being a taker rather than a giver, whereas meaningfulness went with being a giver rather than a taker.” The authors of the study point out that those with more meaningful lives experience higher levels of stress and worry, even while feeling a greater sense of purpose.
Through our work here in the legislature, we have seen the sacrifices of many of our fellow-citizens, from the teachers in our schools to the policemen on our streets, to the parents in their homes, raising children with love and patience.
This Christmastime, as we reflect on the past year, may we each ask ourselves what it is we’re doing to build not only a happy life but a more meaningful life – for ourselves as well as for those around us.