Diving into the topic of happiness

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By: Diane Feen Contributing Writer

If there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s the belief we should be happy. This concept started early on in civilization – the Declaration of Independence clearly states we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But are we really happy?

And, if not, how do we find happiness and maintain it?

Temple Beth El of Boca Raton wanted to explore that question and its fickle sense of fulfillment at a recent Happiness Shabbat. After the Friday night service there was a panel discussion with a life coach (Sophie Frabotta), the author of the book, “Happily After Always” (Michael Rosenblum)  and inventor, designer marketer and connector (Nicole Biscuiti).

Rabbi Jessica Mates chose each of these happy experts because they all exuded an aura of mastery over this elusive condition known as happiness.

As each of them tossed a few diamonds into the field of discovery we were traveling, it was our job to catch them. Rosenblum exuded a raw sense of joy and told us that gratitude is one of the key factors in finding happiness. “Gratitude is like magic it sustains us during the good times and the bad times.”

A close second, according to Rosenblum, is to find out who we really are and learn to trust, value and love ourselves.

Good advice – but how do we do that, you might ask. According to life coach Frabotta we need to know what we want and focus on that, not what we don’t want. “Find the thing that lights you up and turn that into your career – that becomes food for your soul.”

The moderator of the panel, Marshall Sklar seemed to find happiness and success quite young in life. He was adamant that he only does what makes him happy, and that you must surround yourself with successful people. “Problems are opportunities. Great leaders failed many times, but it’s a great tragedy not to try.”

Self-love seems to be an all-pervasive theme in the happiness scheme of things. Barb Schmidt, of Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life, is a local guru for finding inner peace and happiness. Her recent lecture on relationships was held at Boca Regional Hospital Dawson Theater.

Like Rosenblum, Schmidt spoke about self-love and how important it is to deepen your relationship with yourself in order to have healthy relationships. “We need to pay attention to the Red Flags and not ignore our intuition. It’s the Red Flags that can make us unhappy.”

Schmidt spoke about how a relationship she had for many years disappeared before her eyes. That wake-up call caused her to look carefully at the Red Flags – and to alert everyone to look for them so we don’t suffer the same disappointment. “If someone says mean things about people, that is a sign, if they don’t call you when things are going well for you, that’s another one.”

She also spoke about shared interests and how important it is to find people who align with your core values. “Join clubs or groups with people who like to do what you like to do. Be with people who inspire you and respect you. Choose people who chose you!”

Though relationships often come with challenges Schmidt did say we would not be able to survive without them. The good news, she said, is that how someone treats you is a reflection of them, not you. That upshot on this theory is a sound one – “Try not to take things personally.”

Good advice, but something that might take a lot of practice. But Schmidt did not dissuade us from meeting this challenge head on. “Know what your boundaries are and what you will put up with and what is non-negotiable. Then you can have compassion for others, but you don’t need to keep them in your life.”

She reminded us to be gentle with ourselves, honor ourselves and be kind. “When you are truthful, loving and kind, the right people will show up for us.”

That’s good to know.