Of Happiness and Complaints- Sunday, May 22, 2016
There’s no question that we live in a beautiful world and that life is full of reasons to be grateful and joyful. But unfortunately, we still manage to find things to complain about. It may be the weather, traffic, current events, the people around us—or anything in between. Yes, life can be a challenge at times, but there are better ways to face life’s challenges than complaining about them.
Years ago, a member of the board of trustees of a large university overheard some students grumbling about various aspects of college life. The advice he gave them was perhaps a bit surprising. He suggested “that they lay their books aside for a few hours, leave their rooms, and go visit someone who is old and lonely, or someone sick and discouraged. By and large,” he said, “I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves. . . . The most effective medicine for the sickness of self-pity is to lose ourselves in the service of others.”1
You’ve probably heard this counsel before, but it’s worth a reminder. While venting our frustrations may help us feel better for a moment, what really improves our outlook and enriches our lives is thinking of others. It’s simple, really, but simple things are not always easy.
For many years now, one woman has made it her practice to start her day by thinking about who might need her help. Who can she call? Who can she visit? Who might need a little sunshine? Somehow she can always think of someone; there’s no shortage of people to reach out to. Sometimes she offers nothing more than a listening ear; other times she brings small gifts or food, but always she gives a portion of herself—only to have it replenished for the next day’s giving!
Yes, there’s certainly a lot to complain about in life. But giving of ourselves not only shifts our focus away from our problems, it also allows us to make the world just a little more beautiful—even if it’s only in small ways. As the university leader wisely observed, “Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others.”2
-Lloyd D. Newell
1. Gordon B. Hinckley, “Whosoever Will Save His Life,” Ensign, Aug. 1982, 5.
2. Gordon B. Hinckley, “Whosoever Will Save His Life,” 5.
May 22, 2016
Broadcast Number 4,523
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Guide Me to Thee
Orson Pratt Huish; arr. Stephen Nelson
In Heavenly Love Abiding
Finnish melody; arr. Mack Wilberg
Down by the Salley Gardens
Irish melody; arr. Andrew Unsworth
Anjanette Mickelsen, GENTRI, & Stephen Nelson; arr. Stephen Nelson
Let There Be Peace on Earth
Sy Miller and Jill Jackson; arr. Michael Davis