Pope Francis’ 10 tips for happiness: Be generous, spend Sundays with family, work for peace
In an interview with the Argentine weekly “Viva” the Pope drew on his own experience in life to come up with a humble anti-consumerist life style guide.
First on the list was the pontiff’s belief that we should live and let live; he used an Italian expression which has basically the same meaning which roughly translates as “move forward and let others do the same”.
People should be open and generous towards each other, “be giving to yourself and others” because “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid,” he said.
The Pope then said that people should “proceed calmly” through life, and used a character from Argentinian literature, Gaucho Don Segundo Sombra by Ricardo Guiraldes, who looks back at how he has lived his life.
A healthy sense of leisure is important and people should take Sundays off so they can be with their families, as well as turning off the TV during meals and setting aside time to play with their children. Consumerism has brought with it a sense of “anxiety”, he said.
With a nod to the problems faced by many young people in the world, the Pope said that we must find ways to create dignified jobs for young people. “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs” and then be at a greater risk of suicide.
We must take more care of nature and our environment and that its destruction “is one of the biggest challenges we have.”
He said that our relationship with nature is at the moment suicidal, “I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature.”
He urged people not to be negative. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means 'I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down'.” He added that is healthy to let go of negative thoughts quickly.
The Pope urged people to respect each other’s beliefs and not to try and convert others to our way of thinking.
“The worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyses: “I am talking with you in order to persuade you.” The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing,” he said.
Finally the Pope urged people to work hard for peace and interestingly he said that peace must be loud and make itself heard.
“The call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive,” he said.
Pope Francis was elected on 13 March 2013. He is known for his tolerance to towards people of other faiths and people whom the Catholic Church has traditionally shunned such as homosexuals.