Pope Francis has issued his top ten tips for a happy life. His advice includes turning off your television, not converting people to your religion and spending Sundays with family.
In an interview published in part in the Argentine weekly ‘Viva’ July 27, the unconventional pontiff, listed his lifestyle guide.
Highlights include ‘Even though many parents work long hours, they must set aside time to play with their children; work schedules make it ‘complicated, but you must do it,’ according to a Catholic News Service translation of the interview.
Pope Francis also says ‘Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem’ and warns that if young people ‘have no opportunities they will get into drugs’.
As well as calling for people to be generous, he also urges the respect of each other’s beliefs. Although his advice that Sunday should always be a holiday because ‘Sunday is for family,’ may not sit so well with shift workers who are required to work weekends.
For some of the tips he drew on his personal experiences – the pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist looks back on how he lived his life, reported the website.
The keys to a happy life by pope francis
- ‘Live and let live.’ Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, ‘Move forward and let others do the same.’
- Generosity. ‘Be giving of yourself to others.’ ‘If you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.’
- ‘Proceed calmly’ in life. The pope used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist — gaucho Don Segundo Sombra – looks back on how he lived his life. ‘He says that in his youth he was a stream full of rocks that he carried with him; as an adult, a rushing river; and in old age, he was still moving, but slowly, like a pool’ of water, the pope said. He said he likes this latter image of a pool of water – to have ‘the ability to move with kindness and humility, a calmness in life.’
- Leisure. ‘The pleasures of art, literature and playing together with children have been lost, he said. He suggests families must also turn off the TV when they sit down to eat – having it on during mealtime ‘doesn’t let you communicate’ with each other.
- Sundays. These should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because ‘Sunday is for family,’ he said.
- Young people. Find innovative 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 be more vulnerable to suicide, he said.’It’s not enough to give them food,’ he said. ‘Dignity is given to you when you can bring food home’ from one’s own labor.
- Respect nature. Environmental ruination ‘is one of the biggest challenges we have,’ he said. ‘I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?”
- Positivity. ‘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,” the pope said. ‘Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.’
- Respect others’ beliefs. ‘We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you,’ No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity.’
- Peace. ‘We are living in a time of many wars,’ he said, and ‘the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive’ and dynamic.
Pope Francis gave the lengthy interview to commemorate his first 500 days as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. He is determined to visit as much of the world as he can and this week the Vatican has confirmed the dates for his second trip to Asia, a weeklong visit January 12-19 to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
Pope Francis had already announced his intention to visit Sri Lanka and meet with victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed some 6,300 people, left another 1,060 missing and devastated parts of the central Philippines last year.
The Vatican press office said Tuesday that he would visit Sri Lanka January 12-15, and spend the remainder of the trip in the Philippines. The full program will be released later.
Pope Francis will become the first pope in nearly two decades to visit the Far East when he travels to South Korea Aug. 14-18. He has said he wants to visit Asia since Pope Benedict XVI never got there.