Happiness is Gratitude for Safety

There might not be such thing as absolute safety, but our society isn’t constantly living in terror of the next attack. This we will (hopefully) never fully understand. Let us be grateful for that.

In a recent Daily Dose of Happiness I wrote:

SAFETY Having just read an article in Maclean’s called “Butchers and Monsters”, about how the Chinese government bullies the people in the territory it controls, I am reminded of how lucky I am to live where and when I do. I know most of our readers share that luck, but not all.It’s not just that this is a safe place, but also it is a safe time. Most people throughout history have had to live in the shadows of a bully ruler who could pretty much do whatever he chose with peasants in territory he controlled.  Most people throughout history have had to live in fear that a village or kingdom or principality nearby or farther away would invade, loot or otherwise destroy their village.Those of us with the good fortune to be living in times of peace in the land of people will never be able to truly understand how it is to live looking over your shoulder.  But let us be grateful that we will never truly understand. 

Run for your life!

This edition drew a number of interesting comments.  Some were political, such as whether Western media is reporting China with bias and opinions on illegal immigration, which are interesting topics but beside the point.  Others addressed the heart of the topic, essentially questioning the notion that we live in relatively fear-free times/place.  I would like to share a couple of them with you here.

You forget about those who live with sick and mean people. I look over my shoulder 24/7 where I live, for fear of being yelled at, evicted for the flip of a hat reason, chased down hallways… I’m 24 and going to school to better myself so I can leave. Sure, we live in a free country but not all of us live in a free home.

To which I replied…

That is true.  There is no escaping the various characteristics of individuals.  Still, consider that you can go to school.  In Afghanistan, women are still trying to get that simple right, and facing incalculable risks as a result, in many cases from within their own home, but also from death squads roaming the countryside hunting down women who dare to pose as humans.

Which resulted in…

Wow, well I guess you make a good point.. I have read about those women, and my heart breaks at the injustice of it. I do have a crappy home life, but it is true that I am not being killed for trying to better my situation — just put through the ringer in the process, is all. Thank you for the perspective.

Another response from a reader was this one.

Hello “The Happy Guy”I’m responding to your email because I really don’t believe in what you said below – that we here in Canada are all safe.  I think we tend to take that for granted.  I used to think that before 9/11 happened. The people who lost their lives during the 9/11 crisis thought they were safe too.  With our biggest ally at war right now, we never know who El-Qaida (sorry, I don’t know how to spell it) will hit next and how many people will die.

Yes, I agree that we are way better off than Chinese citizens and many other parts of the world, but are we truly safe?  Think about it. 

To which I replied…

There is no such thing as complete safety.  A comet could enter our atmosphere tomorrow and wipe out all life on earth.  The shock over 9/11 is testament to how safe we are, how we can sit back and relax and enjoy life without constant fear.  When something like this does happen, it’s such an aberration that, in addition to the sadness at the loss of life, there is a total shock that it could even happen here.  We really are blessed to be able to live day to day without much fear of being butchered, raped and pillaged, and that we can say pretty much whatever we wish and choose to do pretty much whatever we wish without being brutally assaulted by soldiers or guards for so-doing.

I hope this gives people some additional food for thought, as I believe appreciation is paramount for happiness.


  1. Here in the State of Washington, USA, my husband recently had a very negative experience with a highway patrolman. The experience left me feeling like we were living in a ‘police state’ based on the behavior and attitude of this patrolman.
    He presumed to know or think my husband wasn’t telling him the truth, copped a superior attitude and slapped him with a $1000.00 dollar citation – based solely on his intrepretation of my husbands actions and circumstance.

    Sigh. Doesn’t make me feel very safe in the good ole US of A.

  2. The real reason we are not safe is because so few people are willing to say the truth out loud. So many people are scared of what will happen. I feel sorry for those of you who still believe the propaganda that is telling you who was responsible for the 9/11 tragedy. It is beyond many to think the inconceivable could be true – that the US government did it to their own people so that they could then claim justification when they attacked people who control the oil and gas in the Middle East.

    The reason we are not safe is because the truth is being buried and no one is doing anything about it. How much more is everyone going to take?

    To the person about living in an unsafe home – you don’t have to live there. There are many options for you – I left an abusive situation and yes, it’s hard. There are countless reasons to stay and no one can understand why a person does. But by staying you are sending a message that you will take the treatment you are getting. There are options and you are worthy of respect – so start with respecting yourself enough to say ‘no, I will not take this’ and leave the situation that is abusing you.

    We can all find reasons to disagree, but what about the art of agreeing to disagree? And what about trying to be open enough to hearing someone else’s point of view even if it differs from our own? We must start having the important discussions to change this world before everyone’s freedom is taken away because we worship money more than love or people. We are all responsible for the state of the world.

    I recently saw an email about the reason why gas was so expensive – so that the folks in Dubai could have an indoor ski area in the middle of the desert. Um, do you drive a car? Have you ever car-pooled? Taken mass transit instead? Walked or biked when you could have driven? Used other things besides oil products? Denied using plastics? Not used gas one day of the week, or one day ever? on purpose? We are all responsible. When are we going to take accountability for our own voice to stand together against those who are telling us a certain truth that is false? How much more are we going to ‘believe’ before we do something about it?

    Knowing our own purpose in life will lead us to be able to extend outside ourselves. It seems that the Happy Guy is doing that – caring enough to help others be happier. I applaud you for that. I find it hard to believe that you would receive any flack for posting something about being safe in Canada in comparison to the lives others lead. Canada does not know what it feels like to be invaded or taken over as so many of the world’s countries do. The saddest part of all is that the US is really taking over and invading our beliefs and way of life, and we are not doing a thing to stop it.

    I should stop writing. Thank you for reading if you have.

    with love

  3. I believe few peopleut will deny that war is about the worst threat against safety, and it is so sad that prejudice and hiding from truth (always by the governments, for good or bad sakes) in many times lead & mislead people to go on that path.

    Like the recent Tibet case. I can’t really believe that there are so many one-sided and biased reports of the major Western presses. Indeed, there have been foreign visitors witnessing the start of the unrest, where in many cases the Tibetan monks themselves initiated to set fire and attack the civilized people. Some civilians were even fired to death. They just refuse to accept that and turn their camera on the Police or other things. Some news agencies are even found to use fake pictures (like one US agency uses pictures showing Indian polices and faking that there were Chinese crackdown the protestors & another German agency used another picture which actually showed Napel foces instead). Being a person of good conscience, I feel so sad. Even if we want to do something in good intention, we can’t allow the ends to justify the means, right?

    Just like the Olympic torch run, has anone known that during the relay in Paris, even a handicapped torch carrier (a girl on wheelchair) was being attacked by the protestors to try grasping the torch out? I try searching all major Western presses but none mentioned or held a picture of that. (I can only find it from non-Western presses). Just imagine if the position is exchanged where the handicapped person is a Western lady, what will be the result? Has the Western media become now the dictator by itself, or acting for the will of the governments just like when in the Nazi era (also just look at what CNN does during Iraq war)?

    Besides, have those shouting loud support to the Tibet Indepence known the history of Tibet, and what system they (I mean the monks, and Dalia Lama) want to restore? Indeed, I can bet few have tried looked over that in libary or other sources of information. Tibet has actually been a part of China for hundreds of years of time, and it was only during the cold-war era that US CIA (being afraid of the Soviet control as China that time is very close to it) supported/agitated the Tibetans to rebel against Chinse rule. After it failed, then Dalia Lama and hsi followeres fled to India under the support and subsidy of CIA (even now!). I know we are supposed to believe that the vast majority of the Chinese people are groaning under the weight of Commie oppression and sympathize (albeit silently) with the downtrodden Tibetans, but that is hardly the case (just see the recent demonstrations by Chinese all over the world, you can’t see it? once again, check with your local major news agencies/presses).

    After all, what if Chinese government leaders constantly reminded the world that the American Southwest was stolen from Mexico? Imagine the Chinese and Mexican ambassadors to the U.S. demanding independence, for, say, California – or better yet, its return to Mexican sovereignty! Shall the Olympics be forever barred from Puerto Rico, which was forcibly incorporated into the U.S. “commonwealth” in the invasion of 1898?

    Also, do they know it is the Chinese government abolished the slavery and Tibetan serdoms and those are exactly what Dalia Lama wants to restore? How come there is completely different treatment when we talk about Afghanistan, where media like CNN always emphazies the terrribe things of the old system, where now the brave US help to abolish?

    And even worse is the racism. Has anyone entered Youtube and see hwo that senior broadcaster of CNN described about Chinese during his programme? This is simply racism and I can only hear very very few voices in the Western world condemn on it. WHy? How if that case turns against Canadians (like someone saying Canadians are mobs, or stupid, etc. openly and publicly during a wide-broadcased programme)?

    I am at a loss, sad …. The world has become much more dangerous, and people doing it are always saying that we are doing for “justice” ……

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