The Truth of Happiness

Once upon a time there was a rabbit. He looked like a normal rabbit, at least from the outside. But that wasn’t the problem. Most rabbits, unless they suffer from some birth defect or disfiguring accident during their youth, generally grow up to look like any normal healthy rabbit. This rabbit felt differently thought. This rabbit didn’t feel like he really belonged with all the other rabbits. Whenever he saw other rabbits hopping around and digging up carrots, they seemed to do so without having any anxiety whatsoever.

Sometimes this rabbit didn’t know why he felt this way. His parents were normal, he had two brothers, and three sisters, they all seemed normal. But sometimes, when he laid in bed at night, he couldn’t help but wonder if he was deficient in some way. He never really looked forward to joining with any groups or speaking up when people were sitting around chatting. One thing that he really wished he could do, was to sing. He sometimes went to singing club after school, and he really enjoyed listening to the other rabbits sing, but he never really was brave enough to sing himself. So he had always been content just to listen.

Then one day a new rabbit moved into the neighborhood. He was a scruffy, black haired, crooked eared rabbit. And he also had a huge smile. When the rest of the rabbits saw him, they laughed and laughed, because he was so different than everybody else. But he never stopped smiling. Some even said that he was mentally deficient, because most rabbits would run home crying if they were teased like that. But not this rabbit. He would smile and laugh right along with all the other rabbits. His name was Harold.

One day Gilbert, the rabbit that this story is about, and Harold bumped into each other at recess. Harold had seen Gilbert around, and noticed that he was a little bit quiet. They introduced themselves, and got to talking.

“So I see you like going to the singing club, but you never sing. Why not?” Harold asked.

“I don’t like sing.”

“So why do you go to the club.”

“I like to listen to people sing.”

“But you don’t like to sing yourself?”

“Yea.”

“Hmm. Why not?”

“I don’t know.”

“What if you could sing, what then?”

“What do you mean what if I could sing?”

“Exactly, what if you could sing, and you knew that everybody was going to enjoy your singing, what then?”

“Well, then I’d like to sing.”

“What if you were a terrible singer, and everybody still enjoyed your singing, what then?”

“Well, I guess that’d be ok. But that’s impossible. If I were a terrible singer, nobody would enjoy listening to me.”

“You think so? Watch this!”

And with that Harold launched into the most horrible, off key, out of tune song in the history of rabbit hood. And Harold was taken by surprise, not because of the terribleness of the song, but because he was immediately surrounded by other rabbits. Laughing, smiling, cheering rabbits. All clapping in tune with Harold’s poorly timed musical number. When he finished, he looked at Gilbert.

“See?” he asked.

“No, I don’t.”

“Well, then, let me explain.”

“You see, most people think that people respond to the thing that you do. But that is not really true. People respond more to what you think about yourself as you are doing it. When you do something, people actually take their direction on how to respond from you. If you think you are doing something poorly, then other people will think that as well. If doing something makes you feel happy, truly happy, then other people will feel happy as well. The secret is to like yourself, and what you do, and everybody else will like you as well. Because feelings are contagious. Whatever you feel about yourself, other people will feel that about you too. Do you understand?”

“Yea, I think so.”

“So try it.”

“Huh? Try what?”

“Singing, of course!”

And Gilbert sang.

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