I know this truth:
Every person, every event, every chance meeting, every book, and every encounter of any kind that happens in your daily life has the potential to open the way to a larger life.
Everything in life is linked, connected in some seen or unseen way. Everything takes you somewhere, and connects you with something more. The smallest act of kindness or of anger can affect another person's life in ways you may not be aware of, but what is most significant to understand is that your every act, every word, and your every thought affects your own life even more.
In this life, as we give, so we live. What we give is what we get: the kindness or meanness, the generosity or the withholding, the patience or the anger – whatever we set loose into the lifestream also returns to us in like kind. Not from the same person, place, or thing; it doesn't bounce back off some universal force-field and return to us like a ping-pong ball. Instead, everything we have put forth, circles through the universe and comes back to us as the same intention, but often in another form.
The Course In Miracles says "There are no accidents and no coincidences. Everything that happens in our lives, we have asked for and called forth ourselves." Now that we know this, we know that we have the essential power to control our lives. In so far as we become aware of and consciously choose what we put out there into the life-stream, we control what we receive in life. To a very large degree, we create the life around us by what we give to it. The catch is: we have to be awake in spirit and aware of what we are really giving. This sounds fairly easy on the surface of things, and it can be, but more often it is not so easy because the surface of things is illusion, is only a mirror of our own thoughts. What matters at the deeper level is our intention, that is, the attitude and spirit with which we give or don't give.
If we want our life to be happy and fruitful and meaningful (and of course, many of us will not) then it is important that we seek to know ourselves truly, and to be scrupulously honest about this; seek to know our real motives and emotions at the deep level within us where no one else can see, but the heart of us cannot lie, the truth about ourselves that we may not want to be revealed, even to ourselves.
But the self is the one, and really the only one but God, who needs to know. Because when we choose to change what we do not love in ourselves, the outer part of us always changes to reflect the inner truth. This is the way Life works, whether we are aware of it or not.
The secret to a joyful life is first to be aware of the deeper truth that is you. Be conscious. Decide you want to be, and then live even the littlest things in your life with the awareness that: This too matters; this too is connected to all the other lives in some way I can not see, and may never know, but I know it does matter. Not just what I do, but why and how I do it.
Decide, choose and commit to doing all that you do with an open and honest heart. When you make a mistake, first admit to yourself that it was a mistake. Recognize and acknowledge "I was not my best self in that moment," (in that act, or in that conversation.) And then forgive yourself. Affirm: "I can be better than this, because at heart I am better than this, and I will do better, starting now.
There will be times when you will cave-in to the emotions again. But again, take command of your being, take responsibility for your less-than-best words or actions. Correct them if you can, and whether you can correct them or not, apologize to the person or persons your mistake may have hurt. And whether they forgive you or not, forgive yourself, commit to your best self that is always there at the heart of you, and begin again.
Your life will change. Sometimes the changes are small at first, and life begins to bless you in little unexpected ways. But sometimes the change is enormous and seems miraculous, but remember, miracles are easy for God/Spirit/universe/the Life Force, and they are always ready and waiting to be called forth by a willing heart.
Do you want to see less war and more kindness in the world? Then be more kind in every simple contact and conversation in your small circle of this world. Your difficult family, your uncooperative coworkers or friends, your demanding and unappreciative boss. Notice these people being not their best self in this moment, and shift your own focus away from the automatic knee-jerk reaction. Instead, take charge of your own mind. Don't react (by focusing on what's wrong) instead make a conscious choice to respond in a way that would be better – in the way you wish the relationship could be. Practice this – even if you make a game of it, because if you do it, you will see things you cannot change start changing themselves, right before your eyes.
Gandhi said "be the change you want to see in the world." This works, and if you do this with honestly, a little bit of faith, and the sincere willingness to believe it just might work, I promise you, it will.