Pope Francis believes it is important that people don’t try to convert others to their religion.
The unexpected opinion from the Pontiff was part of his 10 steps to happiness which he says will help people lead a more fulfilled life.
He gave his advice in an interview with ‘Viva’ – a magazine in his native Argentina.
Here are the Pope’s ten steps to happiness:
1 – Live and let live – is the English expression. The Pope used the equivalent Italian expression which roughly translates to: “Move forward and let others do the same.”
2 – Be giving of yourself to others – Being generous is important to your own wellbeing as well as that of others. The Pope said: “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”
3 – Be kind, humble, and calm – the Pope used gaucho Don Segundo Sombra, a character from an Argentine novel, as an example.
4 – Have a healthy sense of leisure – This includes taking time to enjoy life and turning the TV off during meal times with family. The Pope said: “consumerism has brought us anxiety”.
5 Spend Sundays with family– We shouldn’t work on Sunday as it should be kept free for family, according to Pope Francis.
6 – Find dignified work for young people – It will benefit society as a whole if young people are happy. The Pope said: “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs.” He added that they would also be more vulnerable to suicide.
7 – Care for and respect nature – The Pope sees the destruction of our planet as a great challenge to our happiness. 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?’”
8 – Let go of the negative – Pope Francis says people would be happier if they stop looking for faults in others. He said: “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.’ Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”
9 – Respect the beliefs of others – We shouldn’t talk to others if our only motivation is to convert them to our own religion. The Pope said: “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyses: ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you,’ No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytising.”
10 – Promote peace – The Pope said: “We are living in a time of many wars. The call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive.”