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Marta Adelsman Column: Happiness -- role or real?
9/8/2009 9:32:00 PM
By Marta Adelsman
"Hi, how are you?" People probably ask you this all the time. "Fine," you say. "I couldn't be better!" "Yeah, things are going great!" How often do you answer this way, even when you're feeling lousy and you perceive that everything is falling apart?
Everyone has a false self that invests in outer appearances. This false self often feigns happiness. It convinces you to cater to what you believe others expect to hear. It makes up that, if you let people really know how you feel, they'll back away. So you play a role.
What if you could really be happy, not just when life has served you lemonade, but even when all you have are lemons?
If a situation or circumstance makes you unhappy, you have three choices: change it, leave it, or accept it. To do any of the three, you must take responsibility for making yourself happy.
If you choose not to change or leave an unhappy situation, or if you have no control over it, then accept it. To do so, you drop your resistance toward "things as they are." What you resist persists, so resisting only keeps it in place. Acceptance opens the door to contentedness, which, in turn, can draw more positive circumstances.
When you become willing to accept what is, you let go of the role-play and invite true happiness into your life. In his book, "The Road Less Traveled," Dr. M. Scott Peck's opening line reads, "Life is difficult." He goes on to explain that, once you accept this as a fact, then life loses its difficultness.
Happiness hinges on how you perceive a situation rather than on the situation itself. How you think about it will, in most cases, actually create the emotions that you feel.
For example, if you focus on job losses and bank closures in this economic "downturn," then you create anxiety within yourself. If you choose instead to view the current situation as a time of change and transition, then you can look forward to the new, improved forms that can arise out of the present circumstances. These thoughts create for you feelings of hope.
Acceptance also requires letting go of seeking happiness. Seeking sets you up to experience unhappiness. If you constantly chase something that eludes you, you can never experience contentedness in this moment.
Happiness exists for you - here and now. Step into it. Choose it. Each morning when you get out of bed, wrap it around you like a comfortable, warm cloak. Keep it there all day. Love your life, choosing to believe that whatever shows up in it exists for your highest good.
Here's to your true happiness!
To contact Dr. Marta, write her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (928) 451-9482.
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