While some people manage
to retain their happiness, most of us are becoming more unhappy than happy.
Here are some suggestions to unlock our unhappiness and be happy derived from the
writings of Jonathan Lockwood Huie.
in life, we were taught the three "facts" that set the stage for a
lifetime of unhappiness, namely: "Life is scary," "Life is less scary if
we accumulate stuff," and
"We and everyone else must follow the rules." Those of us who accept
those "facts" without question, embark on a lifetime of what we call
the cycle of self-inflicted suffering.
The cycle of
self-inflicted suffering has four stages:
fear, neediness, and a sense of obligation
4. anger, resentment and blame
The cycle then loops back to
fear/neediness/obligation and continues throughout an unhappy
person's life unless the cycle is broken.
When we break the cycle of
self-inflicted suffering, we regain our happiness. But how do we
break the cycle? The only way to break the cycle is to consciously
reject one or more of the three false "facts" that we were taught.
Here are some paths for
breaking the cycle of self-inflicted suffering:
1. Confront fear of the
Our greatest fear is the fear of the unknown. It could also be
called fear of the future because the future is unknown. The way to
begin to reduce fear of the unknown is to confront that fear.
Acknowledge that you don't know what tomorrow may bring and that
causes fear. Once you have shown a light on fear of the unknown, you
can address that fear with courage and, if you believe in a Higher
Power, a faith and trust in ultimate goodness.
2. Question your feeds -
It is human nature to want more stuff and to hoard for a rainy day,
but happiness doesn't come from houses, cars, electronic gadgets, a
bank account or retirement fund. Make a list of everything you don't
have that you think you need. Make a list of everything that you do
have that you think you couldn't live without. Now cross out
everything on the first list and at least half the items on the
second list. Not only do you not need those things, most of them
create more unhappiness than happiness. Feeling needy is a big
source of unhappiness that can be eliminated through conscious
choice and a continued commitment to simplicity. Question your
non-material needs as well. Joyful relationships are wonderful, but
you don't need to be in relationship. If you are single, eliminate
the thought that something is lacking, and just live each day
3. Grant yourself
Most of us have spent a lifetime believing that we bear huge
obligations. Our parents heaped obligations upon us, then our
schools, our church, our community, our friends and family. Stop!
There is almost nothing you actually need to do. You truly do have
choices about what you do and what you don't do. Each time you begin
a thought with "I need to..." or "I have to...," pause and ask
yourself who is demanding that you do that thing and what the
consequences would be if you did something else instead. Make the
choices you want to make. Take actions from conscious choice and not
from fear or unthinking habit.
4. Grant freedom to others
- This is the flip-side of no.3. The sky has never opened up
with a great voice pronouncing how others should dress, speak, vote,
worship, spend their leisure time, manage their money, or raise
their kids. Your opinions of how others should behave are merely
your opinions and having the expectation that others should conform
to those opinions is a major cause of unhappiness. Live and let live
and you will be much happier for it.
playing: Make Me a Channel of Your Peace
is what we make it. Some people are unbelievably cheerful in the midst
of difficulty or obstacles; others bemoan the slightest inconvenience.
Those who look for the upside of any trouble are the ones who come out
ahead in quality of life. And the radiance of their positive attitude
sheds light on the paths of others. —Chloe