A friend of mine is responsible for my search for the magic of happiness. I’ve known him about four years and he’s just plain unhappy with his life. I’m certainly not a shrink. He’s tried a few of them after trying a few suicides. Mostly they keep changing his medication and between his zombie states, they try to get him to talk in group therapy. They’ve changed his therapy groups a few times, too. Nothing seems to be working.
I’m the happiest guy I know and he might be the unhappiest. I began a quest to uncover steps to happiness. I started by asking lots of questions about finding happiness in my first post: HAPPINESS
I came to the conclusion that giving up stuff (baggage) is better than acquiring stuff, if one wants to be happy. The first five can be found at: Being Happy (part 2). Then the next five I wrote about in the preceding post: Being Happy (Part 3).
Now the tough stuff (for me) is the final five. I’m working on them every day.
11) Give Up Their Expectations
You know who they are. Parents, friends, teachers, government, media, enemies, they all think they know what’s best for you. You get so busy living up to their expectations that you lose control over your own life. Ugh. Never forget what makes YOU happy and fulfilled. Never forget what you need and want. I remember the radio shrink’s famous words, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” She’s right, there is only this life and we can’t let it slip away by letting other people’s opinions take us off our chosen path. Sometimes your path reaches a fork and you have two choices. Choose the one with heart.
12) Give up Criticizing
If you looked inside your mind and found that you were doing #3 (labeling) then you are probably real good at criticizing. It is a simple fact that people, things, and events are different than you might like. Yet, we are all the same, we just want to be happy. We just want to love and be loved. Most of the time we just want to be understood. When you feel a need to criticize, think of Archie Bunker’s single word: Stifle!
13) Give up Resisting Change
This is a tough one. We need to embrace change, not resist it. Sometimes the world seems to be moving and changing so fast we feel out of control. Change will help, not hinder improving our lives and especially the lives of those we live with. “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
― Lao Tzu
14) Give up Control
Sometimes they are co-workers, sometimes family and sometimes strangers on the street. Sometimes it’s an event or a situation you’re in. All of it…leave it be. Let it happen. Resist the urge to try to control everything and everybody. I’m talking to me. If you want to listen, fine. When I allow everybody to just be and do, I feel so much better. Maybe you will too. A great therapist from the ‘70s, Fritz Perls, branded his words on my mind and I’ve carried them for over 40 years. Whenever I feel the need to control I think of his words.
15) Give Up Needing To Be Right
I wish I had Wayne Dyer following me around so he could whisper in my ear his words every time I jump into an argument to “straighten” someone out. He could say to me, “Would you rather be right or would you rather be kind?” I can’t stand being wrong and yet I know its just not worth it to cause the stress and pain for myself and especially for others. I love my relationships and every time I jump on a statement or belief to get my “right” opinion expressed I risk damaging that valuable friendship. It’s just not worth it. I sincerely hope you don’t have as big a problem with this “Give Up” as I do. If so, let’s have lunch and argue about anything.
Are you happy?