INSIDE THE OFFICE —
SECRETS ON HOW TO BE HAPPIER
Happiness is the result of looking at your life and finding out what works and what does not work. Ultimately, we have to come to the awareness that we must live in reality and accept reality in order to be happy. In essence, in order to be happier we have to quit fighting reality.
By "quit fighting reality" I don't mean that you can't change your reality. You can quit walking Barefoot in a snake farm. By "quit fighting reality" I simply mean that you can't walk barefoot in a snake farm and be happy—your feet won't allow it.
Here are further examples:
Fighting with your significant other will instantly make you overtly or quietly sad. This is an emotional fact.
Cocaine and pot and crack and heroin will either quickly or eventually make you very, very unhappy. It's a chemical fact.
Not following your dreams will slowly deaden you. Happiness and deadening do not go together. It's a spiritual fact.
Too much alcohol leads to inevitable stupidity. Stupidity does not lead to happiness. It's a smart fact.
Not having enough money is a real downer. It's an economic fact.
You can't fight facts. Facts are reality. If you fight reality, you will not be happy.
Ponder the following for a moment:
"The United States is spending 5 million dollars a second in Iraq." (exact fact from the Sunday New York Times, March 23).
"This is your hour and the power of darkness" (Jesus to Judas, when Judas betrayed him).
For your happiness, let me combine the above with two examples from your life. Let's go even deeper than we have already.
Let's imagine that you have a fight with your boss or significant other or teenager or friend. They are doing something for the thousandth time that is totally crazy and you think "We have a communication problem and I guess I'm not a good employee or partner or parent or friend." In other words, you take the blame. You feel guilty and incompetent and think you have a relationship problem because you can't get through to them.
Listen to this complexity. Have you considered that maybe your boss or partner or teenager or friend is quite, quite "off" and that you should think of them the way Jesus did when Judas betrayed him with a kiss? Jesus looked at him and said, "This is your hour and the power of darkness." I consider this to be one of the most sublime psychological moments in the history of humanity. Jesus did not say "We have a communication problem" or "We have a relationship problem" or "I just don't know how to get through to people." Jesus did not think that everything is always 50-50. Jesus saw his innocence and the other person's total guilt.
Perhaps you should consider that you might be innocent in your dealings. That means "He might be a whacko" and you have nothing to do with it. It's not a relationship problem or a communication problem. It's a crazy problem. That is, the person you are dealing with is, in this specific way, not fact-oriented, they are fighting reality, and that is not your fault.
Now, to be sure, you could be the problem. Maybe you are the one who is "off" and you could use my advice to your own destruction. Are there more people who take the blame who should not take the blame or more people who don't take the blame who should take the blame? It seems a toss-up.
Which of these do you think you are most of the time?
take the blame, don't deserve it.Al I know is that there are too many innocent people walking around taking the blame for people who refuse to look in the mirror. Do I need to go further than 5 million a second in Iraq?
take the blame, do deserve it
blame another who does deserve it
blame another unjustly.
I know we all need to look in the mirror. I know about systems (he pinched her, she kicked him) and feedback loops (he sulks, she gets irate) and vicious cycles (he drinks too much, they don't have sex, he drinks more). But there must also be a whole lot more awareness that there are tons of clueless people out there and that is not all your fault.
I consider Jesus' statement "This is your hour and the power of darkness" to be among the most happiness producing statements in the world. Why? Because you and I are not the beginning of allmisery and problems. X may not be your fault. We don't have to have the world's guilt and misery on our shoulders. We can become more self-defined and sharp and wide-awake as we assess situations. We can become crystal clear it-ain't-all-my-fault people. And we will be happier.
You come into my office and tell me that you have an anger problem, a lust problem, a fear problem, a money problem, a spouse problem, a can't handle my kid problem, a depression problem, a mood problem, or a "I don't know my dream" problem. Hopefully, you do not have all these problems or the thousand other problems that men and women are heir to.
But you look at me and I seem rather relaxed about your problem. Why is that? Is it because a professional therapist is detached and doesn't really care? No, I was taught that "Psychotherapy is in essence a cure through love" (Freud), so I don't believe in the detached, professional distancing tone. No, I'm relaxed because a) I have a great hunch that you can get better; b) you are not the only one with this problem.
We're all alike in one way or another…..there is no need to be endlessly ashamed. Instead, pull up your shirtsleeves and we'll get to work trying to find a new way for you to quit fighting reality. The world can be a difficult place, but we can make it better and happier if we look in the mirror and work on our own craziness and not take the blame for what is not ours.
The Weekly Dig
Join me in THE DIG for wisdom because "wisdom is the under-rated necessity for your life and the guardian of your success." Every week I dig the world for the riches of wisdom because I need wisdom—for myself, my psychotherapy clients and my motivational speaking. In THE DIG I will share the riches with you because I love finding thoughts, quotations, stories, parables and insights that will help you succeed and be happy.