For decades I have heard adults and children voice variations on the following laments:
“I wonder what people will think when I . . .”
“If I do X, people will think I’m stupid.”
“How do I look in this?”
“I’m too fat.”
“I wish I had a different nose.”
“When I’m a star in the NBA . . .”
“If only I had X, I’d be happy.”
“If only I were married . . .”
“If only I were NOT married . . .”
“I’m so mad that he/she . . .”
“I’m so hurt that he/she/they . . .”
All these expressions are of profound unhappiness from a variety of causes, and rarely do we find solutions to them. Allow me to translate all the above into something shorter and simpler:
“I’m not happy with who I am. I worry constantly that people will disapprove of what I do or say. I need to be like other people—or, at the very least, do what other people like—to get their approval and be happy. I’m so hurt/angry/afraid when people treat me like XX.”
All this is a natural result of our not feeling sufficiently loved unconditionally, because without that love we are in pain and live in constant fear of disapproval and constant need for something to fill the emptiness.
But there is a short version of all that—a formula, if you like. We like things simple, so here it is:
- You be YOU.
- Let other people be THEM.
- You’ll be so much happier.
- The only thing you’ll ever be any good at is being you, but you won’t know who that is until you eliminate the emptiness and fear in your life with enough Real Love.
- You can’t change other people, so you might as well get rid of your resentment, jealousy, blaming, and all the other feelings you might have toward them.
- Enjoy the gifts you have, and you won’t feel empty. Be grateful for every morsel of love in your life, and you won’t feel afraid. Your life will be good.
If we learn these principles ourselves, we will be happy.
If we live these principles and teach them to our children, they will be happy too.
It’s not complicated.
Replace anger and confusion with peace and happiness.
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