Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Happiness

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month Theodore RooseveltPersonal Responsibility is Crucial for Happiness-Maximization

As those who have embarked on the quest for happiness know quite well, a crucial milestone on the path involves taking personal responsibility. Taking personal responsibility means not blaming others for your unhappiness. It means figuring out ways in which you can be happy despite others’ (negative) behaviors and despite the external circumstances. A person who has taken personal responsibility recognizes an all-important truth about happiness: your happiness depends much more on your attitude than it does on objective, external circumstances.

Does this mean that one can be happy no matter what the external circumstances? Can one be happy despite intense physical or psychological pain?

This is the question many of my students ask when I talk of taking personal responsibility for happiness.

Theoretically, it is possible to be happy no matter what the external circumstance. How? Because one’s emotional state is a function of how one interprets events, rather than what actually happened, as reflected in Milton’s famous saying, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” Findings from cognitive theories of affect support Milton’s saying. Generally speaking, our happiness–in fact, any emotional state, including a negative one–is generated by interpretations of events, as I elaborated in another post. When we interpret our negative boss as an obstacle, for example, we feel angry and frustrated; if, in contrast, we view our boss as “exactly what we need in order to become a better person,” we experience a sense of calmness, perhaps even gratitude.

Of course, most of us do not believe that we can be happy no matter what the external circumstance. When confronted with the idea that happiness is ultimately in the mind, many of us immediately entertain extreme examples that falsify the theory: could we be happy even if we break a bone or lose our job?

To me, those are the wrong questions to ask. The right question to ask is whether we can be happy given the types of negative events that routinely occur in our lives. In other words, rather than ask yourself if you can be happy even in extremely negative circumstances, ask yourself whether you can be happy in the more moderate circumstances in which you find yourself on a day-to-day basis. Can you, for example, entertain the possibility of being happy despite the fact that it’s raining outside? Can you be happy if a meeting with your client did not go as well as you would have liked?

Why is asking yourself whether you can be happy in extremely (vs. moderately) negative circumstances the wrong question? Because, by asking such a question, you undermine the confidence you need to develop the ability to be happy under all circumstances. Just as a child cannot imagine being as physically strong as an adult, those of us who haven’t developed the ability to interpret moderately negative events in a happiness-enhancing fashion cannot imagine being happy in extremely negative circumstances.

It is useful to think of the ability to control your emotional responses to events as a muscle; just as your biceps become stronger only when you exercise them using the appropriate weights–weights that are neither too light nor too heavy–, your ability to control your emotional response to events gains strength only when you take on challenges that are commensurate with your current ability. If you are currently someone who lets relatively minor events–like an encounter with a rude waitress–spoil your mood, how can you expect to maintain your happiness when a more extreme event–like a week long visit from a unpleasant relative–unfolds?

The point is: just because you currently lack the ability to maintain emotional positivity in the face of extremely negative events doesn’t mean that the theory–that the key to your happiness ultimately lies in your hands–is false. Rather, what it means is that you don’t, at present, possess sufficient control over your mind to feel happy regardless of the circumstances. You may ultimately desire to be like Gandhi or Jesus–who were remarkable in their ability to maintain good cheer even in the face of extreme adversity–but you can’t get there by biting off more than you can chew right now.

This brings me to an interesting irony about taking personal responsibility. Seeking mental control, it might appear at first blush, is similar to seeking control over others or over the circumstances. Quite the contrary! If anything, your ability to control your own mind is diminished by seeking to control others and the circumstances. Indeed, a critical element in developing mental control is a willingness to accept whatever outcomes you are dealt. If you cannot fully accept your outcomes–including, for example, the presence of a toxic boss, or poor health–you will not be able to interpret these outcomes in a positive light, and hence, you cannot be happy.

So, taking personal responsibility for your happiness involves, ultimately, adopting a “surrender mindset”–which refers to the willingness to fully and unquestioningly accept the outcomes you are dealt in life.

But how does one develop the surrender mindset?

Before answering this question, let me briefly discuss a commonly held misconception about the surrender mindset. Surrendering isn’t the same as capitulating. In other words, a person with a surrender mindset is not a weak, rudderless individual who has “checked out” from this world; rather, he is someone who, like the rest of us, has desires and goals and pursues them. However, whereas the rest of us cling to our desires with feverish desperation, a person with the surrender mindset does not. Thus, a person with the surrender mindset may dream of breaking the world record in the 100-meter dash, but if he were to discover a physical condition that prevents him from achieving this dream, he will be able to discard his dream, and move on to other goals without hesitation.

In other words, a person with the surrender mindset is like the rest of us in many ways, but only until the moment the outcomes unfold. Whereas the rest of us ruminate and moan when our favored outcomes don’t unfold, the person with a surrender mindset is able to move on, emotionally unscathed.

Let me now return to the question I had raised earlier: How does one develop the surrender mindset?

The most effective way to develop the mindset is one that those with a scientific orientation will likely find unappealing: it involves faith in a larger intelligence or force. Specifically, those who believe that there is force larger than oneself, and that this force is benign, will find it easier to surrender. The reason for this is straightforward: if you believe that the Universe is shaped by a force more powerful than you, and that this force has your best interests at heart, then you will find it much easier to make peace with the outcomes you are dealt. Even if you are unable to see how an outcome is beneficial for you in the moment, you will at least be willing to look for ways in which it opens new doors and opportunities. In contrast, if you are convinced that the outcome you have been dealt is bad for you, you are more likely to ruminate about the past than to move forward.

Ultimately then, surrendering has to do with trust. Just as trusting the people with whom you interact on a day-to-day basis is indispensable for being happy, so it seems that trusting that the Universe is taking care of you is crucial for being happy too.

This may be one reason why findings repeatedly show that religious people are, on average, significantly happier. Developing the surrender mindset, however, doesn’t mean you need to become religious. One can entertain the belief in a benign (rather than malign or indifferent) Universe without subscribing to any other religious tenet.

So, the logical thing to do, if you want to take personal responsibility for your own happiness, is to do something that might sound illogical: to have faith and adopt the surrender mindset.

Isn’t that wonderful?

Today’s article was written by Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D. and is shared from the following website: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sapient-nature/201112/taking-personal-responsibility-your-happiness

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5 Ways to Spot the Miracles in Your Life

Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people 1 Chronicles 16:34

Miracles can brighten your day, comfort your soul and strengthen your faith. Learn how to see them everywhere.

I have been thinking a lot about miracles lately. Miracles are big, some are small and I think most might even go unnoticed. Miracles can brighten your day, comfort your soul and strengthen your faith. The best part is there are already miracles in your life. Here’s how to spot them. Slow down

You are busy. I am busy. Everyone is busy. Some people bask in the glorification of busy. Technology, work, activities, competition—all these things can overwhelm your life. Stop. If even for a moment, just stop. Two words that pierce my soul every time I hear or read them are: Be still. I have these two words plastered around my workspace, my home, and even my phone. Be present. Surround yourself with your family. Surround yourself with the moments miracles are made of.

Spot tender mercies

David Bednar said, “Tender mercies of the Lord are real and … do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence.” What is a tender mercy? Bednar describes them as personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support and spiritual gifts. Knowing these tender mercies are sent to us personally is a miracle in itself. See how many tender mercies you can recognize today.

Believe to see

I was recently watching a classic movie, Charlotte’s Web, with my daughter, and one part really stood out to me. Fern’s mother asks the question, “Do you understand how there could be writing in a spider’s web?” And the doctor simply replies, “Oh no, I don’t understand it. But for that matter, I don’t understand how a spider learned to spin a web in the first place. When the words appeared everyone said they were a miracle. But nobody pointed out that the web itself is a miracle.”

How many miracles are already present in our lives, every day? Miracles aren’t just events like the parting of the Red Sea. They include simple moments like a baby’s first smile or the beauty of the earth. Miracles should inspire not only awe but also gratitude.

Be grateful and prayerful

Speaking of gratitude, I believe this is an essential attribute to recognizing miracles. Practicing thankfulness, paired with prayer, makes it almost impossible to not see the miracles that bless your life. Say a prayer of gratitude. You might be surprised at the miracles already there, ones you just may not have noticed. A prayer of gratitude is often the answer you need.

Write it down

Many people have a gratitude journal or something of the like. Mine is called a tender mercy journal. I don’t write in it every day. But when I’m feeling disconnected or in extra need of God’s love, I’ll commit to writing down every tender mercy I see in a day, a week or so on. I find that when I’m purposely looking for them, they are more easily found. And when they are written down, they are not easily forgotten.

Everyone experiences miracles. They are already happening in your life. You just need to know how and where to look. Instead of trying to over-analyze everything, try recognizing things as miracles. Big or small, each one is significant and meant just for you.

This article was written by Becky Squire. Becky is a wife and mother of 4. She enjoys music, running, and baking. Becky blogs at Make Mine Happy.

Website: http://makeminehappy.com

This article was shared from the following website: https://www.famifi.com/22794/5-ways-to-spot-the-miracles-in-your-life

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5 Ways to Give Everyday & Attract Abundance

If you want love and abundance in your life, give it away Mark Twain

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Kahlil Gibran

What is the quickest and most effective way to achieve abundant prosperity? The answer is that to receive more abundance in our lives, we must give freely out of pure love and generosity, without expectation or the desire for recognition. Giving and receiving are the exchanges of energies, two parts of the whole, and they must exist equally for the maintenance of energetic balance. Abundance is your birthright, and it is perfectly acceptable to expect prosperity in all of its forms.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word “abundance?” For many individuals, “abundance” is directly related to material goods, often money, and the act of giving calls forth similar images of material gifts or monetary donations. But what if I told you that giving does not require money and abundance is not confined to material possessions but rather includes those components as pieces of the prosperity pie?

Each one of us has many different gifts to offer, and during these difficult economic times, it is understandable if those gifts are more of services rather than goods. When you come from a place of generosity and abundance rather than a place of poverty and lack, the possibilities for giving and receiving are endless.

Below are five ways to give non-monetarily so that you can create more abundance in your life.

1. Say a Silent Prayer – As you go through your days, send healing prayers to those who need your good thoughts and silently bless them, wishing for them that they receive all that they need and desire. We are all connected as energetic beings, so your sending of positive energy will ultimately affect those who you direct it toward in positive ways.

2. Be Friendly – Your smile can brighten up a room, and it can also brighten up the day of someone you encounter. Start a conversation with someone about the weather, compliment someone on a beautiful piece of clothing, or just smile and say “hello.” I’ve been on the receiving end of friendliness from a complete stranger more times than I can count, and it has always made a lasting positive impression on me, even changing the outcome of my days.

3. Perform Random Acts of Kindness – Random acts of kindness are so often surprising when you are on the receiving end and deeply fulfilling when you are on the giving end of these hidden gems. If you see someone struggling to open a door or carry all of his/her grocery bags, offer to help. You will open yourself up to all kinds of positive energy and prosperity by the giving of kindness.

4. Lend a Helping Hand – If you know someone in your life is struggling, offer to lend a helping hand, such as taking a disabled or acutely ill friend’s dog for a walk, babysitting the children of a busy single mother you know, or writing thank you notes for an elderly neighbor who can no longer see. These helpful acts are often much more valuable than any material gifts could be.

5. Love – Love is the universal energy that connects us all, and when we are plugged into our source, the potential for love is limitless. Share love, spread love, preach love or teach love. Whatever you decide to do, do it freely and with love, and abundance will be yours for the receiving.

Today’s article was written by Maria Mooney and is shared from the following website: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4876/5-Ways-to-Give-Everyday-Attract-Abundance.html

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What is Abundance?

ABUNDANCE is about being rich, with or without money Suze Orman

What is the first thing you think when you hear “abundance?” Money? Love? A large circle of friends and family? While we can apply the concept of abundance to all of those aspects of our lives, the essential meaning of abundance is that you are solidly happy with who you are and no external event or situation—whether good or bad—can add or subtract from that happiness.

No one is happy all the time, but when you are truly in a mindset of abundance, you live with balance, hopefulness, and unlimited possibility.

Our innate nature is one of peace and abundance; it comes from within.

Abundance is a way of thinking and of living, even when you have less money, love, or support than you would like. Life delivers a continually changing set of circumstances. Living in abundance can give you a constant source of stability that isn’t based on external things, but you must change your perspective and believe in all the potential that lies within your reach. Abundance is a state of mind. It can’t be lost, taken, or bestowed on you. It is about what brings you joy and fulfillment, not about what you have.

The pursuit of “more,” which is so common in our culture, is not the road to abundance.

Money can, no doubt, make life easier, but it does not buy happiness, as the saying goes. The obsessive pursuit of money can create an imbalance that stands in the way of the kind of abundance that is genuine. If you focus too narrowly on having more money, deeper love, or a wildly successful career and become convinced that those things will “fix” everything, you’ll lose sight of the bigger picture of abundance.

The abundance that concentrates on one thing is destined to create discontent and disappointment.

You must look at every aspect of your life. Pursuing money without bringing the consciousness of abundance to everything in your life will be a fleeting and empty experience. Everything is connected to everything else, so just making loads of money or finding love won’t bring you abundance in the true sense of the word.

To understand abundance and how it can be yours, you have to grasp how the mindset of lack may be playing a role in your life. Lack is the mentality that there’s a shortage or scarcity of good things in life, and then you create fear around that idea. Operating from a place of lack skews the truth of abundance in life and colors your perspective toward hopelessness and futility. Begin to identify how your own fearful thoughts, actions, and behavior may be driven by a belief that says “there’s not enough for me.” Change that belief system and your actions and behavior will follow.

Authentic abundance comes when you have balanced everything in your life, as best as you can. That includes giving away what you have too much of. If you have a lot of love but not enough money, what should you give away? Love. Do you have more money than other things in life? Give away some money! It takes courage and love to give AND to receive. It is all about balance. The things that you want in your life, you must first give away. If you give more hugs, you will get more kisses! You have to break the fear—that is what is causing the lack. Self-sabotage happens when you have too much of something and you become complacent, disconnected, and, sometimes, even greedy.

When you look at abundance with new meaning and discover it inside yourself, there’s no limitation on the extraordinary life that you can experience.


Today’s article was written by Derek O’Neill. Derek is an internationally acclaimed psychotherapist, motivational speaker, author, martial arts sensei, and humanitarian. He is the author of More Truth Will Set You Free, the “Get a Grip” series of pocket-sized books, several children’s books, and an upcoming book on parenting (Fall 2013 release). Inspired by his worldly travels, he formed SQ Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focused on helping solve global issues facing humanity today. With charitable projects in twelve countries, the Foundation brings food, medicine, education, shelter, and other basic needs to children, families, and communities in need. In 2012, he was honored as Humanitarian of the Year and named International Celebrity Ambassador for Variety International the Children’s Charity.

Today’s article is shared from the following website: https://www.positivelypositive.com/2013/08/04/what-is-abundance-really/

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How To Use The Power of Gratitude; An Easy Way To Feel Happier Everyday

Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy Fred DeWitt Van Amburgh

In my book Nothing Changes Until You Do, I tell the story of a simple but powerful conversation I had with a cabdriver a few years back that had a profound impact on me. I was in Houston, Texas, on my way back to the airport to fly home after speaking at a conference. The driver and I began talking. He had a beautiful accent. Based on how he looked and sounded, I assumed he was from somewhere in Africa, but I couldn’t tell exactly where. It didn’t come up in what we were talking about, so I didn’t ask.

Right before we got to the airport, however, there was a pause in our conversation, so I inquired, “By the way, where are you from originally?”

“I’m from Ethiopia,” he said. He then proudly stated, “I’ve been here in the U.S. for twenty years. I’m an American citizen now; so are both of my boys and my wife.”

I’m not exactly sure what prompted me, but I then asked him, “What’s your perspective on American culture, given that you didn’t grow up here?”

At first he didn’t say anything, and I thought maybe I had offended him. We were just arriving at the airport. He pulled up to the curb, put the cab in park, turned around, and looked me right in the eye.

“Can I be honest with you?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said.
“Well,” he said, “I think most people in this culture act like spoiled brats.”
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
“Look, I’m from Ethiopia,” he said. “Every day here is a good day.”

I was taken aback by the simplicity, wisdom, and power of his statement. And, I was grateful for the reminder.

Gratitude is a Practice, Not A Concept
I’ve been speaking and writing about gratitude for many years, and I’m still amazed at how challenging it can be to focus on what I’m grateful for at times. We live in a culture that has an obsession with negativity, and it’s easy for us to get caught up in how “bad” things are, as well as in our own personal and insatiable desire for more, thinking that what we have and how things are in our own lives is never quite good enough. However, regardless of the specific circumstances of our lives, even and especially when they’re difficult, if we stop, pay attention, and look for it, there are always so many things we can be grateful for—if we choose to be. Gratitude is a practice, not a concept. And, like any other practice, the more genuine and consistent we are with it, the more valuable and beneficial it is.

Most of us, especially those of us on a path of personal growth and discovery, know that gratitude is important. We’ve heard about it, read about it, and been taught about it for years. In the mid 1990s a wonderful book called Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach came out. Sarah was a featured guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Oprah talked about how Sarah’s suggestion to keep a daily gratitude journal—to write down five things each day that you’re grateful for—had a profound impact on her life. Oprah became a passionate advocate for the power of gratitude and since that time has continued to encourage millions of people around the world to keep their own gratitude journals.

Create A Gratitude Journal
Like so many other people, I took Oprah’s advice and started my own journal many years ago. I found it to be fun, inspiring, and empowering to look for, find, and write down things I was grateful for. When I started speaking, coaching, and writing, much of my work focused on gratitude and appreciation. The technique of the gratitude journal was something I often suggested to people. However, over time it became one of the many things that I “know” and even “teach,” but had stopped practicing consistently in my own life.

A few years back, as a New Year’s resolution, I recommitted myself to the practice of my gratitude journal. I bought a new, beautiful journal and decided I was going to start using it. It took me a little while to get back into the practice of writing in it consistently, but once I was in the swing of it, it was pretty easy. Later that year I had a few months where things were going really well in many important areas of my life. As I sat down to write in my gratitude journal one morning, I decided to look back at some of the things I’d written over the past few months.

As I turned the pages, I realized that I hadn’t missed a day of writing in over three months. I was amazed. It was less about the consistency of my writing, and more about the consistency of my excitement to do this exercise and the benefits I got from it. Things were going so well in my life, and the positive turns seemed to be directly connected to my use of the gratitude journal. I said to my wife, Michelle, “I’m not sure if things are going so well because I’m writing in my gratitude journal every day, or I’m excited to write in my gratitude journal every day because things are going so well. I bet it’s a combination of both. At some level, I don’t really care—I’m just grateful for how things are going and for my journaling practice.”

The way gratitude works is that the more we focus on feeling grateful, the more we have to feel grateful for. And while many of us have experienced this personally, recent scientific studies have concluded that gratitude can have significantly positive effects on our health, our moods, our productivity, and our relationships.

In one specific study, conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., at the University of California at Davis and Mike McCullough at the University of Miami, participants were given one of three tasks. Each week, they kept a short journal. One group was asked to write down five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another was asked to record five hassles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they weren’t told whether to focus on something positive or negative specifically.

Ten weeks later, the people in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole, plus they reported fewer health complaints, and exercised more.

Like many other things in life that we know are good for us (exercise, eating healthy, sleeping enough, drinking lots of water, telling the truth, and so on), it’s not the knowledge that will benefit us; it’s the practice. The amazing thing about gratitude is that there’s no “right” way to practice being grateful. Whether you choose to keep a journal, thank the people around you, use positive affirmations, ask other people what they’re grateful for (one of my favorites), focus on gratitude in your quiet time of prayer or meditation, or simply remind yourself to slow down and breathe—taking time to focus on what we’re grateful for is one of the easiest and most effective ways to empower ourselves, calm ourselves down, and remember what matters most in life.

Today’s article was written by Mike Robbins and is shared from the following website: https://www.healyourlife.com/how-to-use-the-power-of-gratitude

 

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