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How to accept yourself and find joy.

October 27, 2013

In her recent blog post about finding true happiness, Martha Beck wrote that you don’t have to know exactly how your ideal life should look, but that you only have to know what feels better and what feels worse. If something feels both good and bad, she said, try breaking it down into its components and begin making choices based on what makes you feel freer and happier, rather than how you think your ideal life should look. It’s the process of “feeling our way toward happiness,” not the realization of some Platonic ideal that creates our best lives.

Go Martha! It’s very important to know what makes you feel freer and not do something because it makes someone else feel freer or because it is an ideal that you’re striving for. I think that she’s talking about really getting to know ourself, which is so important, if we want to make the right decisions and be happy.

However, I think that this is just the first step to finding happiness. We also have to know the difference between what we want and what we need, which can be a bitch (especially when we want something very, very much). For example, you may want spend mucho bucks on a pair of shoes but your bank account may be screaming, NO!. Then we must determine the needs of the other people or things around us, which can conflict with our own. For example, you may crave working outside of the home for the adult stimulation, but your child’s special needs may require you to work at home. You may want to go for a run right away but the plants may need watering first.

Then comes the truly majestic task of taking all of the conflicting needs and harmonizing them or determining what truly needs to be done, and prioritizing things–without our own agenda getting in the way (another real bitch). I use the word harmonizing, knowing that we are all connected, and that when our intention to do the right thing is pure good will always come of it. I’m speaking of self-acceptance in the highest regard.

I think I’m also talking about joy, which is different than happiness. We can feel joyful and not even be happy. Joy is deeper than happiness, and it can’t be taken away from us if the weather changes. It comes from within, and isn’t dependent on external factors, which can change at any time. I think we feel it when those little surprises happen to us in our life, like when were thinking of someone and boom, the next minute they call.

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Gail Harris Author