Why this blog?

Because wherever you are, you can have more happiness and for more of the time than you ever imagined. 'Do more of what you like, and less of what you don't!' (c) Richard Walker, 2009. And because happiness is often misunderstood. "Do you live to work, or do you work to live?" I reckon happy people do both at the same time. Make the decision now to tenaciously seek out what feels good – and find ways of doing more of it - rather than settle for “not bad.” There's a big difference. And when it comes to making changes, that's what I specialise in at abetterlife-uk.com and http://hertscollegeofhypnosisandnlp.co.uk

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Big Happiness Myth

Have you noticed how happiness books tend to have one kind of message, according to which “club” the author hails from? There’s the psychology or science message, the mystical message, the religious message, the Buddhist message, ancient Eastern spiritual message, and various messages from philosophy. We might add more, or you might argue for subcategories in each.

However, a different kind of main message can be found in each of these basic categories. But that’s not even the real problem; there's a big hole in happiness guidance - a kind of myth that all happiness is wholesome and basically similar
I’ll save you thinking too hard and give you a quick summary of each route to happiness. 
Psychology: happiness is a state of mind that no one thing in particular significantly influences, and we tend to settle back to our “inherited” happiness level. The big new idea over the last ten years is that leading a purposeful life, or flourishing, is important.

The Mystical Message: you are pure light, and interconnected to all that exists. Develop yourself to reveal your inner spirit and return to source.

The Religious Message: commit to serve God and your reward will be in the afterlife.

The Buddhist Message: strive for enlightenment, which is a transcendent state of awareness beyond the everyday world. You should strive to benefit your karma to break the cycles of reincarnation. 
The Ancient Eastern message: this includes Hinduism, which says that you should do things to help others and for the good of the world as part of achieving happiness and maintaining the world itself. Also believe in karma and reincarnation.
Let’s leave aside for today the question as to which one is right - a big enough problem in itself! Here’s the really awkward question that never gets addressed. What about the guy pushing the brush outside Tesco’s, or walking his rottweiler down Borehamwood high street, or an at-home Mum bringing up her four kids, or the lifelong banker, or Sir Alan Sugar?  What makes them happy? Is it spiritual enlightenment or doing good for others or achieving your deeper purpose? Really?

Let’s try historical figures: what was happiness for the Duke of Wellington, or Sir Walter Raleigh, or Napoleon or Churchill during WWII? For each of these cases, how many – if ANY - of the above happiness messages apply?

Most happiness messages – from whatever “club” – only apply to a minority of people, even taking them altogether. Probably those who buy the books, or who support that group – whether the science club, the religious club, the New Age set, the whoever club. But not necessarily you.

You are not like others, yet you will also strive to improve your lot – your happiness – doing whatever makes you happy. Even if your happiness is not what others might like, or even approve of. Who says you shouldn’t? I grant you that the Law may have a say – but even that varies from country to country. So who? The government? The Religious leaders? The Inquisition? The scientific “Emotional Police”? We won't begin understand people, nor happiness, until we grasp this thorny issue.

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