Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Attitude is an accepting, nonjudgmental perspective for living. It is the practice in everyday life, of making happiness, love and acceptance our highest priority. The obvious benefit of such an approach is that we can begin to view the events in our lives in a new and powerfully different way. Rather than seeing life as a series of obstacles or hurdles to be overcome, we begin to see it as offering a host of opportunities from which to learn and grow.

This attitude seems to be natural to us as infants. We enter the world open and curious, without fear and anxious to explore the world around us (too anxious, some parents might say). As we grow, we look to our parents and other role models to help us make sense of the world. We quickly begin to take on the biases, fears, and judgments of those around us. In this way, we gradually “learn” to be unhappy. We lose our innocence, so to speak.

All we have really learned though, are the beliefs of unhappiness. A belief is simply an idea that we accept as being true. We learn for instance, that it is “bad” to be alone, so that when we are alone, we often feel “lonely.” Being alone is simply being alone. Feeling “lonely” is being unhappy about being alone. A very different experience entirely. Throughout our lives, often without recognizing it, we continue to expand our repertoire of unhappy beliefs. We learn to “feel” another’s pain as a way of demonstrating our caring. As children, the harder we cry, the more important the object of our desire appears to our parents. It is no wonder then, that we come to ultimately believe that unhappiness is a natural and even a necessary part of being human.

Unhappiness is not wrong or bad, it is simply not required. When we are unhappy (angry, sad, afraid, etc.) it is only because somewhere inside we hold a belief telling us that this is the correct response for the situation. But what if we were to challenge that assumption? What if we sincerely and with acceptance, began to question the requirement for unhappiness in a given situation?

Anyone wanting to live a happier life can start today, right now, by simply beginning to question their own beliefs and judgments, the fuel for unhappiness.

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