Three Steps to a Happier You
By Art Ramsay, PhD

 It seems that everyone wants to be happier, but very few are. Even with the explosion of books about happiness in the past few years, most people remain unhappy. There seems to be many 'outer' reasons for an unhappy life:

  • Financial failure of many kinds
  • Unworkable intimate relationships
  • Poor health
  • Failure to creatively express oneself
  • Not enough of _________
  • Too much of __________

The above list could go on to fill a book. But the 'outer' reasons are only symptoms of a much deeper need. If you are not happy, it has everything to do with you, and nothing to do with anything or anyone else. I hear you saying, "oh yeah, what about _________?" You could fill in the blank with many excuses, I am sure. But that is really all they are excuses.

The real reason you are not happy has only to do with what you think of yourself and how you treat yourself. Happiness, like most 'emotions' or states-of-mind comes from within. To end your unhappy state, you must start exploring why you feel unhappy. Below are three aspects I believe, if practiced daily, will set you on the road to happiness

   1. Love and Accept Yourself

You positively cannot be happy until you love yourself and accept yourself for who you are. Loving yourself may look different to different people, but love is pretty much the same in this context for most everyone. To get a better idea of how I view love, read "How Do You Experience Love?" on my website, 

Loving yourself begins by accepting yourself just the way you are. There is nothing wrong with you; you are perfect just the way you are. If there are aspects of your mind or body, you feel need changing, then explore what actions you could take to do that. But, in the moment, accept that you are a perfect being of love, just the way God, or whatever name you use, created you to be. God does not make mistakes, and you are an embodiment of this eternal Force.

Look into your eyes in front of a full length mirror, one that shows most of your body, and say your name, repeating the following: "your name, I accept you just the way you are". You may not really mean it the first few times, but keep at it until you feel love when you say the words. You could then go to " your name, I love you". Say it over and over until you really feel you mean it.

   2. Express Yourself

Who you are is revealed through how you express yourself, and this can take on multiple ways of expression. You express yourself through your work, with your family, with your friends, with business associates, and so forth. Are they all the same? If you truly know who you are, they will be. If not, you will be someone different for each group of people. You cannot be happy living multiple lives.

To be happy, you must know who you are and express from that same place, always. Otherwise, you are trying to fit into someone else's expectation of who each one thinks you are. By trying to please and be accepted by everyone, you will never become fully aware of who you really are.

Contemplate or mediate on who this person is that lives your body and creates your life. This person came here for a reason, a purpose. Only you can determine what your purpose is and how to live your life from that place. Practice going within and asking, "Who am I?", "why am I here?", "What is my next step?" You will get answers over time; then express yourself from this place.

   3. Boldly Live Your Life As If It Mattered

Unhappy people have no purpose, no focus, and no awareness. They just go about their lives habitually doing the same thing repeatedly. As I mentioned above, you came here on purpose, to make a difference. Step into a purposeful life by first determining what your passion is.

Make a list of all the things you have always loved doing, or wanted to do. Narrow them down to the one thing that makes your heart beat faster when you think of it, that causes you to smile, that brings you joy. Pursue that one thing with fervor; go for it with all your mind and emotion.

Only you can do what you came here to do in the unique way you can do it. Only you feel drawn to it with passion in the way you feel drawn to do it. Only you have the gusto to reach out and take the steps toward its creation. Happiness is living a life that matters and giving it all that you have. Go for it now, and be happy.

The preceding three steps are not something you complete in a few days or weeks, or even months. They all take perseverance, practice, and action. You cannot do them haphazardly. They must be thought of and practiced with determination, focus, and awareness. Going all out, full bore towards a happy life will reap rewards beyond your wildest dreams. But you cannot get there unless you start.

 "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now." (Goethe)


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