Opening the Door to Happiness

door

Photo credit: artfactory.com

Today is Monday, September 30, 2013.

“The door of happiness is not locked.  But you do have to open the door for yourself… no one can do it for you.  –Anonymous

Another quote from my favorite author, good old Anonymous.  Such a wise Soul.

If we have to open the door ourselves, how do we go about it?  Is there some secret?  Surely, if it were that simple, everyone would open the door… or would they?

It’s been said that people choose how they want to feel, and that there is always some sort of payoff for whatever we choose.  We always have a reason for choosing it, although that reason is often, in fact usually, buried somewhere in our subconscious mind.

What do I mean by payoff?  Here’s a quote from Dave Jetson, of Jetson Counseling, whom I am not endorsing, just quoting.

Judy and her husband, Gary, have fallen into a trap of arguing  over the way they discipline their children, John and Jessica. Gary thinks Judy is passive and too easygoing, while Judy thinks Gary is too much of a dictator in needing to control and limit everything that John and Jessica do. The argument continues to be the same, with the same results. Judy gets hurt and feels controlled and manipulated. Gary feels angry and justified that he is doing the right thing. Both of them are frustrated because nothing changes.

It may not be obvious, but each of them is getting a Payoff for this interaction. In this case both Judy and Gary are getting the Payoff of not being emotionally heard. Judy is also able to be justified in her emotional pain and Gary is justified in getting angry and letting it out sideways. While these may not seem like Payoffs because they are negative, they are still Payoffs that continue to perpetuate the arguments. Many times, a negative Payoff is no more than continuing to get what we are used to receiving.

An emotional payoff is a way of justifying our anger, or feeling sorry for ourselves.  When we are unhappy, we feel sorry for ourselves, and we can then justify our actions that may be mean or petty by saying that we are simply defending ourselves from other people or from a bad situation.  The thinking here is that life happens to us, and other people do things to affect us. It’s never our own fault; we’re just innocent bystanders.

bell quoteWhen we stop thinking of ourselves as victims that things happen to, we can begin to exert control over our world.  We can open the doors (and there are several, not just one) to happiness.

Door 1: Open your MIND.  Be willing to entertain new ideas, even if you decide later that you don’t agree with them.  At least, be willing to look at the idea and check it out, pro and con.  Don’t be quick to throw out an idea just because it comes from someone you don’t like or feel comfortable with. You may end up coming up with a new synthesis based on your old ideas and the new one.  Be willing to make changes in your life, as necessary, both inner and outer.  It’s interesting how much energy we spend holding onto old ideas and old beliefs, even – especially – when they are no longer serving us.  Remember that the ability to change your mind about something is a type of freedom.  There’s no need to put yourself in a prison of your own making.

Door 2: Open your HEART.  Be willing to extend and accept Divine Love, not only from God, but from other people.  Divine Love is unconditional love.  It doesn’t mean the same as “like.”  It doesn’t have to do with agreement or approval.  It has to do with acceptance and allowing.  You can accept people as they are without judgment, knowing that they are in process, just as you are.  You can choose to interact with them or not, but you can allow them space to be who they are without trying to change them.  If they want to change, they will do that for themselves.  Just allow them that option.  You’d be surprised how much easier your life will seem once you stop trying to change other people to suit yourself.

Door 3: Open your EYES.  Look beneath the surface of people and events.  See beyond the immediate situation.  Try to view people and situations with a higher viewpoint, a 360-degree viewpoint.  Try to figure out people’s intentions without projecting your own assumptions onto them.  See what is actually happening, rather than what appears to be happening, or what you think should be happening.

barrymore quoteDoor 4: Open your EARS. I’m not talking about your outer ears, but you should probably keep those open, too.  I’m talking about your “inner ears,” the inner sense that you use to listen to the Divine Source.  God’s messages are not generally given in a loud, booming voice.  More often, it’s a soft whisper, one that is easy to ignore.  The messages may come as a gentle nudge to do something or refrain from doing something, to make contact with someone or avoid someone, to express something or keep quiet about it.  Sometimes the messages come as feelings, such as the light and joyous feeling you get when you are on the right track, or the heavy feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when something is not quite right.  Maybe you think of it as your conscience.  Sometimes the message is embedded in something that you read in a book or on a sign by the roadside. Sometimes it is encoded in the license plate of the car in front of you, or a sign on a passing truck.   Sometimes it is contained in the words to a song, an overheard conversation among strangers, or in the words of a dear friend.

Door 5: Open your ATTITUDE.  An open attitude includes gratitude.  Think of it this way: you can’t be grateful for a gift unless you receive it, first.  So you have to have an attitude of acceptance and the attitude of gratitude will naturally follow.  The gifts from Divine Spirit are already there; they are all around you.  All you have to do is recognize them and accept them fully.  It’s surprising, sometimes, to realize that we are actually being offered a gift that we have declined, either because we haven’t recognized it yet, or we have not accepted it, perhaps in the belief that we are not worthy, or we are somehow not “ready” for it yet.

Door 6: Open your GIFTS.  Once you have recognized your gifts, don’t forget to open them.  Your gifts include the skills, talents and qualities that allow you to serve life to full capacity.  Some skills have to be honed or practiced in order to be used effectively.  If you have the capacity to lead others, find a place where you can exercise leadership.  If you are skilled at public speaking, offer your services to groups as a motivational speakers.  if you are good at serving in the background, offer to help out somewhere.  The opportunities to do these things are endless.  If you have a thousand-watt smile, don’t forget to smile as often as you can.  You never know how it will affect a stranger.  If you have a lot of free time, offer to volunteer somewhere.  If you have a lot of patience with kids, offer to teach them a skill or spend time with them on weekends or during school vacations when their parents are busy.

Door 7: Open your CONNECTION with the SOURCE OF ALL LIFE.  Maintain a discipline about making contact with God. Take time to meditate and pray.  Set aside time to listen to God.  Practice the Presence of God in your life.  🙂

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