Right or Happy?
Right or Happy?
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.
W.W. Bartley, philosopher
We all have someone who drives us crazy. They are just a bit too loud or too grandiose. They may talk too much and too long with loads of drama. Their actions may have caused us pain by criticism or anger. Whatever happened if you carry anger and resentment you are attached to them just as if you were an appendage. The three concepts below each have the power to open and soften your heart to forgiveness and freedom. Try the one that speaks to your heart or for a very powerful approach try all three. Use them in your daily life and notice how less offended you are by practicing them.
1. The response to a stimulus, says everything about the response and nothing about the stimulus.
However you choose to respond to any stimulus, an unkind remark, being cut off by another driver, a cheating spouse, a critical parent…, is a reflection of your consciousness and your self-perception. The stimulus is not about you unless you make it about you. The response is about you. If someone is unkind, respond with kindness. If you are cut off by another driver, wave goodbye. If your spouse cheats, lies and is deceptive, once the initial shock is gone, look deep within your heart and respond with acceptance.
Being tied to a stimulus with a response of justified anger and resentment by replaying every word, thought and feeling creates tension, strain, illness and meaningless existence. Responding with understanding and acceptance eases the pain and creates space for forgiveness and an open heart.
2. The Serenity Prayer
The Serenity Prayer, written by Reinhold Neibuhr, asks for the one thing that you must have before your heart will soften and that is Serenity. Until you are serene and can focus on forgiveness rather than punishment, you cannot accept the thing you cannot change. After asking for serenity you are now ready to proceed with the rest of the prayer.
Next ask for acceptance and insert the person’s name in the prayer stating you cannot change them. Lastly ask for the courage to change yourself. The wisdom comes when you realize how powerless you are over changing anyone other yourself. Knowing the difference between the people and things you can change and those you can’t is a spiritual principle that results in freedom and even more serenity.
serenity to accept the things I cannot change; (person’s name)
courage to change the things I can, (me)
and wisdom to know the difference.
3. Would you rather be right or happy?
How much time in your life have you spent asserting just how right you are about someone or something? I believe having to be right is a violent reaction of proving how someone affected you intentionally or unintentionally.. The violence is manifested by justifying your position of rightness by having been wronged.Being happy is a choice that is a result of acceptance of self and others just as they are in that moment. Being happy is far less dramatic and traumatic than replaying the event or experience. It is a peaceful reaction that makes no one wrong. What if you did nothing whenever someone says or does something that you perceive to be critical, hurtful or mean? Expressing no response other than a smile and a kind glance creates more happiness for you and may even make the other person feel better.
Try giving up being right for one week. Just give up it up. Notice how often you think you are right and how it feels to keep quiet. Notice how much judgment and critical thoughts you have for your family, your friends and work colleagues. And then notice if the people in your life become less wrong and then less offended by you. Giving up being right is not easy but would you rather be right or happy?
There are consequences with both responses – being right or being happy. You are the chooser.
Judith Pepper is an author, transformational speaker, coach and sage who guides women after 40 to ask and explore the question “Now, What About ME?” She is the author of The Age of Sage: Extraordinary Advice for Extraordinary Women, a selection of narratives, formulas and ideas on how women can reframe negative thoughts into positive beliefs, so they can build their momentum to live life as fully and wildly as they desire.
Judith is also an expert public speaker on the subject of life transformation after 40. She’s addressed audiences of hundreds of women all over the US. She has won numerous awards in everything from community leadership to pecan pie baking! She firmly believes any woman can reap extraordinary success and pleasure, regardless of what she does for a living or where she is in life.
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