You can learn how to become your own psychotherapist for life, and how to resolve the difficulties that stand between you and personal joy.
Be Honest With Yourself
The starting point of becoming your own best friend is for you to be perfectly honest with yourself and your relationships. Refuse to practice self-delusion or hope for the best.
For example, when something is making you unhappy, for any reason, the situation will tend to get worse rather than better. So avoid the temptation to engage in denial, to pretend that nothing is wrong, to wish and hope and pray that, whatever it is, it will go away and you won’t have to do anything. The fact is that it probably will get worse before it gets better and that ultimately you will need to face the situation and do something about it.
Deal With Your Problem at a Higher Level
There’s an old saying that you can’t solve a problem on the level that you meet it. This means that wrestling with a persistent problem is often fruitless and frustrating. For example, if two people who are in a relationship together are constantly fighting and negotiating and looking for some way to resolve their difficulties, they may be attempting to solve the problem on the wrong level.
Dealing with the problem on a higher level, those people would ask the question, “In terms of being happy, is this the right relationship for us in the first place?”
Find the Right Job For You
Many people work very hard and experience considerable frustration trying to do a particular job. However, in terms of their own happiness, the right answer might be to do something else, or to do what they’re doing in a different place, or to do it with different people-or all three.
Here are a few questions for you to answer in this arena of happiness. Write them down at the top of a sheet of paper, and then write as many answers to each one as you possibly can.
What Would It Take?
The first question is: “What would it take for me to be perfectly happy?” Write down every single thing that you can imagine would be in your life if you were perfectly happy at this very moment. Write down things such as health, happiness, prosperity, loving relationships, inner peace, travel, car, clothes, homes, money, and so on. Let your mind run freely. Imagine that you have no limitations at all.
What is Holding You Back?
The second question is a little tougher. Write down at the top of a page this question: “In what situations in my life, and with whom, am I not perfectly happy?” Force yourself to think about every part of your day, from morning to night, and write down every element that makes you unhappy or dissatisfied in any way. Remember, proper diagnosis is half the cure. Identifying the unsatisfactory situations is the first step to resolving them.
Determine Your Happiest Moment
The third question will give you some important guidelines. Write down at the top of a sheet of paper these words: “In looking over my life, where and when have I been the happiest? Where was I, with whom was I, and what was I doing?”
Decide What to Do
Once you have the answers to those questions, think about what you can do, starting immediately, to begin creating the kind of life that you dream of. It may take you a week, a month, or a year, but that doesn’t matter.
Every single thing you do that moves you closer to your ideal vision will be rewarding in itself. You’ll become a more positive and optimistic person. You’ll feel more confident and more in charge of your life, and you’ll achieve true peace of mind.
Here are three steps you can take immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, examine your business and personal relationships carefully. Is there any situation you wouldn’t get into again if you had it to do over?
Second, make a list of every single thing in your life that would make you happy and then think about what you could do to begin achieving them.
Third, allow yourself to dream and visualize about your ideal life, what it would look like and feel like, and then do something every day to make it a reality.
Excerpted from Brian Tracy’s “Goals”