In last week’s blog, I wrote about “Gross National Happiness” being the measuring stick of choice for the Himalayan country of Bhutan.

In a recent article about happiness, noted corporate trainer Brian Tracy wrote about 3 myths concerning the subject. As one who recognizes and admires Brian as a thought leader and an inspiration to many, I want to comment on his myth #1:

“The first myth about happiness is that it’s not legitimate or correct for you to put your happiness ahead of everyone else… Throughout my life, I’ve met people who’ve been very adamant about stating that happiness is something that you may or may not get from life, but it’s not a goal or objective by itself…These people say that it’s more important to make other people happy than to make yourself happy… Of course, this is nonsense…The fact is that you cannot give away to anyone else what you don’t have for yourself. The very best way to assure the happiness of others is to be happy yourself and then to share it with them… The human condition is that of natural emotional peace and happiness.”

Most of these points I agree with Brian. I quibble with his use of the word “assure” in the second from last sentence. Being happy yourself assures your own happiness, nobody else. Certainly you can buoy others with your happiness, but no guarantees. Regarding the last sentence in the paragraph, I have to respectfully challenge it. The human condition encompasses a wide smorgasbord of experience that is not only composed of peace and happiness, but feelings of sadness, outrage, insecurity and ambiguity that ultimately can enrich us as human beings. If perceived and embraced appropriately, the range of experience can promote growth and expansion, inspire new discoveries and insights. It also can fill us with compassion for ourselves and others. Case in point: as someone who is a musician part-time, I cannot honestly say I’m totally happy with my performance at any time. Often I think, “Not bad…pretty good…OK…” This compels me to practice, to explore, to hone and improve. I’ve not reached a place of being completely enamored with the way I play, and just as well. I used to beat myself up over not playing better; now it’s an opportunity for both self-compassion and motivation. And, to acknowledge the level of achievement at this stage.

Life is multifaceted. I believe it is normal, even healthy, to feel the broad range of human experience. At the same time, it is paramount to effectively and promptly release so-called negativity to maintain a state of overall health and well-being. For more about health and becoming “energy efficient”

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