Our culture often falls prey to the "happiness craze," in search of instant gratification, rather than exerting patience. Psychologist and social critic, John Schumaker (in "In Search of Happiness: Understanding an Endangered State of Mind") put it best: "Clinicians and coaches have become merchants of happiness, promising people the moon: instant transformation, success, and happiness. They mass market their happiness prescriptions like any other feel-good commercial product. Such prescriptions are more misleading than enlightening, more 'feel better' than 'do better.'"
Well, I can assure you (and many can attest) that I am not that type of clinician. I cannot, nor do I try, to offer anyone a quick and easy route to happiness and fulfillment. For one, I am too much a realist. Secondly, helping others learn to discover and embrace their true selves often means looking deeply and realistically at the fears that keep them from optimal healthiness and authenticity.
This is not usually "happy" work but necessary to get to consistent happiness and inner peace, as well as our true nature. Martin Luther King, Jr. (in "Strength to Love") stated, "We shall never be cured of fear by escapism or repression, for the more we attempt to ignore and repress our fears, the more we multiply our inner conflicts."
The more we are conflicted internally, the more unhealthy, worn out, and ragged we feel and act. In short, we and all of our stuff manifests as raggedy. Now, this does not mean that we, in our true nature, are raggedy. It means that, through our conflicted self-concept the true essence of our nature cannot flourish, jeopardizing our physical and mental/emotional health, as well as our relations with others.
There are several things you can do to keep from sinking into the quicksand of "raggedness," including, but not limited to, the following four things:
- Increase your self-awareness. Take some time to consider and become aware of your goals, motivations, influences, alternatives, and personal goals. The greater your awareness, the greater your possibilities and the more we increase our capacity to live fully.
- Assume responsibility. We are entirely responsible for our lives, actions, and failures to take action. If there is change to be made, assuming responsibility is a basic condition for change.