By Dr. Ken Larsen (Originally posted 12/14/13)
Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. — Dalai Lama
I gained a bit of wisdom when I first realized that happiness was a byproduct and not something to be sought for itself.
Dr. Glasser points out that if we are connected to people we want to be with and are getting our needs met in those relationships, we will probably be happy. He also points out that if we are not getting the good feelings of happiness that come from needs satisfying relationships, there is a tendency to turn to addictions, violence and unloving sex. These describe efforts to feel good when feeling bad and often involve seeking pleasure as a substitute for happiness.
Mike Rice, a seasoned Choice Theory therapist, underscores the difference between the right kind of happiness and the isolating efforts to feel good through the pleasures of addictive substances. He works to help his clients see the difference so they can make better choices that lead to better relationships and a better chance at happiness.
Mike offers a helpful distinction between pleasure and happiness. He points out that pleasure can be found in isolation, not needing anyone else. Happiness is a byproduct of needs fulfilling relationships with others.
In his first book, Reality Therapy, Dr. Glasser gave us a succinct statement of what we need to be mentally healthy and happy. He said that we need to fulfil our basic need to “love and be loved, and to feel worthwhile to ourselves and others.”
It seems to me that the key to happiness lies in understanding our need for one another. Then we need to find ways to relate to one another in ways that bring us closer together. Finally we need to learn to avoid the kinds of things we do to separate ourselves from one another. [There are articles on this web page that discuss the seven deadly habits and the seven caring habits. Refer to them for more.]
The wisdom in the Golden Rule transcends time and cultural, ethnic and religious differences. Our challenge is to learn to apply that golden rule in all that we do.
If you are looking for more of the kinds of thinking you are seeing here, I recommend reading Dr. Glasser’s Choice Theory. If you have already read it, read it again. I guarantee you’ll gain fresh insights each time you read it .