June 6, 2003
June 6, 2003


Do you look for affairs or other people to affirm who you are? Do you worry about what other people will think of you for almost every action you take? Do you feel depressed frequently? (If your answers were yes to the three previous questions then this column may supply the answers you need.) Perhaps you can’t find happiness because you are searching outside yourself instead of inside yourself. Happiness begins from within. It is not a given.

What goals have you set for yourself? If success financially and/or many material goods and splendor are your priorities, then it is likely you are faced in the wrong direction. One does not need to live in poverty to be happy, but peace, harmony, kindness, compassion, and perseverance will direct you correctly.

Yet some individuals will become martyrs, thinking that their family and friends will appreciate their sacrifices. However, few of us can sacrifice without becoming resentful towards those who accept our continual efforts.

We have rights as individuals. I recommend the book, “When I Say No I Feel Guilty” by Manuel Smith, Ph.D. first published in 1975 and is still available by special order and establishes guidelines for individual rights. Dr. Smith’s very first page of his book establishes the rights of a person: the right to say; “no”, “I don’t care”,”I don’t understand”; the right to change your mind, or to be illogical, or to make mistakes; the right to not have to curry another's favor in order to cope with them; and the right to decide and judge your own behavior when you initiate action based on your decisions about your emotions and thoughts, but at the same time accepting the responsibility of the consequences from your reactions.

Without these guidelines some souls lose their identity. They don’t know where they begin and end so they step over loved ones boundaries.

But guidelines is not the only procedure one needs to find oneself. Explore and list your interests and desires. Find an organization or group who have similar objectives. Schedule time to include your project. If your hobby overshadows your family, prioritizing your time becomes a major consideration.

Finding yourself does not mean excluding all loved ones. Rather it is balancing your needs with the needs of your favored ones.

Take the time to savor the little daily occurrences: the animals, wild and domestic, the many faces of the atmosphere and seasons around you, the family antics, both pleasant and upsetting, and the beauty of all the leaves, trees, and flowers.

In reaching out, you reach within and find the pleasant calmness which you seek.