You Don’t Deserve Happiness!

Ask yourself now: “Do I deserve to be happy?” Be careful how you answer this question, however, for there’s a catch. If you answer no, then no matter what you do, you will not accept much happiness. If you answer yes, then you’re subscribing to the idea that happiness must be deserved and you will, therefore, have to fulfill all sorts of criteria (set by you) before you can be happy. Both no and yes are dishonest answers. The point is . . .

you do not deserve happiness!

This is not a message of gloom; it is a message of hope! One of the greatest single steps you can take to happiness now is to let go of the belief that happiness has to be deserved. You do not deserve happiness, you choose happiness. Happiness is natural. It is freely available to all. It is unconditional. And when you’re unconditional about happiness, then happiness merely happens! Happiness happens, if you let it.

The belief that happiness has to be deserved has no power, other than the power you give to it. The problem is, you’ve learned to give it a lot of power. This single thought not only reinforces your belief in guilt and unworthiness, but it also contributes to almost every other major fearful belief about happiness. It contributes, in particular, to the work ethic, the suffering ethic, and the martyr ethic — three ethics heavily endorsed by our society.

— Robert Holden, PhD, Happiness Now! p. 100-101

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