Love and Approval

Of course love is never earned. It is a grace we give one another. Anything we need to earn is only approval.

Few perfectionists can tell the difference between love and approval. Perfectionism is so widespread in this culture that we actually have had to invent another word for love. “Unconditional love” we say. Yet, all love is unconditional. Anything else is just approval.

— Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, Kitchen Table Wisdom, p. 47

No Reason Needed

Children are often happy without reason — it is part of their charm. Often you can catch a child laughing for the sheer joy of it, smiling for the sake of smiling, playing happily with happiness. It both amuses and saddens me to think that when a child laughs for no reason at all, we think it’s wonderful, but when an adult laughs for no reason at all, we immediately fear for his or her health. The point is. . .

who ever said happiness needs a reason? . . .

Maybe your greatest downfall is that you believe you have to understand happiness before you can be happy.

Can you accept happiness unconditionally, without even understanding it? If you can, then happiness is yours unconditionally. Happiness is never grasped; it is simply let loose. In truth, happiness needs no reason. A smile needs no reason. Love needs no reason. Kindness needs no reason. There are gifts for free — life’s true treasures. Can you cope with that?

— Robert Holden, PhD, Happiness Now! p. 139-140

Happiness Is Not Selfish.

Happiness is made to be shared.

The martyr ethic is built upon a number of erroneous and fearful beliefs about happiness, the major one being that happiness is selfish. Another great fear of happiness to the practicing martyr is that my happiness denies others their happiness. In other words, it appears to the martyr that there isn’t enough happiness to go around. Other fears of happiness for the martyr include: Happiness leads to conceit, my happiness has no value to others, and being happy is inconsiderate in a world where there is suffering.

The fear that happiness is selfish is not only untrue, it actually couldn’t be further from the truth. Psychology researchers find time and time again that it is the depressed people, and not the happy ones, who are intensely self-focused and self-absorbed. Happy people, by contrast, tend to be outgoing, sociable, generous, loving, and kind. They’re also more tolerant, forgiving, and less judgmental than people who are depressed….

In truth, your happiness is more than okay. Your happiness is also a great gift. It is a total inspiration, a wonderful example, and a great service to the world. Your happiness contributes so much more to the world than your suffering.

— Robert Holden, PhD, p. 114, 118

Value Joy.

The only value suffering has is that it points out that you’re running low on happiness. The function of suffering is, therefore, to remind you to choose happiness, choose love, choose healing, choose forgiveness, choose laughter, choose freedom. Thus, the most helpful response to suffering is to use suffering as a chance to hit the “re-set” button in your life, and commit once again to what is truly important.

To be happy, you must value joy more than pain. You want to remind yourself again and again that suffering cannot buy me happiness.

— Robert Holden, PhD, Happiness Now! p. 113-114

Forgiveness Is About You.

Forgiveness is not giving up your right to justice. In fact, you may need to seek restitution of some kind for the wrongs that have been done to you. You may even need to resort to legal recourse to get support or help in your healing.

Forgiveness does not remove or alter pain from the past. The hurt and sorrow of yesterday can’t be changed. Forgiveness can only make your present and future less painful.

And, perhaps most crucial of all, forgiveness in no way excuses the wrongdoer. When you’re ready to forgive, you do so for yourself. His inexcusable behavior stays inexcusable. Forgiveness isn’t about him. As I’ve mentioned, it’s only about, and for, you.

— Eve A. Wood, MD, The Gift of Betrayal, p. 61

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

Teaching Ourselves

You cannot teach others that they’re guilty if you’re to be free of guilt yourself.

It’s important to understand that, on the level of consciousness, thoughts are never given away; they’re always shared. Therefore, if you teach others that they should be guilty, you’re simultaneously teaching yourself that you should be guilty, too. Also, when you judge someone as unworthy of happiness, you are in that very same instant telling yourself that you are also unworthy.

The reverse of this principle is that every time you affirm others’ goodness, their inner light, their original blessing, their innocence, you’re affirming these qualities for yourself.

— Robert Holden, PhD, Happiness Now! p. 98

No Room for Blame

There’s no room for blame in your life as long as you live with kindness. And excuses, regardless of their form, are all about blame. Blaming your past. Blaming the economy. Blaming your perceived personal flaws. Blaming God. Blaming your parents. Blaming your children or your spouse. Blaming your DNA. There’s no shortage of circumstances, people, and events to blame — and there’s no shortage of blame itself.

When you shift to compassion, all blame disappears.

— Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Excuses Begone! p. 134

Happiness and Guilt

You enjoy as much happiness as you believe you’re worthy of.

Happiness is natural, easy, and effortless when your Self-acceptance is high, but happiness is blasphemous when your Self-acceptance is low. When you feel low, you dream of being happy, but you also secretly fear that maybe you’re not worthy of happiness, so you question, doubt, resist, test, defend against, overlook, and push away invitations to be happy….

You suffer as much pain as you believe you’re worthy of.

Self-acceptance (that is, Self-worth) is the key to both happiness and unhappiness. If you can accept yourself as whole, worthy, and well, then happiness is natural and acceptable to you. If, however, you judge yourself as “not good enough,” then you’re not good enough for happiness. Indeed, for as long as you judge that you’re “not good enough,” you must always throw happiness off for fear of guilt.

— Robert Holden, PhD, Happiness Now! p. 92-93

You Are Enough.

Know now and hear me, loud and clear: You are not responsible for your partner’s choices and actions. You are fabulous, loving and enough. You definitely have things to learn about how you got to this point in your life and where you’re meant to go from here. And you will learn them! But you’re not to blame for this crisis in your world. You’re more than good enough! And there is nothing wrong with you!

— Eve A. Wood, MD, The Gift of Betrayal, p. 9