By Steven E. Hodes, M.D., Vol. 17, No. 1.
Article Summary: In his book Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert, a popular professor of psychology at Harvard, describes a plethora of ways and means by which the average person creates their own sense of reality from amongst the fragments of their life.
…Depressives may believe that their reactions to life’s events are more “rational” than those of the deluded optimist. Yet, ultimately, who is correct? It may very well be that all personal impressions of ourselves and our lives are fabricated anyway. Have you met individuals who regard themselves as unattractive or uninteresting yet whom you have found to be the opposite? Even more common are those who project an impression of self-confidence that may seem disproportionate or even unwarranted. You may have noticed that the self-confident individual usually attains their goals more often than a person with less confidence.
…Self-awareness precedes self-repair. And by that statement I mean that we have to become familiar with the nature of reality and our role within the spiritual universe before we can assist in our own healing. A joyous, positive self-awareness will be far more effective in healing than the opposite. Joy is a positive stimulant of our body’s inherent healing properties. We will likewise attract more enriching human emotional responses from others as well.
So perhaps the most reasonable approach to life is this: Seek the highest level of optimism that allows us to heal our wounds. Choose happiness whenever possible, since this is clearly the state of being that fills our hearts and minds with healing energy. Be aware of our chosen path, and if there is a persistent lack of progress toward our self-proclaimed goals, be willing to modify and revisit those goals. Altering or redirecting our energies does not have to be seen as failure.
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