Over the last three decades, this author has listened to thousands of people’s stories about the central drama of life–the battle between fear and happiness–and heís found that there are five primary traps that ensnare people who are trying with all their hearts to be happy.
Which happiness traps have seduced and captured you?
If you missed the first three, see Happiness Traps, Part One.
4. Trying to be happy by overcoming weaknesses
Trying to overcome weaknesses may sound heroic, but itís really just another way of being reactive to fear, instead of being proactive about making life better.
Focusing on strengths works simply because it feels better than focusing on weakness. It creates energy, which is always necessary for transformation. Also, itís self-sustaining and itís full of rewards.
For example, the author never talks about eating with those with eating disorders. Those people arenít good at eating. What he does talk with them about is what they are good at and about what they love.
5. Trying to force happiness
Happiness is hard work -and itís harder for some people than others, because there is a genetic component to it. In an important study of identical twins who were reared in different homes, it was found that happiness may be as much as 40 percent heritable.
Fortunately, most of the 12 major qualities of happiness–such as love, optimism, and freedom–are intrinsically pleasant, and most of the happiness tools that help generate these elements are innately satisfying. Learn the happiness tools. They can change your life. Theyíve worked for others. Now itís your turn.
Adapted from by Dan Baker, Ph.D. and Cameron Stauth (Rodale Books, 2003).