Psychological Self-Help

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1176
How to be happy--determinism
Many people would say, "I just want to be happy." It is a worthy
goal but few people know how to find happiness. Some would say they
want to have a good education and an interesting career. Others would
say they want a loving spouse and a nice family. Others want a career,
a family, good health, good friends, a nice house, two sharp cars, good
relationships with both families, and enough money to take an
extended vacation each year and to be comfortable. What would you
say you need to be happy? 
In our culture, almost everyone has a list of needs or wants. We
want pleasures--good looks, a good sexual relationship, friendships,
fun experiences, etc., etc. We want possessions--a good sound
system, a sporty car, nice clothes, etc., etc. We all need some
pleasure in life. But, the problem is when we start to believe that
pleasures and possessions are the way to be happy. Once we begin to
think that way, we start to say "if I just had _(an education, a
boyfriend, a good job, a happy marriage, enough money to retire, a
good relationship with my family...) _, I'd be happy." Our
achievements and acquisitions have become the source of our
happiness. We are soon in trouble: we don't get all that we want; we
always want more, not matter how much we have. Old pleasures lose
their thrill; possessions quickly become an old inferior model. There is
always something excitingly newer, better, faster, bigger, and more
expensive. 
Once you say "I need ____ to be happy," you have created a self-
destructive mind game. Happiness can not be based on having
possessions; cars break down, houses deteriorate, clothes quickly go
out of style, etc. Happiness can not be based on pleasures; marriages
fall apart, friends drift away, power fades, eating and drinking make us
fat, etc. OK, what can happiness be based on? An accepting frame of
mind; a tolerance of whatever is because whatever is, is right.
Whatever happens in life is lawful (see method #4 in chapter 14). It
takes time to understand this viewpoint. Look into it carefully. 
A belief in determinism is not a helpless-hopeless position; it is not
being without goals, preferences, opinions, or values. In fact, it is
important to have a respected mission in life and to have high values;
they are great sources of pleasure. It is important that you use the
laws of behavior to do your best, that you help others, and that you
try to make the world better. But after you have done your best, you
must accept the outcome, regardless of what it is (Mikulas, 1983).
Do your best on a job or in a relationship, but accept being dismissed
or rejected, if that is what happens. Accept reality. Unconditional
positive regard of others and of yourself is a major factor in finding
happiness. 
Other factors contributing to happiness include learning to have
some influence over your world, to be able to make your situation
better, and to have confidence in your self-control. To become happy it
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