Insight is Not Enough

My background is as a clinician, a counselor who worked with all manner of people, in particular people diagnosed with chronic and terminal conditions.  Understandably many of these people were depressed and/or anxious. Others had a history of trauma namely physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse, others were witness to horrific events like shootings.  Still others had disorders like borderline personality, bipolar disorder or schizotypal tendencies. Bottom line few were very happy, especially given the circumstances that brought us in contact diagnosed with chronic and terminal conditions.

Reading a recent article by Richard A. Friedman, MD, in the New York Times, I was struck by his declaration that insight about yourself is only the beginning and not a guarantee for happiness. Yes, Dr. Friedman, I could not agree more. Self-awareness is a fine and necessary attribute to cultivate. It is important to know what we do some things and not others. What motivates us and what does not? This knowledge can help you content with long routed behaviors and conflicts. Mostly likely you’ll feel less emotional pain, but necessarily more happiness.

You have to work for deep-rooted happiness, just as you need to work to foster your self-esteem and self-efficacy. Like Mama always said nothing worth having comes easy.  To enjoy work, do what you like. If you are not in a position to jump up and nab the perfect job, find what you like in your current one and focus on that. Not working to happen for you, well find what you enjoy outside of work and place your attention there.

What makes most people happy in my practice is the pursuit of happiness. The process of living in such a way that our actions at home, work and play are focused towards a greater good, while celebrating the good of now and not ignoring the negative of now too, is key.

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