Saturday, March 26, 2005



"I am not happy, I am cheerful. There is a difference. A happy woman has no cares at all. A cheerful woman has cares but has learned to deal with them." Beverly Sills, 1929 - American Opera Singer

And maybe, that's what happiness is all about. To learn to deal with our "cares". How do we start to do that? The first step is to accept to feel. As a therapist, I know the value of helping clients feel and learn to deal with the feeling in a healthy way, however painful the feeling is. What works in therapy is also valid for everybody who does not need therapy but still has life situations that bring up feelings we would rather not have. And we all have those. Some people say they don't, but I believe that a large portion of the population is terminally disconnected to themselves.

Raphael Cushnir in his book, Setting your Heart on Fire, explains how shutting out our feelings just keeps them stuck inside where they continue to torment us and how we consequently spend our lives acting out what's bothering us.

The only way out of the misery is through. Feel fully. Easy to say you may think.
I know from experience that feeling the pain and staying with it is a process that works. The more present we are to what we feel, the more empowered we become. The more present, the more chances to take effective action to change what's not working.

Next time you hear yourself thinking "I don't want to feel that" or you see yourself reaching for your usual non-effective way out, stop. Stay with what's happening. That's the only way you can make the changes that will give you happiness.

Marguerite Tennier, M.A.

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