Be the leading expert on your happiness.
I experienced manic depression as a child. My cycles were months long. So, both the manic and depressive periods lasted several weeks. By the time I was 18 years old I was determined to live a life unburdened with it or end mine. I’m in my mid-forties now and have lived a balanced and happy adult life. I want to tell you the single most important thing I’ve learned.
You are the only person who can become the leading expert on your happiness.
I have found that I can maintain my happiness if I am honest with myself while always trying to improve. Maybe that makes sense to you, maybe not. Finding what works for you rationally, can only be done from your perspective. You have to start where you are to get to where you're going. The answer has to make sense to you. It has to be rational.
You are the only one who can grab the reigns and take control. But you can do it.
Take all the help you can get of course, but don’t give up your power. Don’t let anybody convince you that they are in a better position than you are to be the leading expert on your happiness.
What do I Mean by Happiness?
Think of it as a state of being rather than an emotion. Its counterparts are depression and mania.
For anybody who has not experienced the dark cold emptiness of depression or the exhilarating, walking on the clouds, I am the lightning bolt, feeling that is mania, the concept is odd. Because they have only ever known happiness.
Being happy is just feeling normal. Not being crazy high nor down in the dumps. So, I can be happy and still be sad when something bad happens. The difference is that if my overall state is happiness then the sadness can be dealt with rationally. I can feel it and process it. Does this make sense? I’m using happiness to mean the opposite of mania or depression, not the opposite of sadness which is joy.
Figure out the definitions that work best for your thinking. Words do not have meanings, they are symbols of meaning. Use them in whatever way is the most rational for your thinking. Words aid us in our search but they are not themselves the meaning we search for.
Professionals Can Help You Become the Expert
Therapists, psychiatrists, astrologists, friends, medium writers, advisers, books, youtube videos, etc. are all excellent tools to help you become the leading expert on your own happiness but none of them know more about you than you do. Or, at least, none of them know more than you can if you give yourself permission to take control.
Neuroscience has come a long way but we are still very far from understanding how the brain functions. They follow scientific procedure and thus the results can be considered reliable. However, the scientific process works by abstracting the subject from reality.
For an experiment to be reliable it has to be controlled by removing any factors that could affect the results. Thus, what is factual is the result. Conclusions drawn from those facts are speculative. The more factors at play that were not part of the experiment the more abstracted from the results and therefore the less reliable any conclusions become.
There is nothing wrong with this of course. It’s the best way we know of to get reliable information. As long as we remember to assign varying degrees of certainty based on how removed we are from the test conditions we are thinking rationally.
Psychology and astrology can both be helpful but neither one adheres to the scientific method to remove bias. Information from these sources is useful, but not “factual”. Use what works for you. But, don’t feel constrained by professional opinions. Be rational. If they make sense to you, maybe they’ll make sense for you. If not, maybe not.
Claiming something is a fact when there’s no way to know that for sure is irrational. We just need to remember that everyone including the professionals is guessing.
We are all groping around in the dark. They may have found a bunch of stuff but that does not necessarily mean that what they found is useful to you. Maybe it is. Check it out. See what you think.
The professionals know more than you about the subject they studied. But you are not a category in a textbook. They will never have your perspective and they will never have the time or attention that you have to do the work necessary to become the expert on your happiness. I say pull ideas from whatever sources inspire you, as long as you can use them in a rational way.
After all, that's what the professionals do. They just have their own biases and perspectives. The key is remaining rational in regards to, your needs which only you can figure out, and your perspective which only you have.
All practical rational learning comes from experimentation. You can memorize a procedure, but it’s not until you actually try it that you’re able to learn how. You can’t learn to drive by memorizing the required movements and laws. You don’t really learn what the various ideas mean until you attempt implementation. You have to get out there and drive. Of course, you won’t be very good at it to start, but it's the only way to learn.
Don’t be afraid to try different things. Try different approaches. There is no logical reason to ever accept a defeatist attitude from somebody who is supposed to be helping you. I simply reject the idea that happiness is unobtainable for some. I think anybody can learn to live a balanced happy life if they learn how to take the reigns and steer their own destiny.
The only way I could ever learn how to be happy was to try different things and adapt and grow along the way. If something you’ve been doing isn’t working try something else.
If a professional is telling you something that doesn’t seem right, maybe they’re wrong. Be the expert on your happiness even if it means disagreeing with a professional or refusing to take a loved one's advice.
Nothing succeeds like success. If it works it works, who cares if somebody else thinks it shouldn’t, even if they are very important. I have heard a lot of bad advice from absolutists. Nobody has definite answers. When somebody acts like they do I assume they know even less than the rest of us; because you can’t learn if you won’t admit there’s stuff ya don’t know.
Find out what works for you even if the professionals don’t agree. Be the leading expert on your happiness.