Part III:

The Decision to Be Happy


Romanticism

The second edition of Random House Unabridged dictionary defines romanticism in many ways among the most illustrative being: fanciful; impractical, unrealistic as in romantic ideas, as well as, the idealization of love or one's beloved. Our culture is steeped in romanticism, the earlier versions of which were the star crossed lovers of Romeo and Juliet type, the latter versions were of True Romance type, where all one had to do is find the right person and "live happily forever after". These ideas are fanciful indeed and could not be further from the truth.


Scientific/Existentialistic/Pragmatic Approach

The psychologist Paul A. Hauck among many others tried to disabuse people of this idea in a book "Marriage is a Loving Business." The Conquest of Happiness is another title that comes to mind that expresses the scientific approach to happiness. Happiness not only has to be fought for and won, but the battle must continue over and over again in order to retain it.


Momentous Decision

But first one better decide that happiness is worth striving for and that one is deserving to be happy no matter of handicaps one has or misdeeds one has done. REBT, among many other philosophies and psychologies, shows the way to arrive at this point. Blessed are those who have not bought into the concepts of nobleness of suffering, the deservedness of shame or guilt based on their past missteps, and are free from the idea that a run of the mill neurotics, which are all of us, have their character cast in concrete by the age of five, just because his parents looked at him crosseyed. These blessed people can just decide, "I will strive to be as happy as I can, understanding that no one can ever be perfectly happy. Now where do I start?"

 

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Copyright © Gunars K. Neiders, PhD. 1996