Martha Beck on Choosing Happiness

A snake at the Baltimore Aquarium.


The last few weeks I've been going back and forth about a decision I need to make. I know that I don't want to do this Thing, and it will likely lead to unhappiness in my everyday life. A tough choice, if it comes to that, given how hard I've worked to establish a calm, happy, loving home. The Thing came at the same time as another opportunity that puts my heart on the opposite end of the spectrum - excited; energized for the work.


I know it seems obvious to you which option I should choose, but it's more difficult than that viewing it from here. Clearing out some files I came across an article by Martha Beck that I snipped out of O Magazine a couple of years ago and it helped me. Perhaps it will help you too:


"I labored for decades to make sad people happy, rigid people flexible, aggressive people empathetic, and so on, before finally noticing that (1) this never worked, and (2) it drove me insane...The key, I've found, is to stay the heck away from the idea of "making" someone do, feel, or think anything. This is not your job. Your job is to maximize your own happiness, kindness, and health. Let others choose whether to follow...You've already had enough life experience to notice when a situation, a person, or a task is marked "poison." Remember how much that situation hurt the last time, and choose one that feels better now. Take small steps, lying down often along the way. Tell the truth and stay in your own business. Anything else is poison."


--Martha Beck


and Heidi

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