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Tell yourself the truth EVEN IF it makes you happy

In virtually any discussion on optimism and the pursuit of happiness, SOMEONE is almost guaranteed to utter some variation of the following:

“Optimism is good, but it’s also important to be honest and not delude ourselves about the real stuff that’s going on in the world.”

Usually, when these sorts of statements are made, the word “honest” means “negative” and the term “real stuff” means “bad stuff.”

I get it.

It’s a wise sentiment. It makes a great deal of sense. It needs to be said.


Here’s something else that needs to be said if we’re going to have an honest discussion about being honest:

Lying to one’s self is STILL an unhealthy practice EVEN when those lies consists of socially acceptable rants about how powerless we all are. To deny one’s ability to influence his own state of mind is NO LESS ABSURD than to deny the fact that there are challenges in the world. 

It’s delusional to lie to yourself about feeling good when you really feel like crap.

But it’s also delusional to lie to yourself about being unable to create positive changes.

The truth is truth even when it’s not negative. The truth is truth even when it sounds cheesy. The truth is truth even when it makes you laugh. The truth is truth even when it takes your attention away from a problem.

The notion that one must either be unhappy or delusional is a false dilemma.

Lying to yourself is what happens when you deliberately misrepresent the truth.

Happiness is what happens when you tell yourself the truth in an empowering way.

Being happy does NOT require you to ignore your hardships. It simply invites you to look beyond them.

Optimism isn’t about denial. It’s about determination; the determination to decide our own internal state independently of external conditions; the determination to live even in the face of pending doom and inevitable death.

So, YES, Tell yourself the truth EVEN IF it makes you happy!


T.K. Coleman

Don’t micromanage your emotions

Having a bad day?

Feeling like you’re in a bit of a funk and can’t figure out why?

Feeling bad may not be the problem. The real issue may be that you’re feeling bad about feeling bad.

What’s wrong with me?

We all deal with various emotions throughout the day, but the ones who seem to be happiest and healthiest are those who allow themselves to feel whatever they feel without negative judgement.

Being sad or frustrated is a passing inconvenience, but labeling yourself as lazy, immature, unlucky, unenlightened, or evil as a response to what you’re feeling, is a fast and easy way to turn temporary discomfort into long-term suffering.

“But aren’t we SUPPOSED to be happy?”

I believe that “happiness” (as long as we define that term precisely enough) is the goal of life, but sometimes the best way to reach a goal is to back up a bit and pursue it indirectly.

C.S. Lewis wrote,  “the man who tries to measure how quickly he’s falling asleep is likely to remain awake all night.”

Constantly checking up on our happiness quotient typically results in more stress and often ends in a self-perpetuating loop of negative reinforcement.

Too much direct effort can lead to emotional micro-management and “analysis paralysis.”

Rather than attempting to change the way you feel, try changing the context within which your feelings are processed.

Building healthy habits turns happiness into a habit

One of the most practical habits you can develop is setting a few clearly defined goals that require you to take small, but specific, action steps towards results that are personally important to you.

These goals should be creatively fulfilling and mildly challenging. It’s usually best to choose goals that are separate from your existing familial and professional obligations. Make it about you and something selfish you would like to be, do, or have.

Most importantly, these goal MUST be significant enough to you that, even on your worst day, you will still be able to recognize the “beyond the moment” benefits they’ll bring to you by remaining committed.

What does this have to do with happiness and having a bad day?

As it turns out, quite a bit.

A sense of purpose not only enriches our lives in ways that far exceed being comfortable or problem free, but it also provides a context for our feelings that literally transforms emotions into creative energy.

When you’re living life with intention, you don’t feel bad about feeling bad because you experience the energy behind your emotions differently from those who lack what Napoleon Hill called “definiteness of purpose.”

To the creator, feelings aren’t burdens to carry, they’re a valuable source of fuel that can help drive you towards your own decided destiny.

That’s my two cents.


T.K. Coleman

You can be happy even if you’re unhappy

Here’s a distinction I’ve found to be useful:

There’s a difference between being happy ABOUT something and being happy IN SPITE of something.

Being happy ABOUT something means you feel good when you focus your attention on it. It’s the way you feel about your favorite sport, your best friend, an upcoming vacation, a delicious meal, or a nice run of good luck.

Being happy IN SPITE of something means you make the choice to not allow that particular thing to ruin your day IN SPITE of the fact that you dislike it.

You don’t have to make yourself feel happy ABOUT the things you hate in order to live happily IN SPITE of the things you hate.

There will always be something to be unhappy about

No matter how much you accumulate or achieve, there will always be things going on in the world that displease you. If you win the lottery today, there will still be people somewhere who are starving to death. Does it make you happy to think ABOUT that? I doubt it! If you’re fortunate enough to work at your dream job in 5 years, there will still be people somewhere who are overworked and underpaid. Does it make you happy to think ABOUT that? I doubt it! Even if you’re in perfect health, someone somewhere is dying painfully of an incurable disease. Does it make you happy to think ABOUT that? I doubt it!

If happiness requires the elimination of that which is unwanted from our world, then our pursuit is hopeless. If any measure of happiness is attainable in this life, then we must learn how to be happy IN SPITE of the things that displease us.

I’m an unhappy optimist

For the most part, I’m happy all the time. But I’m not happy about everything. If I use common standards, then I would say there are at least a hundred things going on in my personal life right now that I have a legitimate reason to be unhappy ABOUT. Yet, I am not unhappy.

Sheer determination and will power? No!

If I possessed those traits, my abs would be in a far more advanced state.

There are a few things I’ve come to understand about being happy. In Tomorrow’s post, I’ll share some of them. It wont be an exhaustive list, but I hope you’ll find it useful.

I hope you’ll join me. In the meantime, create a great day.


T.K. Coleman

Kiss the Frog: Creating happiness through the power of appreciation

The fear of being stuck with happiness

Everybody wants to be happy.

Even though we all want to be happy in theory, we don’t always give ourselves permission.

Why would we do that? Because happiness is considered to be dangerous.

Although every one wants to feel good, we fear that being happy will pacify us and ultimately destroy us.

Unhappiness is like an abusive lover that we’re afraid to leave because we don’t believe in our ability to get through life successfully without having him in our lives.

We’re afraid to love our lives as they are because we fear being stuck with an unwanted condition.

If we allow ourselves to be happy NOW, even though we have some things going on that we don’t like, we fear we might become complacent.

To many people, being happy no matter what sounds identical to settling for less. On the surface, it seems so much more responsible to analyze what’s wrong than to appreciate what’s right.

Appreciation might be the moral thing to do, but who wants to get stuck with a mediocre life? So we dismiss appreciation as a waste of time and dive right into the bad stuff. After all, that’s what we’re trying to get rid of, right? So WHY NOT focus more on the bad stuff?

Rethinking the concept of appreciation

Well, contrary to popular belief, appreciation is not just an act of maturity. It’s an act of creativity. When we highlight and emphasize what’s good about our lives, we ascend to a level of consciousness that empowers us to create more of the same.

There are some who would have you believe that you shouldn’t be happy as long as there are things wrong with your life or the world. This idea is based on the notion that happiness is just a fleeting emotional sensation. At its deepest level, however, Joy is a creative force. When you feel good, you are in alignment with the very energy that creates worlds. And no state of being is more powerful or productive than that.

Waiting for your life to improve before you choose to be happy would be like the princess waiting for the frog to turn into a prince BEFORE she kissed it. It doesn’t work that way. At some point you just gotta pucker up and love all the ugly aspects of your life. Because you enjoy kissing frogs? No! Because your prince is trapped inside of there and you’re not going to let “being grossed out” keep you separate from him.

But you’ve gotta kiss the frog FIRST.

“I aint kissing that bleeping frog”, you may be thinking.

Well you don’t get to see the prince of your dreams until you chuck it up and kiss that ugly thing sitting over there.

“I’ll really live life once it becomes lovable” we think. But you have to love your life until it becomes livable.

That’s what tough-minded optimism is all about!

What are your thoughts?

Cheers 🙂

T.K. Coleman

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