How to use neuroscience to make you happier
This is a paraphrased headline I read this week. The article offers five tips. They’re pretty good: get sun, breathe, etc.
Here’s the problem.
If I do something to make me happier I am still operating in the world of the young child for whom the whole world exists just for them. This is a necessary stage but it makes for a poor adult life. It misses something that gives life meaning. It treats the world as a huge shopping mall from which we choose the things that we want.
I hear this a lot in our language about relationships. “She doesn’t meet my needs.” “Is he enough for me?”. These are good things to think about but again, it misses something.
Our partners don’t exist to meet our needs. Neither does life. That’s how two-year olds experience life. A beautiful stage.
But as we grow up we have the opportunity to act as ourselves. To live. To inter-act with the world as our full selves.
There is another problem too — the headline evokes an impulse to look outside myself. “Oh! This article will help!” Again, we need these writers — they help us understand ourselves. But the way the headlines are written and the way the experts tell us what to do undermines something important.
Headlines offering us the world appeal to that young part that sees the world as full of magical candy stores. And that’s OK. But it is important to recognize what we are chasing. Magic.
What’s real? Us. And our grown in power.
There are many ways to grow that power. Therapy is a great one. As are practices such as yoga and meditation. But practice. And practice well.
Because we’re needed.
And if we are over there in an article offering us the secret sauce we’re not in our selves.
And our selves is where the possibilities lie. Our selves inter-acting.
Here is the healing. And the hope. And, dare I say, the happiness.
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