Diary of a Happy Therapist: Jumping for Joy, Part II

Taking the step of forgiveness on the journey to Happiness.

Everyone has  their own way of doing things.  The path of Happiness looks different for each person.  On July 24th I took a giant step toward happiness. A step from 13,000 feet above Erda (just west of Tooele). 

Since April I have immersed myself in the study of Happiness, primarily relying on the text from The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky.  In the book, she does a GREAT job of offering specific, empirically based paths toward Happiness.  While she DOES touch on the issues of ceasing behavior that contributes to our unhappiness, in my opinion, that part of the equation is not emphasized enough.  Striving for happiness while thwarted by unhappy habits is counter productive.  So as part of this new beginning I took an honest look at my own behavior and realized there is a lot of room for improvement.  Rather than being deflated by this realization, I was excited!  For each unhappy habit I identified, I knew this was more weight I could let go and thereby become even happier.

First on the list was forgiveness.  As I have taught in the class, I believe forgiveness to be more a process than a finish line.  So, on the morning of the jump, I wrote down each person I felt any traces of resentment and forgave them – including myself.  Many of us were taught that we should forgive and move on, never to dwell on the offense again.  Some claim to have the ability to forgive major offenses quickly and easily, never to think of it again.  For the majority of people, this expectation only leads to guilt and frustration when feelings of resentment rise again.  You may have said words to yourself like “I thought I already forgave this person!  Why can’t I seem to let it go?”  So, as I took another step on the pathof forgiveness, I remembered that forgiveness is a process – that some of these people I have forgiven before and was open to the possibility that I may feel the need to forgive them again in the future.  That said, after four hours of journaling, I felt cleansed and ready to start a new chapter in my life as a happier person.

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