Many people think that happiness is an acquisition process. They think: “If I get what I want—relationship, career, money, or lifestyle—then I will be happy.” The truth is just the opposite. As we learned this week on Love University, Happiness is actually an “Elimination Process.” To be happy, you must first rid yourself of the things that make you unhappy: negative relationships, wrong ways of thinking, bad habits, and self-defeating actions. Once you do that, you will naturally attract the harmonious and beautiful elements of life, both internal and external, that will create the conditions for your happiness. Here is what we learned this week from Master Tanaka as he instructed the ego-driven psychiatrist, Harry, on The Secrets of Happiness:
*Happiness begins with the words “Is Not.” You must first find what happiness “is not” before you can discover what happiness “is.” Happiness is not about acquisition, accumulation, winning over people, getting ego thrills, or obtaining external prizes. It is about identifying the things that don't make you happy—chasing, fear, regret, envy, lack of self-care—and eliminating them. Once you do that, everything that remains is happiness: Inner contentment, peace, power, and satisfaction. In the end, Happiness is about actualizing your true nature and becoming the most powerful, loving, and Invincible person you can possibly be.
*Find and delete the things that make you unhappy. To be happy, you must discard the things that create misery and unhappiness in your life. For example, if you’re unhappy at work, find something about your current job that calls to your talents, and apply your abilities in that area. Or, if nothing about the work situation appeals to you, find a job or career that satisfies your soul and actualizes your true gifts. When you do that, you will have great joy and satisfaction that you are utilizing your abilities to contribute to the world and fulfilling your purpose in life.
*Don’t suffer in a bad relationship. If you’re just starting out with someone, and it doesn’t feel right, listen to your intuition. Don’t continue with that person. If the relationship is not healthy and good from the beginning, it is likely to stay that way to the end (people rarely change). If you’re already in a bad relationship, realize that the more you cling to it, the less likely you are to have a great relationship. Although it may be painful, leaving a lousy relationship is the only way to create an open space for the right person to come into your life.
The secret to happiness is simple: Get rid of what makes you unhappy so you can find what makes you happy. Delete your negative thinking (“I can’t do this,” “I’m not good enough”). Get rid of self-defeating behaviors such as procrastination, spending time with negative people, and indulging in excessive social media or mindless entertainment. When you do that, a wonderful window of opportunity and clarity will open up for you. You will know exactly what you need to do now. You need to eliminate all of the nonessentials and distractions from your life and focus on the most important thing of all: Invincible You.