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GATEWAY TO HAPPINESS

situations as challenges to your ability to perceive things in a positive manner. What previously caused you discomfort can now be a rewarding and growth-filled experience. When you have mastered the new way of looking at things, your emotions will be consistent with that outlook.

4. Unrealistic expectations are at the heart of much of our emotional pain. We feel upset and disappointed when our expectations are not met. If we did not have unrealistic expectations, we would not suffer so much. Clarify what you can actually expect from the world. Is it realistic to think that everything will always work out exactly as you wish? Of course not. If you give up your unrealistic demands of how things must be, you will save yourself much needless disappointment.

5. People frequently say, “He made me sad,” or, “It got me upset.” This implies that external factors are the cause of their emotions and they are not able to do anything about it. The reality is that external events cannot make you sad or upset; you do so yourself by what you tell yourself about external events. Get into the habit of saying, “I make myself sad because of what I tell myself about his actions or words,” or, “I make myself upset because of what I tell myself about what happened.” When you speak in these terms, you are accepting the responsibility for your reactions. This will serve as an incentive to change your thoughts and attitudes from those with which you make yourself unhappy to those with which you enable yourself to be happy.

3.4 You have the ability to view an event or situation in many ways. Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz (1874-1936) of the Mir made an observation that should be read very carefully. The point he raises is so important for a mastery of happiness that it should be read a number of times: When a person is born, he finds the world in a certain organized fashion. As he grows up, he tries to adjust himself to the assumptions that are accepted in the world. He views each event that occurs with the same perspective as the other people of the generation. These perspectives originated in the past and have been handed down from parents to children. These assumptions are taken for granted to such an extent that most people react to the accepted perspective of the world as if they were laws of the universe that cannot be changed. They are accepted as reality and are not challenged. Only a small minority of people obtain the necessary wisdom to look at the world with complete objectivity. They take a critical look at each and every thing and try to understand everything as it really is instead of accepting the general prevalent outlook. (Daas Chochmah Umussar, vol. 1, pp.75-6)

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HAPPINESS IS DEPENDENT ON YOUR THOUGHTS

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