Life-Affirming Ideas for Advancing Self-Interested Happiness

I am in the driver’s seat of my life. I won’t run others down on the road, and I will respect others who are on the road; but where I go is entirely up to me.

I won’t forsake either short-range fun, or long-range goals. I will seek to plan long-range, and at the same time live in and enjoy the moment (sacrificing neither to the other). One without the other won’t work. I’ll stop and ‘smell the roses’ from time to time, as I go about the business of my purposeful life.

I am innocent unless proven guilty by facts. I am correct unless proven wrong by facts and logic. My guiding premise will be ‘I’m right.’ I am open to guilt or inaccuracy, but won’t automatically assume it just because someone says so. I’m always OK—unless proven to the contrary, in which case I won’t condemn myself; I’ll merely correct myself, and move on.

Relationships are for my benefit as well as those with whom I relate. Because relationships are for my benefit, I will treat people with whom I interact well. In order for these relationships to benefit me, I must give as well as get. In giving I gain. I gain because of who they are; if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have chosen to interact with them in the first place. If they change or turn out not to be people who can add something to my life, I will reconsider the relationships.

I will always face facts and face reality, and be honest with myself. Honesty towards others is important, but not as much as honesty towards myself because it is so fundamental. Self-honesty includes being honest about my feelings, even though feelings are not always rational and don’t always have to be communicated to others.

I feel the way I do because of how I’m thinking. I can always stand back and analyze my thinking, the very thinking that gives rise to my feelings. If I feel that everything is hopeless and worthless, for example, I have the ability to challenge that assumption, to look for proof and/or evidence to the contrary. It isn’t exactly right to say I cannot control how I feel. This is because I always have the capacity to think, including about the way I feel. If I seek the help of a professional — not a bad thing — then this is what the professional ought to help me do.

Nobody else ever “makes” me feel a certain way. If somebody else does something stupid or inconsiderate, they are not responsible for the way I feel. They are responsible for whatever they do, but not for how I feel. I feel the way I do because of what I think, believe and assume. What I think, believe or assume is a result of what’s in my own mind — accurate or not, fair and reasonable or not.

My own inner security is my own responsibility. Just as nobody owes me a material living, nobody owes me inner strength. If somebody won’t love or approve of me, there’s no reason to  be upset with that person. The question is: Why do I need — or believe I need — that person’s approval in order to approve of myself? If I approve of myself, then the approval of others will mean something. Instead of being motivated by a constant feeling of  “I need,” I will be motivated by a stable emotion of, “I know.”


Be sure to “friend” Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest.