Saturday, May 24, 2014

Do I Deserve Happiness?


In the book, The Automatic Millionaire, authors Hansen and Allen say three things are needed in order to become wealthy:  desire, belief, and self-acceptance.   Self-acceptance is defined as the belief that one deserves wealth.  According to the authors, if you don’t believe you deserve wealth you either won’t attain it or you will lose if you do get it.  The word “deserve” got my attention.
What do I deserve?  What do any of us deserve?  Do we deserve to be wealthy, happy and loved?  Do we deserve good health?  Do we deserve healthy relationships?
Everyone deserves to be loved, but for all the rest…
No.
Those are things that must be earned and maintained.  We do, however, deserve the right to have access to those things.  Here’s what else we deserve. 
·      Healthcare
·      Peace
·      Safety
·      Food and water
·      Clothing and shelter
·      A stable and loving family environment.
Everything else has to be earned.  People often complain about the unfairness of their specific situations, but the truth is that most people, especially those born in America, have access to a great number of resources and possibilities.  Even those born in poverty have access to at least some of these resources.
Here’s what I’ve found in my life and the lives of others:
First, most people start at a disadvantage.  It might be poverty, a highly dysfunctional family, a physical disability of some kind, or a lack of access to resources.  It might also be a lack of knowledge about resources.   It might be a lack of education.  Recently, there was a  lot of talk about the 1%.  That is, 1% of the country has more wealth than the other 99%.  I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I know that greed exists, as do racism, sexism and the differentiation of economic classes.
Some are born into better circumstances.  Others work their way into better circumstances.  Others may cheat, lie, or steal their way into better circumstances.  (I don’t believe the latter will find their circumstances truly better.)  Still, better circumstances exist.  I know this because I see other people have them.  Do I deserve better also?
Again, “deserve” may be the wrong word.  Despite the disparity in income, one thing most of us have today, that we didn’t have even 20 years ago, is access to knowledge.   Much of this comes not only from a multitude of books and other printed material, but also from the Internet.  There is so much I can learn, and in a relatively shorter amount of time.  I don’t even have to go to the library or the bookstore.  Much of what I need in knowledge and ideas is available at my fingertips, and much of it is free.  For example, http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?sort_order=downloads&start_index=26 has over 45,000 books that, many of them classics, that I can download for free.   As a writer, this is extraordinarily valuable.
There are other resources in other fields of study, including politics, faith, finances, education, and more.  What is required is time and diligence.  I need to use my time wisely and well.  If I want to advance as a writer, a father, an employee, or a student, I need to keep my mind on my goals.
So, to personalize it, let me ask these questions:
·      Do I deserve to be happy?
·      Do I deserve healthy relationships?
·      Do I deserve my house on the beach?
·      Do I deserve the kind of lifestyle that allows me to live with my Muse?

If I believe I don’t then I’m probably not going to get those things or I’m going to sabotage my efforts.  The truth is, I only deserve them if I work for them.  I need to do the external work of earning money or continuing to write.  I also need to the internal work of fighting fear, apathy, laziness, anger, regret, or anything else that gets in my way of reaching my goals.  Psychologist Abraham Maslow says that self-esteem comes through accomplishment.  I agree.
Sometimes good or bad things happen outside of my control, things I don’t deserve, but even then, my response to those events can determine my destiny.  We do deserve most of what we get.  I’d like to get good things.  I’d like to get to the best of what God and life have to offer.  I’d like to Get Started and Keep Going…because the world and those I love deserve my best.