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After my own writings, I turn to Frank Moscas works as the best description of the Option Method.

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Is Happiness Your Road Not Taken?

+ Is Happiness Your Road Not Taken?

[ Posted on 09.14.2015 ]

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I learned Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken when I was a kid in grammar school and it has stayed with me all these years.   I especially love these last three lines, which for me, sum up what it means to follow your own heart, even if it leads you down an unfamiliar path.  I love to think about this within the context of happiness and unhappiness.  If you were presented with two paths in any given situation, one to happiness – the other to unhappiness – however you imagine it, which path do you think you would take?

Most of us would probably say, I would always choose the path to happiness.  After all, who wouldn’t want to be happy?  Why would we ever choose otherwise?  Who would choose to be unhappy, a state of being we all agree is painful?  Yet, we do choose unhappiness every time we believe the path to happiness is closed to us.  Whenever we say being happy would be bad for me or impossible for me right now,  we choose the second best thing to being happy – unhappiness.

Looking at choosing unhappiness as a second-best choice to happiness puts a very special spin on it. It is still a choice, but a choice based on two key beliefs.  First is the belief in the inaccessbility of what we are really after – being happy.  Second is the belief that unhappiness will work to get us happiness.  If you doubt this, the next time you are unhappy, ask yourself this question:  What would I be afraid would happen if I were not unhappy?  Often the answer to this question will be exactly what you believe you need to do to be happy.

So for example, imagine that you lose your job.  You have a choice how to feel about that.  If you believe it would be bad for you to be happy, you may well choose to be unhappy.   Why?  Each person will have their own reasons, but a very common reason is this – If I am happy, people won’t see that I need help.  Or, I won’t do anything to change the situation.  Thinking this way, feeling bad seems like a strategy to get help and make sure we do what is necessary.  Our belief is ultimately that once we have what we need to fix our situation, then we will be happy.

So if we want to be happy, why not just take the path to happiness and escape all the pain and suffering of unhappiness?  Isn’t it enough that we lost our job?  Do we have to be unhappy as well?  Just realizing that we have a choice is a good start.   Perhaps it really doesn’t matter whether we choose one way or the other, as long as we realize that it is truly our choice and we are always free to choose differently.

For some people, this idea of choice can be a stumbling block to happiness instead of a “Get out of Jail Free Card.”   The essence of the stumbling block may be to say, If the choice exists, there must be a reason and that reason is bad for my happiness.   One of the reasons that comes up is this:   If I chose unhappiness in the past, there is something within me that will make me choose it again.   Believing this means you are looking at your past behavior as an indicator of how you will behave in the future.  This is a perfect opportunity to ask why.  Why do you believe that?  In questioning this belief, you may find that what seems like an ingrained pattern is not immutable.  Rather, it is the result of choices we make again and again that we don’t realize are choices.

This idea that we choose our emotions according to what we believe is the core teaching of The Option Method as taught by Bruce Di Marsico.  Learn to change the way you think about happiness though Option Method Dialogues with our master teachers.

Wendy Dolber

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Unhappiness is the belief that you’re not free.

[ Bruce Di Marsico ]