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The Road to Happiness

Photo by Caleb Whiting on Unsplash

As children, we learn how to feel, think and act. Over time, we reinforce these ways of feeling, thinking, and acting until they become psychological habits deeply ingrained within us. Unfortunately, some of these habits may get in the way of happiness, causing emotional harm to ourselves and straining our relationships with others.

Thankfully, as adults, we have the ability to change these habits. The first step is gain insight into our habits and where they come from. This is what psychologists call ‘making the unconscious conscious.' As this process unfolds, we naturally become aware of new ways to feel, think, and act that never seemed possible before. The final step is to bring this new insight and awareness into our daily lives and give ourselves the opportunity to make emotionally healthier choices.

Making these better choices gets easier over time, but old habits don't magically disappear. Instead, it's like a car whose tires are a little out of alignment so that the car always drifts to one side. If you’re not aware of that drift and don't correct for it then you’ll keep swerving off the road, resulting in the same old self-defeating outcome. The key to driving straight is understanding why you tend to swerve and learning how to adjust the steering wheel. After some practice, this course correction gradually gets easier and feels almost like second nature.

You may wonder whether it's possible to actually “fix” the car, to completely erase old psychological habits. The bad news is not really, but the good news is that your history doesn't define you; it's whether you choose to change that determines your future. The goal is learning to grab hold of the wheel so you can steer your life toward the road to happiness.

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