I'm sorry to break it to you, but there is no secret.
Updated: May 17
A quick walk through the aisles at Barnes & Noble confirms that we are an unhappy society. How do I know? All I had to do was look through the titles of the selections offered, each promising to teach the reader the secret to finding happiness and fulfillment. I have thumbed through several of these titles to see what is being offered, and I can't help but shake my head.
Before I go on, I must stress that I am not trying to put down anyone's methods. I must believe that many of these books and programs have been written by people who have had an "Aha!" moment in their lives and, riding that high, wanted to share what worked for them with others. After all, wouldn't you want to do the same if you'd spent a majority of your life in the grips of depression or anxiety, or battling addiction? Would it not be a natural desire to want to share what one had learned with the world?
The problem is that much of the branding makes it seem as though these tools are anything more than common sense approaches to life. Every few years, some new form of therapy comes along and everyone jumps on the bandwagon. People who are suffering will seek it out because it has worked for some celebrity or other, so it must be the cure all.
It is so much more complex that this.
No one has a magic word that is suddenly going to make life have meaning for you. No one is going to come along and give you the tools for happiness. Those things must and will come from within YOU. You know you better than anyone else ever will... certainly more than some self-help guru putting pen to paper. What worked for someone else may or may not work for you. At the end of the day, what really must happen for you to be on the path to a better life, is for you to decide to put the work into it.
Therapy does not work because a therapist has some preternatural ability to divine what you need to be a better person. Therapy works because of the very human relationship you develop with your therapist, the trust and empathy and knowledge that it is a safe space to explore your feelings.
Do you think you're worth it?