At least I didn't have to call my wife for help. It's always a moral victory and a personal triumph when I can find something without needing my wife's help. Premature Invalidators can be protective in nature, keeping you from trying new things so you won't be disappointed. On the other hand, they can be poised and ready to pounce on every little mistake. It may happen in the car while driving. You may think that you made a wrong turn, but you are not certain. Before all the data has been assembled, you wage a full-scale attack on yourself even though you are merely trying to get yourself to your destination. "How could you?" tirade makes you feel like an innocent victim attacked without any warning. You feel beaten, abused and scarred. Unless you maintain your sense of humor, being around a verbal XXXXXXXXXXX can be very demoralizing. There are four verbal XXXXXXXXXXXs: Constant Complainer, Beartrapper, Herald of Disasters, and Gloom and Doomer. So, even though I am a hopeful supporter of the Information Age and an admirer of the many genius technophilanthropists who are working tirelessly to solve the world's crises, I do not believe that the Information Age, with all of its gifts and good intentions, will save us from our core issues, the fundamental human problems that encage us. It has become glaringly obvious that to transform and heal the world collectively, we must transform and heal ourselves individually. To seek happiness, it is crucial that you know what it is. It means that you must define it for yourself. If you've read Alice in Wonderland, perhaps you remember Alice asking the Cheshire Cat, Similarly, if you don't know what makes you happy, then it doesn't matter much what you do. Wives and mothers can be especially challenged by such a question as how to define happiness. This is because quite often they haven't considered what truly makes them happy for years as they are constantly caring and tending to their family. We tend to plow into things; we tend to be impulsive and impatient. We need to train ourselves to slow down and plan ahead, not easy for us.

I was just looking for the bottle of Presidente, a good Mexican brandy. We've finished dinner and I enjoy a little brandy after dinner, especially while I'm writing. There's a picture in my head of the hard working author with sleeves rolled up, cigarette dangling from his lips, eyes squinted from the smoke and with the glass of something at his right hand, pecking away on the typewriter. Identify your behavioral responses. Look carefully at the ways you try to get and maintain others' approval that you jotted down in Exercise 5.1. (For example, "I try to make people I really respect think that I am just like them by telling them all the things we have in common. Sometimes I even make things up to impress them.") Create your plan of action. Based on the insights from Aristotle and Nietzsche, make another creative list of the things you would do differently. This new list will be your plan of action! Beartrapper is the person who reaches out for help, support, assistance, or advice, and then refuses it, explaining that whatever you are proposing won't work, didn't work, or the situation is more complicated than you can even imagine. This is a lose/lose dynamic. Nothing will work. Things are truly hopeless, and the "helper" doesn't understand how bad it is. These people are also called "help-rejecting complainers." This syndrome is called "beartrapping" because the person soliciting help opens up a trap into which the helper with the best of intentions insert his foot. The trap is then closed on the foot, and the "bear" or helper feels trapped, annoyed, and becomes angry. Her latest calamity is that we will all die of cancer. She is predicting another earthquake. If disease, seismic activity, and financial ruin don't destroy us, then a nuclear attack will be our demise. Mary Alice wants everyone to be prepared for all disasters, and she takes her job as a herald quite seriously. Add a Shame-Attacking Exercise!

Finally, prayer can be a wonderful way to prepare for restful sleep. Don't feel guilty about falling asleep while praying. Remember, Saint Therese of Lisieux once said that just as a surgeon puts his patients to sleep before operating, the Divine Physician often puts his patients to sleep when he intends to work the deepest change. Instead of fighting your drowsiness during nighttime prayer, remember when you used to fall asleep in your mother's arms. Rest in God. Bring him your concerns. Ask God to hold you close to his heart. Focus on your breathing. Thank God for caring for you and providing each breath you take. Every time you exhale, say (in your head) "Jesus, I trust in you." Fall asleep in the arms of the God who loves you and provides for all of your needs. A first cousin of Herald of Disaster is Gloom and Doomer. The difference between the two is that Heralds of Disaster is urgent, panicky, and focused on specific disastrous events. Gloom and Doomers have a hopeless tone to them. They are resigned to things being hopeless, helpless, and unalterable. They never become frantic or upset. In fact their reactions are flat. "It can't be done, if it hasn't been done before it isn't going to happen now." These are the people who told the Wright brothers, "If man were meant to fly, God would have given him wings." If you have a new invention, don't tell one of them, because they will definitely throw dirt on your sparks. If you are ready to break old habits and change the way you operate, then read on and discover how this condition became what it is today. Many people live as if happiness is a commodity to be bought, or stolen. Some struggle in vain to find happiness through the shopping for and acquisition of clothing, electronics, and a new car.

But eventually we discover that this is fruitless. Others define happiness as the experience of obtaining a goal such as finding a better job, getting married, having a child, or going on a really exciting adventure. These could all be classified as peak happiness events. But these peak events do not indicate someone will have a happy life when day-to-day existence sets in. Many people who are depressed are married, have children, have a good job, and take great vacations. So, are most of the things we think we need to be happy actually relevant to happiness? Were there happy people before gadgets and machines? It is easy to forget that the men who propagated "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" did not have electricity or flush toilets. The advent of electricity and indoor plumbing had not happened yet. In fact, it was not until Teddy Roosevelt's presidency that indoor plumbing began to arrive in the White House along with a single telephone line. When we step back and examine our society, many of us may be quite surprised at how undereducated we are in terms of happiness. What we are taught is to be successful, with the unspoken message that success brings with it happiness--this is logical. But looking back at the statistics that the wealthiest societies in the world are medicating themselves for depression, anxiety, and sleep disorder, it is clearly not the case. Happiness is what every single person says he or she wants, but we know almost nothing about getting it. We are provided almost no education on how to obtain happiness, or even how to define it. I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, my friends and I received no guidance on how to become happy, no mentorship, no basic education. I cannot remember a single discussion at home, in school, or among my friends. It was not mentioned in our school curriculums, and there was no happiness textbook, class, conference, or afterschool discussion. In our community, parents held fundraising dinners to raise money for new equipment for the varsity football team, but there were no fundraisers for educating the youth on happiness. I can't find anything if it's not where I expected or if it looks different than I expected.

If I'm looking in the refrigerator for the pickles, and they're on a higher shelf than I thought, I'll look there but I won't find them. If the jar is different than I expected, I can look right at it and not see it. Oliver Sacks, a noted neurologist, just had an article in the New Yorker about his cognitive impairment, prosopagnosia, not being able to recognize faces, surprisingly a not uncommon problem. I'm good at recognizing faces, but poor at remembering the name that goes with the face. The not seeing things I think is a similar problem to the prosopagnosia, but I don't know a fancy name for it. Both are probably based on a brain mis-wiring. It's now time to implement your plan of action. This is where you can begin to work toward your guiding virtues of unconditional self-acceptance and authenticity and begin to emotionally accept the fact that you do not need others' approval to be a worthy person. Here are three key ideas to keep in mind when you put your action plan into practice: If my self-worth depended on others' approval of me as a person, many of the greatest benefactors of humanity would be rejects and losers. In demanding the approval of others, I turn myself into the slave of others. What kind of best friend am I to torment and degrade myself over getting someone's approval? There are strategies for this not finding problem. My best one is to call my wife. It also helps if I follow the old fashioned principle, "I have a place for everything and everything is in it's place." I don't like the prissy way that sounds and I don't follow it too well. However, I do try to put something away when I'm done with it, rather than just laying it down wherever I am and "Oh, I'll get to it later." If it's in the right place, I'm more likely to find it, if it looks like I expected. I can try to remember to look more carefully, and use strategies like remembering to look behind things, and to look up and down. But the fact is, even if I'm looking right at it, I still may not see it. Happiness is the most important universal intangible that every single person wants, yet it isn't on our radars as a topic to study, or even to discuss. It is as if it were to just spontaneously happen--like puberty. As teenagers, we all wanted happiness, but how to find it?