“A whole lot of people learn unhappiness from their family” he explains. “We are handed a point of view at a young age; we are programmed by our parents and our schoolmates to believe certain things. Many of us then function as if those points of view are true and this limits our capacity for happiness.”
According to Gary, one of the points of view we inherit is that ‘You’re not doing life right unless you’re struggling’. In believing this to be true, we actually make happiness wrong.
“If you walk into a room beaming with joy and brimming with happiness, people around you are likely to say ‘Geez. What are you on today?’”, Gary remarks. “They make your happiness wrong. In this way, you learn to make the struggle – or the appearance of struggle – more valuable to you than happiness.”
Gary also insists that a lot of unhappiness is caused when people choose being right over being happy. “Being right causes you to feel triumphant, but this is not happiness. One of the things I try to get people to recognise is that nobody makes you happy, and nobody makes you unhappy. You are the creator of your own life”, he remarks.
The trick to happiness, according to Gary, is to bypass the points of view that cause you to ‘devalue’ happiness. "If you have no projections, expectations, separations, judgments, and rejections, you can actually be happy!"
Gary explains, “ Projections and expectations are what you think someone else will do even if they aren’t going to do it. A projection would be ‘This man is perfect for me’. An expectation would be ‘He will have the same point of view about me that I have about him. He’ll think I’m perfect for him’.”
“Judgment is any fixed point of view that someone or something has to be a certain way. Separation occurs once you do a judgment of any kind. You separate yourself from the person or thing you judge — even if it’s you. Rejection is dismissing or refusing something”, he continues.
Gary offers the following tips to help you get out of your own way, and allow yourself to be happy:
Give up the need to be right
“You don’t need to score points against someone else to feel good. Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?”
Watch your language
“Studies have shown that words literally program our minds. So, when you think or say, ‘Nothing good will happen to me’, or ‘I’m not the type of person who is meant to be happy’, then you are creating that exact scenario in your life. What you say, becomes so.”
Ask a question
“We get locked into our points of view – about our conclusions about the world, other people, ourselves. Asking questions like ‘what else is possible?’ or ‘what’s right about this I’m not getting?’ gets you out of conclusion and breaks the cycle of ‘it’s never going to work, life is bad’, and so on.”
Let everything be ‘an interesting point of view’
“Don’t align and agree with how you perceive the world to be. Don’t resist and react to it. Just allow it to be what it is – an interesting point of view.”
Vitally, Gary says, understand that happiness is the result of a choice you are making. “If you are unhappy, take responsibility for the choices you are making. Ask yourself, ‘Is this my best choice or can I choose something else?’”.