Guest Post: “How Happy Are You Willing To Be?” via Nancy Smyth of the Arbinger Institute

promo_02This fascinating guest post flows from concepts explored in the latest edition of The Anatomy of Peace from the Arbinger Institute:


How Happy Are You Willing To Be?

Nancy Smyth

Managing Director of Coach Training and Personal Coaching

The Arbinger Institute

What lies at the heart of a productive and happy life is fundamentally different from accepted thought.

There is a prevailing view that others should change, so we’ll be happy. Has some version of this narrative ever run through your mind? Are you sometimes on alert, seeing how you are being treated? Do you measure or tally up the score about what others should be doing for you?

I know for me it’s exhausting to keep trying to get people in my world to change. I have to work at it pretty consistently and still don’t get lasting results. I firmly believe that I deserve to be happy and am upset by others’ lack of respect for me. Don’t they know who I am, what I have accomplished, what I have done for them? Can’t they see I am contributing over 100%?

These thoughts are fatiguing. They are burdened with a desire to be appreciated. They are unending and spin me into a denser and denser web of emotional bankruptcy.

All the energy we expend in this direction is ill spent.

Happiness is our natural state and is experienced when we are seeing properly. As long as I am accusing you and seeing your faults, I need new lenses. My vision is distorted by what I incorrectly believe. I no longer honestly see myself or you. I insist on the reasons why I deserve respect from you, rather than seeing how I am slighting you with my judgments.

Actually, I am doing exactly to you what I don’t want done to me.

I need to examine my own thoughts. I need to see how they are a story I build in order to support my insatiable need for recognition. What if I saw my need for respect directing me to know my own worth? What if I generously gave you the very thing I desire? My shift in focus from proving my worth to how I can be a better person in our relationship produces honest exchange. It is a path towards more truthfulness and earned integrity and generates a positive environment filled with well-being and happiness.

Give without measure to other people what you most want from them. This  life-altering shift frees us to significantly increase effectiveness in all our projects, whether personal or professional in nature

Nancy Smyth - Arbinger InstituteNancy Smyth, Master Certified Coach, is the Managing Director of Coach Training and Personal Coaching for the Arbinger Institute, the organization-author of the bestsellers, Leadership and Self-Deception and The Anatomy of Peace. To learn more about the new expanded second edition of  The Anatomy of Peace, please visit The Anatomy of Peace and The Anatomy of Peace Telecourse provide practically helpful ways to practice a heart at peace.