|How to Create a
Life of Love, Joy, and Happiness
by Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.
I recently appeared on a radio call-in
talk show. I was asked to talk about alcoholism and the impact that growing up in an
alcoholic family has on all of the family members. A listener called in and explained that
she had been raised by an alcoholic mother and an alcoholic father. She said that at the
age of thirty-two she was just now coming to grips with how she was affected by being
raised by alcoholic parents. She told me that she had no intention of spending the rest of
her life blaming her parents for whatever her personal struggles were. She believed that
it would be far more beneficial for her to learn how to take responsibility for her own
emotional and spiritual well-being. So she asked me the following question, what can I
do to make my life as full of joy and happiness as is possible?
My answer was simple
and to the point, No matter what the circumstances may be or may have been in your
life, you and only you are responsible for your emotional and spiritual well-being. Each
and every one of us is responsible for how happy we are and how fulfilled we make our
lives. Theres no obstacle big enough, no person cruel enough, no set of
circumstances complex enough to prevent you from claiming what is rightfully yoursa
fulfilling, meaningful life full of love, compassion, and joy.
Having said that I then shared with her a formula for emotional and spiritual well- being.
I outlined for her a path to a life in which her sorrow could be soothed by the balm of
forgiveness and acceptance, where her heart could be filled with love for and by others,
and that her soul could be filled with serenity. First, she needed to heal a lifetime
worth of accumulated emotional wounds. Second, she needed to end the war that she waged
with her Self. Third, she needed to love and be loved by the people in her life.
Fourth, she needed to [re]connect with her spiritual power.
Simply put, if you
live long enough, youll have accumulated your share of emotional wounds. Emotional
wounding is simply unavoidable, no matter your circumstances, intelligence, maturity, or
station in life. What are the wounds that youve experienced in your life? Being
loved imperfectly by your parents and other family members. Experiencing betrayal by
somebody you invested your love and trust in. Feeling victimized by people who put their
selfish interests ahead of your emotional well-being. Being valued more for what you do
and less for who you are. Being shamed for having emotional needs. Being seen as weak for
experiencing and expressing your feelings.
There are six steps to
healing your emotional wounds: 1.) Acknowledge what your wounds are, 2.) Acknowledge the
feelings that are attached to those wounds, 3.) Express the feelings that are attached to
those wounds, 4.) Forgive the person who inflicted a particular wound(s), 5.) Let go of
your self-righteous indignation, and 6.) Repeat steps two through 4 as often as is
necessary. You can learn more about how to heal your emotional wounds by reading Dr.
Frischs, Psy.D. book, Stepping Out of the Shadows: [Re]Connecting With Your
Ending the war that
you wage with your Self simply means letting go of the judgments that you hold
about your Self and replace those judgments with self-love and self-acceptance.
What is the war that you wage with your Self? You judge yourself for who you are.
You judge yourself for what youre not. You disown those aspects of yourself that you
cant tolerate about yourself. You belittle and demean those qualities about your Self
of which you are ashamed. What are the steps to ending the war you wage with your Self?
You need to: 1.) Claim those aspects of your Self that you are unwilling to
embrace as authentic parts of your Self, 2.) Legitimize those parts of your Self
that you hold negative judgments about, 3.) Celebrate those qualities and
characteristics that make you uniquely who you are. You can learn more about how to end
the war that you wage with your Self, by reading Dr. Frischs, Psy.D.
Mountains: Magical Choices for Empowering Your Lifes Journey and Stepping Out of
the Shadows: [Re]Connecting With Your Lifes Journey.
Your life cant attain its richest and fullest potential without your willingness
to openly and freely love and be loved by the people in your life. Yet most of us, when it
comes to matters of the heart, are reduced to well-intended but inevitably misunderstood
bumbling and stumbling souls who are more times than not inept receivers and providers of
emotional nurturance. I have found the biggest problem people have when it comes to
creating loving relationships is that they simply dont know how to do what it is
that they need to do. There are three critical skill sets that you need to develop in
order to create emotionally intimate relationships that are energized by warmth and love.
Those skill sets are: 1.) Effective skills that enable two people to feel safe with one
another, 2.) Effective communication skills that enable two people to know each other, and
3.) Effective conflict resolution skills that enable two people to resolve unacknowledged
relationship issues. You can learn more about how to enrich your relationships by reading
Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. books, Building Better Bridges: Creating Great Relationships With the
People Who Matter Most and Making Molehills Out of Mountains: Reclaiming Your Personal
Power In Your Relationships.
The last area of growth and development is in the realm of spirituality. Spirituality is
an attitude towards life that involves your mind, body, and soul. The attitude is that you
are the creation of a sacred or divine energy and, as such, are not only more than you
ever imagined yourself to be but more than you can ever imagine yourself to be.
Spirituality is the direct connection to and experience of the sacred and supreme values
of life. A spiritual practice empowers one to experience that which is most central and
essential to their life. The ultimate aim of spirituality is awakeningthat is to
know your true and authentic Self. You can learn more about how to develop a
spiritual practice by reading Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. book, Stepping
Out of the Shadows: [Re]Connecting With Your Lifes Journey.
Be mindful of what I
said in the beginning of this article. It is not your past that is the determinant of your
emotional and spiritual well-being. The critical determinant of how successful you will
ultimately be at healing, growing, and evolving is your willingness to take responsibility
for creating your own joy and happiness. Make no mistake, what I have outlined in this
article is a lifetime of work but work that each and every one was put here to undertake.
1.) Read a book about
personal growth, relationships, and/or spirituality.
2.) Join a reading group that focuses on the topics associated with personal growth.
3.) Seek out like-minded individuals who are interested in sharing in your journey as well
as having you share in their journey.
4.) Find support groups whose focus of personal growth is similar to your focus.
5.) Find a qualified individual psychotherapist that can facilitate the type of
therapeutic experience that will enable you to do the uncovering and healing work
6.) Find a qualified group psychotherapist that can facilitate the type of therapeutic
experience that will enable you to do the type of personal growth and relationship work