WHAT IS HAPPY? by Sharee Crute -October, November 2007 Heart & Soul Magazine
Let me share with you my quotes from this wonderful article on Happiness, appearing in October in Heart &Soul Magazine.
THE CULTURE CRISIS
…The answer (to the pursuit of happiness for black women) says positive psychology expert Barbara Becker Holstein* is to discover and love your authentic self-a skill many black women may already possess.
FINDING OUR JOY
"All women need genuine connections to themselves," says Becker-Holstein, who has dedicated her career to creating a positive psychology for women. "But society tries to break that connection early in life. In America, by age 13, girls are already getting external messages to copy celebrities and give up their little girl treasures. We’ve been defined as a second-class culture and had our self-esteem suppressed with messages about marrying men with money and valuing ourselves through our looks. To be truly happy, every woman needs a life that supports the inner voice that sustains her hopes and dreams."
LAY YOUR FOUNDATION
…. (Mattie Miller) ….I learned to project happiness, and sometimes I think that helped me get it in return. I made a conscious decision to have a good life."
That determination, says Becker-Holstein, author of The Enchanted Self: A Positive Therapy, is an important part of building a happy life. "Be assertive, get an education, decide on a profession, protect yourself economically. Take responsibility for establishing the life you want."
CREATE YOUR OWN NARRATIVE
"Look at the women in your family and see where you fit in. Are your dreams and accomplishments represented? If not, decide to claim your unique gifts and accept the importance of your own narrative," Becker-Holstein advises.
CELEBRATE YOUR GIFTS
"Acknowledge, appreciate your strengths," Becker-Holstein says. "Count supportive friends, family and mentors among those gifts."
GIVE OF YOURSELF
"Positive action and good deeds matter," Becker-Holstein says, "Forgive, be helpful, smile at people-it’s all the more likely, as Miller learned, "that your happiness will be returned."
No matter where you are in life, "almost all of us are capable of being happy," Becker-Holstein continues, "if we can learn to truly bring pleasure, replenishment and self-care into our lives."
Try to find the magazine and read the entire article. It is so informative and really puts perspective on many of the issues that black women face in striving for happiness. Interestly enough, many of these issues cross cultures! Do you have any thoughts on this?
Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, www.enchantedself.com