I first met Lee when he was admitted into the addiction treatment centre where I worked. He told me that his drinking went out of control after his father's sudden death in an industrial accident two years earlier. Lee also had many problems in his relationship with his wife and said she abused him. He felt that she was the last person that he could rely on for support or empathy - even though he needed someone now more than ever. Lee used alcohol to cope with all of his life stress, particularly the emotional pain that he was suffering as a result of his father's death.
Lee revealed that he had always lived his life doing for others what he thought would make them happy. To support his wife's demands for material possessions, in addition to his full time job Lee worked long hours to expand a part-time business. He had been plagued with chronic anxiety and severe panic attacks for most of his adult life. Lee's self-imposed burden "to do the right thing" for everyone else - his boss, his family, his friends, and his co-workers, meant that he rarely did what he wanted. Even while he was able to provide his family with many luxuries, including a large home, a nice cottage, and plenty of disposable income, Lee continued to feel a deep emptiness inside. As I explained the importance of doing things that would make his self happy, I could see him struggling to comprehend my words. "I have no idea what would make me happy," he said. "I've never asked myself that question."
For Lee, acknowledging that he had never learned how to look within for happiness was an important first step.
While it is your destiny to be happy, you are responsible for your own happiness. The simplest way of creating happiness is to live in your truth. This means being honest about what brings you joy.