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What exactly is happiness? There are many perspectives on this concept, of course, and some are more helpful than others. I believe happiness entails connecting with your deepest sense of self and allowing this “sage-self” to flourish in the present moment. Then, your past and your future serve as learning-and-growth guides for your present state of enlightenment. I also believe that your present state of enlightenment reflects your integration of certain values, such as reason, purpose, and self-esteem, and virtues, which are the ways we achieve and maintain such values.

So, happiness concerns living purposefully and thoughtfully, both in terms of the work and play you do and the emotions you experience. We all have moments like this, and as happiness educator and positive psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar noted with the title of his important book Happier, it’s important to realize that your happiness, which is related to your self-esteem, isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. Just as you can increase your level of self-confidence and self-worth, you can restructure your mind and actions to facilitate happier living. What you focus on is key.

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The sage-self is the deepest, most genuine part of you. Your sage-self seeks answers and generates awareness when other parts of you sometimes would rather not. It knows the things you think you don’t know about yourself, about others, and about reality. By allowing yourself to explore your inner continent, you’ll soon realize that you’ve essentially been searching for a true and lasting friendship with yourself. Hence, becoming happier entails this befriending process.

Becoming happier also means being able to relate to others more authentically and appropriately, in which constructive and life-giving relationships are the norm rather than the exception. Becoming happier also means being able to experience prolonged moments of bliss with the world around you. After all, reality, and your precious life in it, is really amazing!

Download a free three-day sentence completion exercise (sentence stems) program, which is designed to connect you with your sage-self, by selecting either of the links (for the .rtf or .pdf format files) in the upper right sidebar.