The Creation of Option
I created the Option Method for happiness.
Sometime before 1970 I realized that people were unhappy because they “wanted” to be. They believed they “should” be. I knew that they believed it was good and necessary to be unhappy about whatever they believed that applied to, generally them not getting what they wanted. This was the way people chose unhappiness as a feeling.
Unhappiness is used here as a term or model word for all kinds of feelings that people describe variously as “bad” feelings. Feelings ranging from mild annoyance to murderous rage; from disappointment to suicidal depression.
The belief that unhappiness is preferable to happiness (happiness being seen as some form of being crazy), or the belief that not being unhappy was contradictory to a personally held value, is the dynamic of all unhappiness.
The belief goes like this:
“If I wasn’t unhappy about it, it would mean that I wanted it to happen.” “If I wasn’t sad (or angry, etc.), it would mean I didn’t care.”
All fear and unhappiness is the fear that unhappiness will happen.
I describe it like this, no person is afraid of being poor, in itself, but of being an unhappy poor person. No person is afraid of illness, but of being ill and unhappy also. Nobody is afraid of a bear, or of being hurt by the bear, but of the unhappiness that is believed will occur from the hurt. The examples are countless but follow this paradigm. People are afraid unhappiness will “happen” to them under certain circumstances.
In order to reveal what beliefs are indeed operative in an unhappy person, I created the Option Method. This simple questioning method discloses to the sufferers that they are the determiner of their feelings. It shows that they are feeling exactly what they believe they should feel, always.
It just so happens, that when people realize they have a choice in their emotions, it makes a difference to them. People know they don’t want to be unhappy when they don’t believe it is necessary.
People feel now what they believe they are going to feel in the future. They feel whatever feelings they believe will “happen” to them. They feel now whatever they believe it will be “natural” to feel in the future, even if it is as a result of something happening now. The current event correlates to current emotions only insofar as it relates to imagined future feelings.
I created two questions as a simple demonstration of this phenomena.
“If you believed that at this time tomorrow you were going to be unhappy, what would you feel now?”
“If you were to believe now that at this time tomorrow you were going to become very happy, what would you feel now?”
The Option Method is not unlike the above, but its questions are more specific and personally applicable to the person being helped.
An important point to remember about my philosophy is that I do not believe that people should not be unhappy, or that they should be happy. The Option Method demonstrates that people choose their emotions, not that they should choose differently, but that they nevertheless truly choose, and are not victims to emotions. Admittedly, these unhappy emotions seem to happen to us. That is the unhappy quality of them that precisely makes them so mysterious, and therefore apparently necessary. They are meant to be feelings of helplessness, or we would not consider them unhappy feelings. That is the very fear that they manifest: helplessness, mystery, and need for control over our experiences in order to be happy.
It is apparent from the Option Method that what people need to be happy is the confidence that their happiness cannot be threatened, and therefore do not need to fear the helpless feeling that their happiness will be taken away.
Unhappiness is any form of believing that when we don’t get what we want, it means we are going to feel a way we don’t want. Unhappiness is also believing that if we get what we want, we will also feel a way we don’t want.
Happiness is being glad for who you are;
- liking that you want what you want, liking that you don’t like what you don’t like,
- liking that you change your mind whenever you think that’s best,
- liking that you don’t change your mind until you really change your mind,
- liking that you don’t like not knowing how to have what you want,
- liking that you don’t like being mistaken,
- liking that you feel just the way you like to feel about everything you do, and
- liking that you feel just the way you like to feel about everything that happens.
Everything is the way it is, and you really can be glad to feel the way you do.
Articles by Bruce . . .
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