The Happiness Choice

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“Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.”
–Stephen R. Covey, Author and Speaker

This is a powerful freedom. And, from my point of view, another way of putting this is that the ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide our own intent:

  • To protect against pain with our controlling behavior
  • To learn about what is loving to ourselves and others

When our intent is to learn about love, that is when we get to decide how others will affect us.

If my intent is to control how other people feel about me, then if they don’t like me, I will be upset. I may feel rejected or unworthy. I’ve made them responsible for my sense of worth, which then means that I have to try to control how they feel about me by being perfect, being nice, doing things right, saying the right thing, looking right, performing right, and so on. This is a very hard way to live!

When my intent is to be loving to myself, then I don’t make others responsible for me sense of worth. Instead, I define my essential worth – not by my looks or performance – but by my essential qualities of compassion, loving kindness, caring, understanding, creativity, perseverance, basic goodness, and so on. I learn to define myself, not by my programmed ego wounded mind, but through the eyes of my higher self. If someone doesn’t like me, I don’t take this personally, since I accept that I have no control over who they are or how they feel, and it is not loving to me to take their behavior personally.

When my focus is on loving myself and sharing my love with others, I behave in ways that bring me joy. While painful outside events can momentarily affect me, when my intent is to be loving to myself, I quickly move into compassion for my own feelings, bringing in the comfort of Spirit to help me move through the loneliness, heartache, heartbreak, grief, sorrow, or sadness of a situation.

This all depends on who I give authority to – my personal source of spiritual guidance, or others and events. When I give authority to others and events, then I become a victim of others and circumstances. When I give authority to my personal source of spiritual guidance, I always have access to a source of truth, peace, and joy.

My happiness or misery is my choice, and it depends entirely on my intent – which is my ultimate free-will choice.

The moment my intent is to control that which I cannot control, or that which is unloving toward myself, others, or the planet to control, I will create my misery. Whether I try to control my pain with various addictions to substances or processes, or I try to control my feelings by getting others approval, or I try to control others and outcomes by acting in ways that are not in integrity with that which is loving to myself and others, I will make myself unhappy. Operating from a belief that the end justifies the means will never bring me joy.

The moment my intent is to be loving to myself and others, then I will treat myself, others and the planet in ways that are in alignment with what is in my highest good and the highest good of all. Loving behavior toward myself and others always brings a deep inner sense of joy.

When you choose the intent to learn about loving yourself and others, you move yourself into personal power, integrity, and connection with the Source of wisdom, truth, and joy.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process – featured on Oprah. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy? Click here for a FREE Inner Bonding Course, and visit our website at for more articles and help. Phone Sessions Available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Dr. Margaret Paul is the author/co-author of numerous best-selling books, including: Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You? Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?…The Workbook Healing Your Aloneness The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook Inner Bonding Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids? Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, public speaker, seminar leader, consultant, facilitator, and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars for over 42 years. Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into many languages. After practicing traditional psychotherapy for 17 years, Margaret was discouraged by the results – both for her clients and herself. She had spent years trying to heal from her own dysfunctional and abusive background, but found herself still suffering with anxiety and relationship problems. She started to seek a process that works fast, deep, creates permanent change, loving relationships, inner peace, and joy. In 1984, she met and became friends with Dr. Erika Chopich, who had half the Inner Bonding® process, and Margaret had the other half! They have been evolving this incredibly powerful healing process for the last 26 years. Margaret works with individuals and couples throughout the world – on the phone, in workshops and 5-Day Intensives, and with members of Inner Bonding Village at She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Dr. Margaret has just completed a 12 year project call SelfQuest®, which is a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution software program. SelfQuest® is being donated to prisons and schools and sold to individuals, families, and businesses. You can read about SelfQuest® and see a short video of it at In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride and play with her horses, and spend time with her children and grandchildren.

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