"Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life."
- Burton Hills

What if--- you could accept yourself and be happy with everything in your life EXACTLY AS IT IS RIGHT NOW? Wouldn’t that be a relief? You could stop tying up your energy with worry and judgments, thus accessing more positive energy for the things you really want to accomplish.

Each moment, you have a choice about how to respond to events and people in your life. Making the choice to be happy when things aren’t going your way isn’t always easy – it does take awareness and practice. Now, I’m not suggesting that you stifle your feelings, especially at times where there is a significant loss, like a job or loved one. But isn’t it true that most of the time where you’re not choosing happiness, it’s because of some minor annoyance during the day or some judgment about yourself?

Many years ago I learned the power of being happy and accepting myself just the way I was- and experienced an almost instant behavior change. It happened like this:

When I was 19 years old, I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in a student work program in London. I spent the whole summer there, working in a tea shop during the week and touring around on the weekends. While there, I picked up the habit of smoking. I thought it made me look older and more sophisticated! By the time I flew back to the US, I was addicted. And then spent years trying to quit!

Several years later, I began a meditation practice to reduce the stress I was feeling, but also because I had heard that people who started meditating had an easy time quitting smoking. Well, it partially worked! In a short time, I had cut my smoking in half. But I couldn’t seem to quit. I’d go on weekend meditation retreats, smoking that “last” cigarette before I went, only to stop at the first store on the way home to buy another pack. I was very judgmental of myself that I couldn’t CONTROL this behavior and quit. I kept making myself very unhappy because of the judgment. So, on yet one more course, I’d smoked that “last” cigarette. But after a day, I was craving a cigarette, so I asked my then husband (who had no intention of quitting) if I could smoke some of his.

I felt so angry and disappointed with myself. I went back to my room and cried and cried, feeling helpless to change this behavior. And then, from somewhere deep inside, I suddenly decided, “I’ll just have to accept myself as a smoker. I can’t quit. I’ll just accept myself with this behavior.” This understanding was a gift from Spirit, as I had not read anything at that time about loving and accepting yourself.

Suddenly, I felt peaceful. I finished out the meditation course, and that pack of cigarettes, no longer judging myself—and quit smoking easily and effortlessly! Years later I read a passage in A Course in Miracles that said, “Guilt holds the behavior.” How true! When you’re feeling guilty, you prevent yourself from changing.

Today, the most important decision you can make is to love and accept yourself unconditionally. You will gain great happiness and peace of mind from that simple decision. And miraculously, it will be easy to change the habits you want to change.

Accept yourself, accept yourself, accept yourself today!

Author's Bio: 

- Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D., is an author, international workshop leader and trainer. Her popular book, Ordering From the Cosmic Kitchen: The Essential Guide to Powerful, Nourishing Affirmations, is available on For information about her training program for workshop leaders, go to