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The Psychology of Happiness: Understanding Our Selves and Others


Posted January 1, 2004

Manifesting Our Inner Potential

Robert Elias Najemy

Self Limiting Elephants

Elephants born in captivity are restrained by a chain that attaches one leg to a metal spike driven into the ground. This prevents them from roaming. They become accustomed to the fact that, as long as the chain and spike are next to them, they are unable to move.

As they grow older, their minds become programmed. When they see the spike and chain, they "believe" and accept that they will not be able to move. They become so conditioned that when their owners place a small rope and wooden peg next to them, they make no effort to step away from it, because they "believe" they are unable to. In truth, their actual power as adults is so great that they could easily pull up a chain and spike of any size. Their programming or "belief," however, allows this tiny rope and wooden peg to limit their movement.

We are all very much like these elephants. We allow the weaknesses, fears and rejection we experienced as children to program us into a life in which we lack power, peace, love and happiness. We become controlled by false childhood assumptions we have made about our ability, strength and self worth.

We can move away from these "pegs" of self-limitation, but we must chose to do so.

The Lion Cub

The story about the lion cub more graphically describes this process. Once there was a great lioness that went hunting with her newborn cub. While chasing and attacking a flock of sheep, the she-lion made a wrong move, fell off a cliff and died.

The cub was left without a mother and grew up in the midst of the sheep. As the years passed, the cub became a full-grown lion, but it was instinctually conditioned to behave as a sheep. It ate grass, made a bleating sound, and just like the sheep, developed a fear of all other animals.

One day, another lion attacked the flock, and in the chase, was shocked to see the ridiculous sight of a full grown lion running away with the sheep bleating "bah bah" in fear.

He caught up to the sheepish lion, and asked, "What are you doing? Why are you acting in this ridiculous way? You a great, powerful lion acting like a lowly powerless sheep? What has come over you? You should be ashamed of yourself."

The sheepish lion explained that he was a sheep, and that the flock had taught him to fear and bleat and run in horror from the powerful lions. The adult lion took the sheepish lion down to the river and asked him to look at the reflection of his own face. He saw that he was like the lion and not like the sheep. The lion then woke up from its ignorance and discovered its previously ignored inner courage, strength and majesty.

We are like the sheepish lion. The sheep represent our human nature, our personality, which moans, fears, complains and worries. The Lion is the spiritual aspect of our being, which is a source of great power, wisdom, creativity, goodness and love.

Great spiritual teachers have appeared throughout history with the same message of our "LION NATURE", the untapped spiritual power and greatness that dwells within us.

Our Life Purpose

Our life purpose is to manifest our unlimited inner power, beauty, creativity and love. We will never feel totally satisfied until we fulfill this inner need to become who we really are. Just as every flower feels a basic need to bring forth its flowers and fruits, we too have an abundance of gifts to bring forth to the world around us. We can do this in many ways.

What are your challenges, which you would like to meet today with greater confidence in your inner power and ability to cope?

  1. Dealing more positively with a relationship problem?
  2. Healing yourself from an illness or weakness in the body?
  3. Dealing with the loss of or separation from a loved one?
  4. Solving an economic problem?
  5. Bringing up children with love and wisdom?
  6. Manifesting social changes?
  7. Facing death with inner peace when the time comes?
  8. Forgiving someone?
  9. Confronting fears?
  10. Transforming our belief system.
  11. Coping with a law case or some injustice?
  12. Creating something that requires all your inner resources?
  13. Finishing school?
  14. Making a new step in life?
  15. Making an important decision?

Whatever our present challenges might be, we need to move forward and meet them on all levels with self-confidence, self-esteem, humility, love and clarity. In addition, we need to be detached from the final outcome. It is the motive and effort which count and not the result.

We will also need to develop patience and perseverance. We must preserver while also being patient for the results.

Copyright © 2002 Robert Elias Najemy
All Rights Reserved

Robert Elias Najemy is the author of over 600 articles, 400 lecture cassettes on Human Harmony and 20 books, which have sold over 100,000 copies. He is the Founder and director of the Center for Harmonious Living in Greece with 3700 members. His book, "The Psychology of Happiness," is available at or click on the book image to the left. You can download FREE articles and e-books from where you can also receive guidance on life issues.


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