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Want to be happier? Learn to love mess and chaos

Rather than trying to fix what you might think is broken, try instead to love whatever is, for what it is, writes Dr Tim Sharp. 

I don't mean to sound depressing or overly negative, but… life is messy, and chaotic, and, at times, hopeless!

This isn't intended to be pessimistic, but rather, it is a statement of fact. And just as importantly, this isn't supposed to make you feel anxious or distressed, but rather, to provide you with a potential solution and path to more happiness.

How so?

Let me begin by describing one of the less successful strategies I've tried to use to deal with this in the past; and that's been trying to "fix" things! But life can't be fixed. Life can't be tidied up. You'll never get on top of all your work or completely finish your to-do list or empty your inbox (or not for more than a few minutes or hours, anyway)! 

Similarly, depression or anxiety can't be fixed, if for no other reason that they're normal, human emotions… emotions we will all experience from time to time and emotions that are perfectly appropriate and healthy in certain situations.

Attempts to "fix" also assumes the target is "broken". But life is not broken, and you are not broken. It is just how things are… perfectly imperfect. 

Which brings me to my suggested solution. Rather than trying to fix what you might think is broken, try instead to love whatever is, for what it is (including you). 

There's a Japanese word, "kintsugi", that refers to the practice of repairing broken objects with gold. The flaw, then, comes to be seen as a unique part of the object's history and something that adds to its beauty.

Next time you feel broken or that life needs to be fixed, reflect upon this Japanese philosophy and look for ways to love all of your and all of life's faults and failings, cracks and fractures. 

This post originally appeared on Dr Tim Sharp's blog, where he goes by the moniker Dr Happy. 

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain