Stimpson: Road Guide to Happiness

Everyone, no mattter how rich or powerful or seemingly well adjusted, is insecure, said Rev. Peter K. Stimpson, speaking to the Princeton Chamber on Wednesday at the Nassau Club. Stimpson heads the Trinity Counseling Service, pens advertorials for Town Topics, and has just written a book of short essays, “Map to Happiness.” (The counseling service, by the way, has its gala on July 11 at Bedens Brook.)

At that moment, I didn’t feel insecure. Who me? I had just unearthed my summer seersucker jacket, paired it with cream slacks, a red tee, and snazzy red shoes. I wasn’t insecure. I was hot stuff.

Then afterward Linda Kibrick (who is herself a counselor at Crossroads for Health and Wellness) commented how nice I look and I found myself (no, no, don’t do it, aargh you did it) responding negatively, confiding that the blue and white seersucker jacket didn’t really go with cream pants, that the pants should really be white.

Caught in insecurity.

Stimpson says that when we let insecurity take over, we are giving power to other people. Your employer does not define your worth. If you get a bad grade or a less than ideal rating or even if you are laid off, that’s a bad outcome but you, yourself, are good and have good qualities. Forgive yourself for mistakes.”

“Take back the power,” he says, telling of a 7th grader, a notoriously bad baseball player, who – one day — made a miraculous catch that won the game. He ran home to tell his father, and his father’s only response was, “Did you get a hit?” The boy was shattered. “Don’t give the power to other people,” says Stimpson.

And, “Reach for things that will last. What you attain doesn’t go with you to the next life. What you decide to become does go with you. How you interact is how you grow.”

I’m still going to try to lose three pounds so I can fit into the white pants that go with that jacket. But I’ll forgive myself if I don’t make it.

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