Thursday, September 24, 2009

DAY 46 Is Happiness a Choice?

Hello Journal,

Everything in our life does not have to be perfect for us to find small pockets of happiness and joy tucked away here and there...we just have to look for them.

And the first step in doing that is to have an 
Attitude of Gratitude

Simply put... I'll find what I am looking for. The more I open up to being thankful, the more I see. This is not some kind of touchy-feely hocus is solidly backed by scientific research. I'm not talking about those battling clinical depression, or even those in the midst of heartbreaking trauma... but about the average person dealing the stresses of daily living, which is most of us.

Don't like modern know-it-all scientists? How about Abraham Lincoln, who said:
"Most folks are about as happy 
as they make up their minds to be."

After I read his biography, about some of the circumstances of his private life, I was even more impressed with his attitude. I read a library book that included insight into his private life with Mary Todd Lincoln, and the deaths of THREE of his sons while they were still young. He had every excuse to complain, feel bitter, or have self-pity. But he didn't...he had patience and compassion. Even though he battled with depression at times, he still knew that happiness was, in large part, a choice.

Having a happy, upbeat attitude is a GOAL of mine...I don't constantly feel "happy happy, joy joy". It is a goal, not a constant state of emotion. 

But I guarantee...we can CHOOSE how we respond to life, we "make our own weather" (here). Every morning I have the choice to decide what kind of day I want. I live in the United States, in the beautiful state of Oregon. My husband has a job, we have a roof over our heads, and hopes and dreams for the future. I have much to be thankful for!

Back in 2004, after my Mom died, there was a period of time when I knew I would never smile again. I felt guilt if I laughed. I would repeatedly be taken by surprise at the realization, fresh all over again that she was not here. How could she be gone?? She has always been here...she is my best friend...she is a part of my life, she can't be gone.

Time passed...5 years...I still can't believe it...but I have finally accepted I can't phone her to talk. When she became seriously ill, I had just been getting a good start on my weight loss journey. I put my life on hold, because I told myself that I just could not cope with the necessary focus on "me" that was needed to make life changes, and take care of her also.  I used food for comfort.

Now I am at a place where I my reality is strong that Momma is like a Golden Thread, woven into the very fabric of my life. She is gone, but not...she is in me, in my life...I feel the touch she left in my life, and mostly what I choose to focus on now are the loving, wise, joyful touches...I choose the good memories, and have finally truly made peace with her "humanness".

I feel ready to focus on me, on my journey to health. It didn't have to take this long...but I resisted facing my true emotions without the comforting buffer of food...but, it is what it is...I can't change that, I can only choose to go forward.

Happpiness is not an automatic state of mind, a way I feel with no effort. I must choose my thoughts each day. Working THROUGH my emotions is NOT always a  "happy" can be painful and hard. But I look at it now as going through a necessary tunnel, and coming out the other end, with rich results. 

I have definitely not had a "perfect" journey so far...lots of mistakes along the way..but it is worth it. All of this is just my experience...but so far, it's working. :-)

From Dr Phil's book: "How you interpret the events, circumstances, and situations in your life is entirely up to you."

My verse for today: "Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking."

My quote for today: "If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought." --Peace Pilgrim

Enjoy the Journey,



Anonymous said...

YOu are totally right Loretta happiness is a choice. You CAN choose your thoughts and think better things. Thanks for reminding me of this!

antgirl said...

Usually it is. Today it's not. Today hormones are kicking my ass and made me break my printer to boot. Poor Husband has to deal with hormonal me on the phone bawling because I busted my printer by dropping Writers Market on it and then I got ink smudges all over my envelopes, labels and my manuscript. Yup, I'm none too happy right now.

Usually I am happy though. I began behaving as if I was and then I began to actually feel it. Threw me for a loop the day that happened.

Retta said...

NANCY: You are so welcome...and if I write about something, it's because I am reminding ME about it, so I am right there with ya. :-)

MARY: Uh oh...looks like I need to amend my theory, and include in the exceptions-to-the-rule category "hormonal storms", along with chemical imbalance and emotional trauma. I actually forgot about that one...the one and only benefit of menopause, not having those monthly Storms...ha ha ha ha ha!


{ALL} for a Better Life said...

You speak the truth, it definitely is a choice. Somedays it harder to choose happiness than others. It makes me smile to know you have found peace with your mother's passing and that you can now move forward and worry about you. I don't know you very well and don't know your mother at all, but from the way you speak of her I know she would want nothing but happiness and health for you!

Thank you so much for wonderful comments, infinite wisdom and support! I went back and read all of Sean's posts as well and in fact he has encouraged me to start my own blog, and this is in fact indirectly how I found you!

Have a great day!

Retta said...

HI {All},
Thank you for your nice comment!
And I agree with you, Sean is super, and encouraged me also, especially to be self-honest and consistent. It's great to have his good example to follow. On days when I am tempted to doubt, I look at him and think "if he can do it, so can I."

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