There are many twists and turns as we try to find our way through everything from day to day tasks and chores to relationships with other people and ourselves. We make plans for our schedules and for life and sometimes they work out and sometimes they don't. Sometimes life throws us a curve ball and we are forced to switch gears and try to figure out how we are going to get to where we want to be without going to far off course. It might be loosing your job or a relationship, getting sick or why not a global pandemic that throws everything you had planned out the window, the frustration and the struggle is real. So how do we work through it?
In previous weeks we've talked about making plans and planning for success, but let's face it sometimes things happen that are out of our control.
That feeling of despair at plans, hopes and dreams lost isn't just something for angsty characters in Jane Austen novels (though they are brilliant to be fair, nobody can cry like Marianne Dashwood in Sense & Sensibility) But running into the hills and collapsing into the rain waiting for a man to come save you from life threatening pneumonia is not going to get us very far in 2020. Granted the rain collapsing scenes are great for drama but not great for stability or empowerment.
So how do we deal with what life throws at us and walk on stronger without a Colonel Brandon or Willoughby?
Each situation is obviously unique to us as individuals but considering I like plans (I know right ! shocker!)
Let's divide it up into a few different steps.
We often think of life, career and love as linear. You are born you live you get old you die, and in between there at some point you get a job, get married have a few kids, a golden retreiver, a volvo, and you retire to Florida. Ok that might seem harsh but you get my point.
The thing is that might SOUND like a stereotypical life but nobody's life actually looks like that. Life is NOT linear! There are so many crooks and turns and sometimes we circle back or take a detour.
But one of todays biggest maladies is the belief that life is linear and when i get from point A to point B I will be happy.
Naturally we set up goals for ourselves that are things we want in our lives and they should be good. But when we take an honest look at things for what they really are and life at it's roughest broken down pieces we get PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE. And only one of those is something we have direct impact on and might be able to control. You can't do anything about the past, it has already happened, what you can do is choose now in the present how you will relate to it. You can't control the future outcome of things because people will be people and nothing is scripted, but what you can do is make choices now in the present that will steer you in the right direction for the future.
Let's start with #1 because that just makes sense right?
There is no getting around that life circumstances have a huge impact on us and on our feelings of wellbeing. Sometimes life is more turbulent and other times it might feel pretty chill. So in the pursuit of happiness what should we do?
When it comes to circumstances there is a finite amount of things we can control, and tryiing to hold on to too much will not only drive the people around you crazy but yourself as well. So take a look at your life circumstances right now, what is bothering you? what are you happy with? what can you control and what can't you control? Make peace with the fact that some things are just out of your hands, and if they are there is no point obsessing about them...do an Elsa ...Let it go!
What I am gonna tell you now might seem controversial and maybe even messed up if you choose to take it that way, either way I am at peace with it and that is what matters.
When my son was 4 and a half he got Leukemia, cancer is in many ways one of the absolute worst things a person or family can go through. Did I cry? yes. Did I freak out once in a while when the kids didn't see? damn straight I did. Was there still happiness in my life? YES!
We can't control the past and what has happened. Nobody could have forseen that he would get cancer there is nothing we could have done to prevent it and thinking "why!?" wasn't something that occured to me because shit happens ...literally and mulling over the why's wasn't going to do anyone any good.
We can't control the future... did we know then that the outcome would be a positive one? no we didn't.
We saw friends in the child oncology ward that didn't make it, and the possibility was always there that this was it. But we DID have the PRESESNT. There is no twist or turn that can make a family going through leukemia a picnic in the park, and there are so many moments of deep despair. Anything else would be unhuman. But I had moments, and looking back now at all the love that surrounded us from family and friends. The condensed life and quality time with eachother 24/7 between procedures. There was happiness in all that darkness. On a literal note i remember turning out the lights in his hospital room late at night getting out the bubbles and flashlight and blowing bubbles in the dark and shining the light on them. It was magical! and we laughed so hard. Allow yourself to feel even when it isnt pleasant. But don't let it swallow you up so you can't see the beauty that might just be right there with you, THAT is something to be happy about and let that carry you through the darkness.
#2 The Self
Who the heck am I? Ok seriously though, let's take a look. Be honest with yourself and examine how you are reacting to things and why. There may be really valid reasons for it, but are you happy with letting those reasons dictate who you see yourself as and how you act? If you are.....great! if not. Consider going deeper. Look up some books or videos that might be related or give advice for what you are going through, find a support group or talk to someone who's judgment you trust or find a good therapist to help you work through the things that are holding you back. Nobody is the same person they were at the age of 10 and who we are is not out of our hands. You decide if you feel that there is something in your life you really need to work on. Working on the self isnt something you need to do alone, surround yourself with those that support your journey if you can because that extra safety net and accountability goes a long way.
But above all, mercy and grace.
Being that life is not what we said before going from point A to point B you're not gonna get finished or perfect. And though goals are an amazing way to steer how we develop, it is so important that you love yourself NOW! How do we do that? Appreciate your intent and the choices you are making. I know I want to loose some weight, but I'm not gonna wait to be happy untill I get there. I am going to love myself on the road to a healthier me because, damn I'm awesome doing this for myself! go me! Fall in love with the fact that you are trying and not giving up! And even if you do, start over tomorrow!! and then you can be proud that you didn't just make the decicion to live healthy once...you did it twice! lol.
#3 The Chronicles
There is most certainly something to be said for the written word. And when you are on any journey, one towards finding happiness and peace with yourself and the world around you or even if it's a vacation log, journaling and being able to look back at what your thoughts and feeling were at the time is an amazing tool for finding happiness. Write it all down and help motivate yourself! What do you have in your life right now that you are happy and grateful for? Do you remember a time when you wiiiiiished for what you have now? Sometimes we are just so used to what we have that we don't even stop to appreciate it and be happy for it but are constantly looking for the next upgrade, totally forgetting that at one point we said:
" when I have a ----- I will be so happy"
So to sum this blog post up. You can find things to be happy for and you CAN find happiness it's not just something for disney princesses. But maybe you need to take a look at what happiness means to you, how you react to situations, and what you can do to be able to be proud of and love yourself, and get it in writing so you can remind yourself when things get hard.
So...What do you have right now and who are you right now that you have a reason to be happy?