Perhaps, the giddy dance in your bare feet through the grass, I'm so happy to be in love and alive- that I'm gonna sing on the beach about it till my prince rides by on his horse, sort of happy is a bit much for some gals...(Or maybe you just haven't allowed yourself the freedom to express that one yet, if you haven't I urge you to give it a try it's a blast!) But at any rate, the truth remains, we all want to be happy.
The desire for happiness resonates deep within our very soul, we are here to find joy. When we are not happy, we want to be happy again as soon as possible. Everyone learns to make that shift in their own way, some ways are more effective than others. The wonder of life, is discovering the trick to finding joy, that works best for you.
This entry is about my trick.
My dad always told me that happiness is a thought. That if you are sad, to change your thought, think of something positive. "You are one thought away from being happy" he would say. But I'd find sometimes that trying to change my thoughts, and thus my feelings about something didn't always come that easily. I used to think that he meant if I was having a negative thought to quickly push it aside and replace it with a positive thought. Sometimes this works, when my husband is deployed and I'm missing him terribly, sometimes it helps to just push that lonely feeling aside and start daydreaming about our next romantic getaway. (We always run off together for a weekend after he comes home from a deployment.) And it helps! I start to feel better.
But those are the more mild cases. The ones that really require effort are when I'm tired, and my husband hasn't been home for days, and my two year old just poured chocolate milk all over the carpet, or found a pair of scissors and cut up my throw pillows, or I'm hungry and trying to get dinner on and all I hear is the sound of my son's voice three octaves higher than any self respecting coloratura would care to sing, belting out his frustration with the force of a broad-way star. Then those pesky thoughts start to creep in...
"I hate the Navy, who makes a man work 30 hours without sleep!"
"For heavens sake, of course the boat is dirty, boats get dirty, why should you keep all the guys at work on a Saturday to clean it! Can't it wait till Monday!"
"Seriously, child! Do you have to scream at me like that?"
"Why are you always making messes, it's like I live for nothing more than being damage control!"
And then the feelings start to happen, simultaneously with those thoughts, and I get angry and anxious and annoyed. Suddenly I can't remember how the thoughts got started, or how the feelings crept in, I'm just consumed in it and no amount of positive thinking could possibly get me out. Romantic getaways are suddenly impossibly expensive and months and months away, why do I have to wait that long just to see my husband anyway! Everything starts to feel impossible and overwhelming. I want to curl up in a little ball and just cry. I don't want to be a mom. I don't want to be a Navy wife. This is hard. I don't like this. It's not fair. I'm not happy.
We've all felt it. We've all been there over something. Maybe your experience wasn't a two year old and an overworked husband, maybe it was, but you've felt it too. I know you have. You want to know the secret? You want to know the trick I discovered to ending all of the resistance? It's easy. It's easier than coming up with a positive thought to think about-but it is a thought. A sentence really, here it is, I'll put it in bold so your brain really reads it:
"IT SHOULD BE THIS WAY!"
Yeah, simple, but effective. And powerful...I'll show you just how powerful by adding one little word to that amazing sentence.
"It should NOT be this way!"
Oh the difference is so subtle but so profound. When we are upset about something, when we are angry and anxious we are describing all the things we don't like, all the things we think should be different. We are looking at the world around us screaming "No, it shouldn't be like that!" but it IS like that and so we get frustrated, angry, anxious, depressed, or fill in the blank with your own response. And why shouldn't it be that way? Ask yourself and I think you'll find the answer to be very revealing, we want it to be different because we think if it was different we would be happy.
So here's the trick, let the situation be okay as it is. I'm not just saying to accept it, that can to easily turn into martyrdom, and we fall into silently suffering through our surroundings, no I'm telling you really, let it be okay. Say, that it should not be any other way. Say that it should be the way it is.
It starts to look like this,
"My husband should be working long hours. The Navy is a demanding career, as it should be."
"Those sailors should be willing to give up a Saturday if it's asked of them. I am impressed by their hard work and dedication, regardless of the task they are given."
"My two year old should scream when he's frustrated."
"My two year old should make messes, that's what two year olds do as they explore the world around them."
When you let go of thinking it should be different, and allow life to be what it is, something amazing happens, the anger, frustration, anxiety, stress, and depression melt away because there's nothing to feel those emotions over. In its place is this wonderful feeling called joy, and happiness, and contentment-which we were striving for from the beginning. From the moment we said it should be different. Then another miracle happens, as we say life should be just what it is and we are at peace, our mind is free to make things even better. We have the patience, clarity of thought and freedom to become creative in our parenting and understanding. When we are free from our own dissatisfaction we are suddenly available to be remarkably supportive, understanding and compassionate to those around us. Most importantly, our family and loved ones...our husband, who must battle his own "should nots" as he's working a 30 hour day with no sleep.
Where before there was only resistance, now there is possibility. There is hope. There is room for change, or not-it doesn't matter. Because either way, regardless of the circumstance you have what it is you want, joy.
And so my divas-Today I urge you to stop hitting your head against the wall, expecting to knock it down with your for-head, all you will get is a headache. Instead, step back and say to the wall "You should be here, you are a wall." And smile as the peace begins to fill your heart.
My dad was right, we are one thought away from being happy, and it should be so easy, shouldn't it?
Until next time,
The Domestic Diva