Monday, February 7, 2011

In pursuit of Happiness

I don't know if anyone else is like me, thinking "when I get here" or "when I accomplish this goal" or "when this happens," THEN I will be so happy, I'll hardly be able to stand it. But then those things don't happen when we think or hope. What then? Rather than achieving the happiness we assumed we'd have, we suddenly feel deflated, lost, hopeless maybe--decidedly unhappy.

I don't want to waste my life waiting for the next "big dream" to come true to be happy. I am good at staying positive and focusing on right now, being happy with where I am... most of the time. But I slip up. Things don't go the way I'd hoped, or planned. Doubts creep in. My "failures" loom and sometimes overshadow the blessings of my days.

"There is only one way to happiness, and that is to cease worrying things which are beyond the power of our will." - Epictetus

I know I need to stop worrying about the things that are outside the power of my will, or my ability to do anything about. Some days I'm good about it, some days not so much. My children are young right now, and I don't want to miss these years of their lives, dreaming of what the future holds. I want to hold on to them, to cherish them. I want to cherish where my life is right now. Have I met all the dreams and goals I thought and hoped I would by February of 2011? No. But were they all in my control? No. Have I done the best I can do, made all the effort I can to reach those goals? Yes, I have. The ones in my power, I have reached. So I need to learn to be happy with that knowledge. And someday, maybe those dreams that aren't in my power, that I hope to have come true, will become reality. I certainly hope so. But for now, I need to remember to find joy in the dreams that have come true -- a wonderful husband, two amazing sons, a beautiful daughter on the way, shelter, food, cars that run.

What do you do to stay happy when things don't go the way you hope or planned?

15 comments:

DL Hammons said...

Chasing after happiness only leaves us...exhausted! You have the right attitude, enjoy the now. Disappointments shift the next rung on the ladder, but shouldn't affect the ground we stand on. :)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

That is a really important thing to consider--You have reached all the goals that have been within your power to control. That's in itself an accomplishment! Such an inspirational post. It's too easy to get caught up in the waiting and hoping that we forget to just enjoy what we have.I think we just need to find that balance between finding contentment (and happiness!) with the way things are while simultaneously striving to achieve greater. I don't always succeed in finding that balance either. But that's when reminders like yours come in handy ;)

Carolyn V said...

Excellent attitude!!! I need me some o' that! =D

I try to stay positive when things aren't going the way I planned them too. But I find there is always a reason why things don't fit into place. Plus it's taught me to keep going. So it's all good. =D

ali said...

This is a beautiful post Sara. I am a firm believer in the prayer, "God grant me the serenity/to accept the things I cannot change;/courage to change the things I can;/and wisdom to know the difference."

Like you, I apply all that I can to the things I can change, but "let go and let God" with everything else. Sometimes it takes a real act of will to let go, but when I do I'm much, much happier.

((hugs))

Shari said...

It is sometimes difficult to stay positive when we find things aren't going the way we'd hoped. I just keep reminding myself to do what I can and let God do the rest. Timing is everything. Unfortunately, we don't get to choose it. Bummer, huh?

WindyA said...

It is hard to remember to be happy with what we have. That's really the first step. When things don't go my way, I tend to throw myself into what I already know makes me happy. Like spending time with my family, reading a good book, or just writing something new. But I do have to say, there's nothing like hugs from your kidlets to help in the feeling better realm :)

Aubrey said...

When I am unhappy and things aren't going the way I want and I need a pick me up, I call my friends, I get out of the house and remember about the people out there who love me and care about me.

Elle Strauss said...

I have to remind myself of this everyday. I already have everything most people want in this world. I'm blessed!

Stacy Henrie said...

I think you hit it right on - remembering what we do have, how we're already blessed. I also have two sons and a daughter, it's lots of fun.

Danyelle said...

This is hard sometimes, but you're totally right. Chasing after a dream always leaves you empty if the dream that's always just beyond reach is all you see. It is important to see the wonderful things happening in the now. Thanks for the reminder. :D

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I guess I just feel blessed when I know I've done all that I can. There's only so much I can do, I can't do everything. But I think you have the right mindset - wanting to cherish the present is the best way to do it. :)

Colene Murphy said...

That is a really great way to think about it. So true!

Jennie Bailey said...

It's so hard to accept that our goals aren't always accomplished on our schedule! Sometimes by trying to rush them along, we can actually get in our own way and end up farther from them! Or maybe that only happens to me. Trying to focus on the now and stay in the moment - counting the blessing that I already have - that is what I try to do to keep myself happy.

Elana Johnson said...

This is a hard one. I try to remember that it's not really my life, and I shouldn't make plans. Then no matter what happens, I'm happy.

Of course, if we're talking that I suddenly need a ticket to the signing event on Saturday and I didn't know that and can't get up to SLC to get a ticket, then I'm just mad. Ha!

alexia said...

This is so me! I am very goal oriented and get unhappy when I'm not making progress. To fight this, I just try to focus on enjoying the small pleasures. The journey, not the destination :)