Thursday, May 16, 2013

Perspective is a huge component of happiness

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.”
― Horace Walpole

Man, oh, man...happiness is something I've struggled with my whole life.  I blame it on the Disney princesses.  Everything in their world ALWAYS turned out rosy and that "happily ever after" BS is what lands me into hot water EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Me: "Isn't this supposed to be HAPPILY EVER AFTER?  Why am I so angry/sad/upset/ridiculously emotional?"

Life:  "Dude, did you REALLY buy into that whole GLASS SLIPPER thing?  Think about it for half a second.  A glass slipper would HURT.  It would CUT YOU.  There's absolutely NO GIVE in a glass slipper and it would shatter the instant it hit the ground.  Glass slippers simply aren't feasible."

Me: "But...what about the BIRDS WHO HELP ME DRESS?"

Life (slapping me hard in the face): "You're an IDIOT."

So, I've struggled with happiness all my life.  And it really isn't that I'm necessarily DEPRESSED.  It's just that I'm not overcome with JOY most of the time.  So, if I'm not skipping along singing show tunes I assume that I'm simply NOT HAPPY ENOUGH.  

Don't they look HAPPY? (Photo courtesy
I realize that this is crazy.  I really do.  And I know you think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not.  I truly believe that life should be THISCLOSE to a fantastic musical starring a beaming Julie Andrews (or, rather, ME).  But, with the help of some fine therapists and some more reality-based, grounded friends, I'm learning to accept that complete and utter Disney joy 24/7 really isn't exactly possible.  WHO KNEW?

I've gotten to a place in my life over the last six months where (most of the time with a few notable exceptions) I am fairly even-keeled.  I feel content and at peace most of the time.  I'm learning that THIS feeling is more akin to real happiness.  It's pretty wonderful.  And I've had EVERYTHING I needed to feel this way all along.  But, instead of being irritated with myself and my own slow learning curve, I'm learning to recognize and embrace the things that lend to my happiness on a daily basis.

Just yesterday, these wonderful happiness-lending experiences happened to me:

  • I laughed one of those really super hard laughs while talking to a friend.  I mean the kind of laugh where your sides ache and tears spring from your eyes.  For a long time.  And that phone call came at exactly the right moment. 
  • My youngest son told me that I was a blend of 1/2 crappy and 1/2 perfect as a mother.  I thought this was absolutely wonderful because it's pretty much spot-on.
  • I watched my eldest son laughing ('cause I'm a creeper that way).
  • I woke up snuggled next to Sparky.
  • I got to play with bubbles, watch ants crawl, listen to bells ringing and dogs barking, and watch the wind blow through tall grass with a two-year-old.  THAT was pure magic.
  • As I drove home late last night, the air was warm and my windows were rolled down and my music was turned up.  I smiled and sang the whole way home.
I still have a ways to go to become a truly even-tempered person.  But I work on it continually.  And eventually, I'll find true consistency over time.  Like most of us, I'm always learning, always growing and always receptive to change.

“Life's under no obligation to give us what we expect.”
                                    ― Margaret Mitchell
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