Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Am Choosing to be Happy

A few days ago, my 7-year-old son asked me why I never smile and how come I never seem happy.

Now, this was at 9:20pm on a school night after I was up at 4:15am to run five miles; worked 9 hours plus my hour commute; helped with homework; cooked dinner; cleaned up; packed lunches for the next day; and then about to begin the bed-time dawdle that we go through each night (i.e.:  I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I have to pee, one more book all at a snail’s pace).
Believe me, this is no excuse and I was devastated that this was – and may be – Shane’s perception of me. 

But, by the end of my day, I’m seriously at the end of my rope.  That night, all I wanted to do was get vertical in my own bed with a good book that I was almost done reading.  I could not hide my frustration or lack of patience.
I would be lying if I said his words didn’t stick with me causing me to sleep poorly and, the next morning, I awoke feeling out of sorts and like a failure as a mother.

I pretty much beat myself up all day long.  I just couldn’t see the positive in the situation and felt hopeless.  Resigned to believe that for the past seven years and two months, I have been gearing Shane up for years of therapy as an adult.
I spoke with Jason late that afternoon and he talked me off the ledge a bit.  His thoughts were that – since I work full-time – I only get to see Shane for about three hours each week night before he goes to bed.  He made the perception that I am up early and pretty happy all day but, when I get home, I can get “cranky.” 

Jason suggested that I should conjure up images from one of our favorite movies, and use that as inspiration to be more happy and positive at home in the evenings.
This would be the Oscar award-winning, Italian movie, Life is Beautiful, in which Roberto Benigni plays the father, who uses his fruitful imagination to help his family while they are imprisoned in a Nazi Concentration Camp.

OMG, I just deflated like a balloon. That would certainly be my always optimistic, upbeat, positive husband who is more like Benigni than I.  I have always thought of myself more like Glen Close in Fatal Attraction.  Not to mention, is living with me like life in a concentration camp?  I knew Jason was trying to help, but I felt as though I was at a roadblock.
My son is the absolute most important person in my life but, if you know me, I am certainly a glass half empty girl.  I just couldn’t even imagine myself pausing during my evening rants and reflect upon being a better person.  I mean, that just isn’t me.

I am constantly working hard to be a more positive person, but it is a lot of work, and only because I choose to be happy. It doesn't always come naturally to me.
I continued to feel defeated until I picked up Shane from school.  He was his happy, go-lucky self and we spent a wonderful evening together.  We hit up the library, then the Counter for dinner, home for some homework, a nice long bath, and we read his coveted chapter book, “Frankie Pickles,” before he went to bed at …of course…9:20pm.

But I was able to reinforce to him that I am happy and, sometimes, I am just tired and short on patience.  I let him know that he and his dad – among my other family members – are the most important people in my life.  I

t was a wonderful night and Shane let me know that being around me makes him happy.
Whew!

I felt a million times better when I woke up the next morning and when I looked to my Inbox, I found the following DailyOm about "Making Life Yours" which was just so perfect; especially the following verse:

“To make a conscious decision to be happy is not enough. You must learn to observe life’s complexities through the eyes of a child seeing everything for the first time. You must furthermore divest yourself of preconceived notions of what is good and what is bad so that you can appreciate the rich insights concealed in each stage of your life’s journey. And you must strive to discover the dual joys of wanting what you have. As you gradually shift your perspective, your existence will be imbued with happiness and contentment that will remain with you forever.”
I was meant to receive this post yesterday and I can’t think of anything more apropos and, since I have those little child eyes watching me, I believe these are words to live by so I am choosing to be happy...and smile more often.

I have included the whole post for your reading pleasure:

Making Life Yours
Perception

A simple shift in attitude can help us recognize the hidden potential for fulfillment in every event.


There is no secret recipe for happiness and contentment. The individuals who move through life joyously have not necessarily been blessed with lives of abundance, love, success, and prosperity. Such people have, however, been blessed with the ability to take the circumstances they’ve been handed and make them into something great. Our individual realities are colored by perception—delight and despair come from within rather than without. Situations we regard as fortuitous please us while situations we judge inauspicious cause us no end of grief. Yet if we can look at all we have accomplished without dwelling on our perceived misfortune and make each new circumstance our own, the world as a whole becomes a brighter place. A simple shift in attitude can help us recognize and unearth the hidden potential for personal and outer world fulfillment in every event, every relationship, every duty, and every setback.

The universe is often an unpredictable and chaotic place, and the human tendency is to focus on the negative and assume the positive will care for itself. But life can be no more or no less than what you make of it. If you are working in a job you dislike, you can concentrate on the positive aspects of the position and approach your work with gusto. What can you do with this job that can turn it around so you do love it? When faced with the prospect of undertaking a task you fear, you can view it as an opportunity to discover what you are truly capable of doing. Similarly, unexpected events, when viewed as surprises, can add flavor to your existence. By choosing to love life no matter what crosses your path, you can create an atmosphere of jubilance that is wonderfully infectious. A change in perspective is all it takes to change your world, but you must be willing to adopt an optimistic, hopeful mind-set.

To make a conscious decision to be happy is not enough. You must learn to observe life’s complexities through the eyes of a child seeing everything for the first time. You must furthermore divest yourself of preconceived notions of what is good and what is bad so that you can appreciate the rich insights concealed in each stage of your life’s journey. And you must strive to discover the dual joys of wanting what you have. As you gradually shift your perspective, your existence will be imbued with happiness and contentment that will remain with you forever.

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