Happiness Is An Inside Job

Happiness is Family. From L to R, sister Cally, Mom, Me, sister Mary
Happiness is Family. From L to R, sister Cally, Mom, Me, sister Mary

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Abraham Lincoln

I was reading the paper this morning and the news is depressing and discouraging. Some of us are unhappy and miserable; worse yet, we are taking our anger out on other people.

Companies expect more and more from their employees. Boundary issues creep up when you want to keep your job but more and more is dumped upon you. What’s a person to do besides chuck it all and head for the hills?

Deep down inside of me there is a little voice that will sometimes cry in the wilderness. If the forest gets too thick, I don’t hear the voice. When I go for a walk with myself, I walk towards the voice. As it gets closer and closer, I slowly regain my sense of self.

What does the voice say to me? It will sometimes say “You are a good person” when really, I am not feeling so good about myself. It will also say “You need to slow down a bit, stop and smell the roses.” Ah, that is a good one. It will also say “You are eating too many mini Snickers left over from Easter.” To that one, I usually laugh and we have a good chuckle together.

I finally consider myself good company. There was a time when I spent no time with me because I was too busy, buried in responsibilities and other mind consuming functions. Rarely did I stop and listen to myself. I sometimes didn’t like what my own inner voice said to me.

Truth is, when I am tired and stressed, my thoughts are not calm. They can be hurtful, toxic and mean. A good night’s sleep and simple food can sometimes restore them. Getting out for a walk or being among nature almost always restores my center.

Happiness is an inside job. Since I cannot change others, I can only change myself. The responsibility to create a happy life is mine and mine alone. So I can either change my thoughts or reposition my own life. Stress management techniques can help us center ourselves better. It is not a sign of weakness to reach out for help. It is a sign of strength.

I bring with me the tools I learned in the past to help me cope with the present. Sometimes I need more tools in my happiness toolkit. These tools I find in great books, awesome people and spiritual encounters. It takes a bit of humility to open myself to a different way of thinking but it is worth it. I am in charge of my own happiness.

Have you ordered/read my book yet? If not, click HERE for the Amazon link. Thank you!

Join me on my graceful journey.

Love Is Like A Rock

I’ve been staying at my mom’s on and off during her recovery. Recently, we watched the movie “Hope Springs” together. Have you seen it? The movie stars Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in a marriage gone stale. It was quite the interesting story if you ask me.

Without giving too much away, Meryl Streep decides after 31 years of marriage (and separate bedrooms), she wants more. Tired of no intimacy and the same routine day in and day out, she decides to challenge the status quo and sign up for a marriage enrichment program in a town called Hope Springs. Her husband says he is not going, blah blah blah, but (much to Meryl’s delight) he shows up for the plane departure.

Husband Tommy has plenty of money but they stay at the EconoLodge. He sleeps on the pull out couch while Meryl sleeps in the bed. The poor psychologist has his work cut out for himself as Tommy flings verbal hatred at him. But I know what’s really going on. Poor ol’ Tommy is in deep seated fear. Fear of change. Fear of feeling real love.

I know there are many troubled marriages and relationships in the world. I’m sure this movie caused some people to squirm in their seats. I am one of the lucky ones. I felt no uncomfortable-ness. I “hoped” for them and the repair of their marriage.

My Favorite Picture of Jim and I! Taken by my sister, Cally Jamis Vennare
My Favorite Picture of Jim and Me! Taken by my sister, Cally Jamis Vennare

Jim and I certainly do not have the perfect relationship. We are only human and only God is perfect. We do however, have the “tools in our toolbox” to work most issues out. And we have had some big issues in the nearly 33 years of being together.

As any couple in a long term relationship will tell you, it is not about who is squeezing the toothpaste tube from the bottom or who makes the bed better. A couple who has been together for a while knows how to pick their battles. The real secret to relationship happiness, I’ve come to believe, is not to lose yourself in the process.

Though my marriage has been through many ups and downs over the years, there was a period about seven years ago when I finally became comfortable with who I was. At that point, my unreasonable expectations of Jim fell away. I was responsible for myself and he was stuck loving me the way I was. Thankfully, he loves me as I am. And I love him for who he is.

I believe this unconditional love is the secret to happiness…in anything. Point my finger, tell you how to do it better and I make you miserable. Focus on myself and what my needs are and my life becomes my responsibility. Focusing on what my husband may or may not be doing is not the answer. Loving him for who he realistically is….this is the secret to a happy marriage.

When my mom was ill in the hospital this past winter, Jim was my rock. He endured my tears, fears, tantrums and joys. He was there every step of the way. I called him My Rock on numerous occasions and I still believe this. Without him to lean on, I would have been lost.

On May 10, Jim and I were married 32 years. May you be blessed to have (or to have had) someone in your life, spouse or likewise, who means as much to you. I believe in my heart we are all worthy of unconditional love, not only from others but especially from the God of our own understanding.

Welcome Daily Prompt Readers! Is there someone in your life who is your rock? It doesn’t have to be a spouse! Who can you be yourself with but yet lean on in times of stress?

Join me on my graceful journey.