Monday, October 21, 2013

Broader Perspective

October 21, 2013

“Some pursue happiness; others create it.”  Which one are you?

Most of us, I suspect, don’t either pursue or create happiness.  Like all things, there’s a balance to be had there.  There are things I pursue which I believe might make me happy.  I pursued a career path I believed would make me happiest; I pursued a traditional family because I believed being married and having children would make me happy.  Heck, I’ve even pursued the perfect shoe, because nice shoes make me feel good about myself and how I look.  These things have, in fact, made me happy, and I continue to seek out situations and opportunities I feel will enhance my health, wellness, and general sense of contentedness.

Of course, that’s only half the equation—a piece of the balance I try to maintain in my life.  If I was only happy if I got everything I wanted at any given time, I would be a sad, sad individual.  Things do not always go my way, even when I actively work to make those things happen.  Needless to say, I don’t control all the variables in my life.  What I do control, however, is my reaction to them.  When I don’t get something I really want (a job opportunity, for example), or when something goes awry in my everyday life (the air conditioner goes on the fritz in the middle of a 105 degree July day), I often get angry or frustrated or overwhelmed or sad.  But If I let myself stay there and sink into those negative spaces, I might never recover.  I’ve seen it.  There are those who let themselves be mired in the ugliness of anger or cynicism or resentment, and they can’t seem to find their way back.  The longer you stay there in those spaces, the harder it is to come back to the possibility of seeing a broader perspective.  The interesting thing about those who dwell in those negative spaces is that they often convince themselves that they are the only ones who can see ‘reality’, and that those who are happy or content are merely too vapid or naïve to see the ‘truth’.  The truth, in actuality, is that happiness is a choice.  You can choose to see a broader perspective.  That’s not naiveté; that’s mental health.

Broader perspective?  That’s how I create happiness for myself.  When I don’t get the job I was hoping for, I have to assume that it’s for the best, and that something else I’m more suited for will turn up unexpectedly.  When my air conditioner decides to call it quits on the hottest day of the year, I can grumble and moan (and believe me, I do!), but I can also say, at least I’ve got a pool.  Even more importantly, at least I’ve got a home where my kids have a safe place to stay.  It’s an old house, and it requires repairs and TLC to keep it a home, but it is, indeed, a home.  My family is together and intact; we are healthy and we are loved.  And we are happy.  Why?  Because that’s what we choose.  That’s what we create.

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