Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Happiness is Wanting What You Have


Well, I'm off tomorrow morning to my Texas women's conference! I'm super busy packing and getting everything ready, so today's post will be the intro of my talk, which I had to write out in full just in case my kidney stone acts up and someone else has to deliver it for me (the talk, not the stone...). heehee

Without further ado, here it is:

HAPPINESS IS WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE

©2010 Susan Noyes Anderson

For more years than I care to count, one of my favorite quotes has been this one: Happiness isn’t having what you want, it’s wanting what you have. As a relatively untried and untested young girl, I admit that I was kind of a Pollyanna type. These days, though, as a well-tried and all-too-frequently-tested old woman, I can tell you from experience that unless you’re clinically depressed (and even then, there’s agency involved in getting the help you need), the decision to be happy is just that…a decision. Your own choice. I’m not saying it’s always an easy choice; in fact, many times it isn’t easy at all, but it will always be the right choice. Why? Because it makes you feel good! And it makes other people feel good, too.

When I worked as a counselor, I learned that some women don’t like the idea of taking responsibility for their own happiness. It sort of offends them to think that if they’re not happy there’s something they could or should be doing about it. But here’s the thing. Playing the victim role never got a sad person any joy. The truth is...embracing the idea that your happiness is pretty much up to you is empowering. Why should any woman give up little pieces of her happiness to the fickle whims of uncontrollable events or (even more uncontrollable) other people, when she can take the reins herself? Knowing that you can be the creator of your own destiny opens up a world of adventure and possibility. It allows you to be the master of your own fate…the writer of your own story…the fulfiller of your own dreams. It gives you room to be large and in charge…a doer instead of a boo-hooer.

Of course, we all need to boo-hoo once in a while. I’ve been known to do it myself…but it works better as a venting mechanism than it does as a lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, grieving people need to grieve with all their hearts until they are finished, and I’m good with that. It’s necessary for the healing process...and therapeutic, too. But even those who mourn need to keep themselves moving through the pain. And the non-mourners…those everyday sufferers facing everyday sorrows and disappointments, need to keep their sadness moving, as well. Giving ourselves one or two days off for a pity party is just fine, but going beyond that is pretty much wallowing and not very constructive. There’s no upside in letting negative energy dictate who we are and how we feel.

Years ago, a sign in my office at Friends of the Family Counseling Center proclaimed, “The Fairy Godmother Isn’t Coming!” Too often, people visited the clinic wanting to be “fixed,” and I needed to make the point, graphically, that each individual had to do what was necessary to fix herself. I would hold out my empty hands as “proof” that I held no magic wand and that whatever positive changes clients made would be a result of their hard work, not mine. Some of them liked that, while others didn’t want to do the work. Can you guess which group found more of what they were wanting in their lives?

Being a writer, I’m fond of acronyms: both to make a statement and to serve as a tool for remembering what that statement is. Today, my statement is LIVE. That’s it. Just live. But do it in a way that feels good. A way that give you a better chance at finding the joy we all seek… and of hanging onto it through the inevitable times of sadness and loss we will all experience. While we can’t control the wind, what we can do is adjust our sails. We can also paint those sails in the brightest colors available to us.

The brightest color I know of is love, so the first letter of our acronym for LIVE (as in “how to” and “happily”) is L, which stands for Love God. (That should be a no-brainer, right?) The next letter, I, invites us to Invest in Others. (You’re probably thinking “service” with that one, but I’m here to suggest there’s a little more to it than that.) V stands for Value Your Gifts, which looks like a deep end full of murky water for some of the women I know. And E can appear equally challenging with Engage Yourself, a notion that might make even the most daring and determined woman run the other direction. After all, engaging takes extra effort…and energy. Since energy is a valuable commodity, we all have to spend it wisely. So let’s take a few minutes to explore these suggestions in depth and see what we come up with...

(end of intro)

What d'ya think? Does it leave you wanting more or make you feel like fleeing to the hills?

;)

29 comments:

Momza said...

Man, Sue--I so wish I was going to be in Texas, sitting at your feet and soaking all of this good stuff in!! Love your acronym--it's going on the Say What plate today!!!!
Have a safe trip; can't wait to hear all about it when you get home!! Those Texans are about to get lasso-ed with alot of goodness!

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

I love it. I wish I could be there to hear it in full. I completely and totally agree with your philosophy and think it is the real secret to happiness.

This one of my favorite posts you've written. :)

Jess said...

I would love to be there to hear your whole talk- please say you'll post the rest, your intro definitely left me wanting to hear the rest!

jen said...

post the rest please. don't have a kidney attack please. come back safely please.
have a great time please!

Laraine Eddington said...

I agree with your premise and think it is a great intro. Please feel free to use my song, since originally it wasn't mine anyway. I'm flattered. (You can also send them to my blog if you feel like it!) Good luck Sue, you'll be marvelous.

Elena said...

Please tell us that you are going to be posting the rest of your talk!! It is wonderful and I wish I was going to be in Texas to hear the end!

Jenny said...

Have fun in Texas! Sounds like its going to be an interesting conference!

Lisalulu said...

Love your subject (think I stole it a couple weeks ago for my Wednesday Wisdom) YOU'll be great, they will love you and be totally inspired. Good luck rolling that stone!

Braden said...

This is great stuff, Sue. I hope you'll post the whole thing when you get back.

KC Mom said...

Wait....my fairy godmother isn't coming???? :)
I know the trick to happiness is losing yourself in serving and loving others....I think they are going to LOVE your talk and hopefully they will LIVE it too.

Darlene said...

Great great intro!!! I think it has helped me right this minute. I have always known that if we want to be happy, we need to work at it. Happiness doen't always just come automatically. In fact, sometimes, just the opposite. I can relate to having to work at making myself happy, and most of the time I am pretty good at it. I have lately had a few problems with working things out. I am doing better though, and I think after reading your intro, I am on the right track. At any rate, your talk should go over with a bang. I just know it will. I feel sure that most of the people there will respond to it in a positive manner. I just wish that I could be there to hear the rest of it. You will have to bring a copy of it when you come to see us, okay?

In the meantime, feel well and keep that hugantic kidney stone at bay until you can get home to get it blasted. Hope that you can get that done before you come here.

Cherie said...

Sue I was hanging on every word - I absolutely loved it! It was dead on true too!
I am no counselor but I am very much a cup half full person. If I am having a bad day or a bad time in my life no one usually knows. I work it out and work through it and keep on moving.
I have had a few comments on my blog from time to time which said in essence "Do you ever have a bad day?". Well "yes" thank you very much but I don't like to dwell on it.
I do not do well with negative people. I have had to many things happen in my own life and remained happy to not know that you choose to be happy or not.
I say "Choose Happy - Choose to LIVE!" Love your acronym!

Have a great time :D

karen said...

I definitely want to hear the whole thing! I love what you're saying and it excites me to think about how inspiring your whole talk will be. I would love to be able to let both my daughter and DIL read it too.
Have a wonderful time, and take care of that stone! Hopefully it won't be rolling about. Good luck, be safe, and post the whole thing upon return! I'm anxious to hear all about it. Those women don't know how lucky they are! Well, they will...

Joy For Your Journey said...

I loved the intro and wish I could hear the whole talk. I totally agree with everything you said--hence the name of my blog. I know so many people who will complain about their life and all the problems they have--and they have many, but my thought is always, "So your life is what it is, now find the joy in it" Although I have a daughter who is the most positive person I know. She can find something positive in everything. I love that.

And I love your acronym. I am going to print that and post it by my computer so I can remember to apply it to my life.

Thanks so much! Good luck with your talk and good luck with that nasty kidney stone!!

Roger and LeAnn said...

I am moved by this post. I have some daughters that need to hear this message. I so agree with your thoughts. You are an excellent writer; and bless you for sharing these thoughts. I loved them.
Blessings and hugs to you! I am sure that you trip will be a great success. I wish I could be there. LeAnn

Heather Anderson said...

I really wish I could be there to hear it... sounds like a good one!

My name is PJ. said...

Brilliant! You should teach classes to women...and I mean it!!

Snarky Belle said...

More, more, I want more!! That would bring me happiness! :)

VK said...

Right up my alley. Really. I know that how we act positively instead of reacting negatively to our lives can make or break our entire personalities.
You say it so well too.
Good Luck.

Em said...

amen to that! the best thing about living on a tight budget for me was learning that whether or not i had everything i wanted i was still the same person enjoying the same life. as long as i have the family and make fun memories nothing else brings anymore happiness.

...however, i wouldn't mind a nice tropical vacation in a year once we have our feet under us;-) lol but that falls under the "making memories" category!

Tom and Karen Mortensen said...

Love it, love it , love it and amen. You are awesome.

Jessica said...

I wish I could hear the whole thing.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Oh Sue, that was amazing! You're going to wow them for sure!

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Sue where are you in Texas. Broke vertebraes or not I would love to hear you.
I loved this post today and as always I want more. It was meant for me to read this today and especially today.
Thanks so much for lifting me up where I need to be
Love
Maggie

Nancy said...

Amazing weekend, Sue!

Nancy said...

One more thing dear cousin, since you left Texas.... the positive feedback is all about how memorable your comments were. I just know you helped some of the wonderful ladies who were smart enough to take time out to hear you. Thank you again for sharing you talent with us. Love Ya!

Janel said...

Thanks for sharing that little part!!! I loved it!! It's so good! Wish I could hear the rest!!

My name is PJ. said...

I totally, completely agree with that! It's brilliant!

Have fun in Texas! Knock 'em dead!

Emili said...

Love it!

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