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Lanette

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Happiness is a choice [Sep. 28th, 2009|08:10 am]
Lanette
[Current Mood |hopefulhopeful]

This morning reading an article about poverty in other countries made me wonder why when so many are unable to even feed their families in the world there is so much misery combined with so much comparative wealth here.

I suppose at the moment I'm feeling patient about this topic because I'm doing all I can to move towards it. It helps to be focused on a happy future rather than stuck in my own head about the past. Your own brain can get stuck in a cycle of being a tormentor, yet if someone were floating above you they would see no reason at all for your misery. We are not a helpless servant of the brain unable to do anything about the natural tendency it has to roam about the same paths over and over. We are able to course correct it, although it is very difficult and signals from within our body and outside events can certainly influence it. However, the main choice lies in how we respond, how quickly we recover, and how surely we get back up when knocked down.

If we are to truly move towards happinessa more frequently optimistic attitude, there is no reason to fear external events as we can trust our ability to handle what comes and respond in as positive as possible a reaction. What can I do today to replenish the store of happiness and gratitude for small pleasures in life along the way? Because this day isn't going to come again, Monday or not.
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[User Picture]From: pattinthehatt
2009-09-28 03:28 pm (UTC)
I was once reading a bunch of statistics about conditions in third world countries, and the thing that hit me the hardest was something like, "Remember that your garbage disposal probably eats better than most of the rest of the world." Oh gosh. How true is that. I hate things going to waste, but it still happens.

So many times in my life I've even felt like I've had a personal kick from karma telling me I need to stop feeling sorry for myself. Several years ago, for instance, I dashed into the grocery store to grab something, and groaned when I saw that every open register had a god-awful long line. Hearing my groan, one of the employees that I saw in there all the time said to me, in his heavily accented voice, "I understand. When I see these lines it always reminds me of back home in Russia where we must wait in long lines for everything, and many times they run out before it is our turn."

There was no accusation in his voice, only the sharing of a memory. But yikes did I feel like an ass. I don't even recall what I ran in there for, but it's unlikely it was life or death. And here I was feeling sorry for myself when it wasn't even a big deal compared to what he'd been through and what people over there are probably still going through.

Just because other people have it worse, it does not mean, of course, that our own problems are invalidated. But I know sometimes the perspective does me a world of good.
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[User Picture]From: starrynytes4me
2009-09-28 05:33 pm (UTC)
I think about the rest of the world who deals with so many of the stresses I do without the care or comfort or little things that make life so much better. I am humbled for sure.

Agreed of course that our problems are still valid an so much of the broader sense of family and community that they have. In comparison we are living alone in isolation with all of our goods like dragons.
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[User Picture]From: christabel
2009-09-28 05:08 pm (UTC)
I don't think happiness is a destination at all. I don't think you really move towards but rather it is a means of traveling through this life. I think it is sometimes spontaneous and surprising and sometimes a route you carve out for yourself through rugged terrain. It is worth it, though. Joy is as much about the desire for it as it is luck and providence.

I think you have an incredible light and it will radiate outward and guide you if you let it, Lanette. You'll find your right place. You can manifest your own happiness. I believe it. And I believe in you. *HUGS*

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[User Picture]From: pattinthehatt
2009-09-28 05:27 pm (UTC)
I find your take on this really interesting. I do think it is the nature of most people to be one way or the other, and I think that can be altered, but it is difficult. I am in my mid forties now, and as giggly and given to being a Pollyanna as I was in my youth. I have been through some horrific things, and I have been incredibly sad for periods of time, but, even then, it was my nature to still find joy in many things.

I think life can break a person who is naturally given to being upbeat, and I think a person who is not given to being upbeat can learn to look at things from a different angle, but I suspect it takes an awful lot to change the basic nature of a person.

But it's interesting to think about!
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[User Picture]From: starrynytes4me
2009-09-28 05:35 pm (UTC)
There is some scientific evidence pointing to optimism being a personality trait, but I don't think that is the same as happiness. I think it is possible to be a contented pessimist especially if other people aren't required for your happiness.
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[User Picture]From: christabel
2009-09-28 05:39 pm (UTC)
Well I'm 36 now and certainly been dealt enough bad hands in life to be pessimistic or bitter but I just flat out refuse to be. I am not always "happy" but I am always driven to make the most out of any situation, even the bad ones. I wake up some mornings and feel like I stumbled into the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and sometimes I have to take the garden hose and make my own rainbow. My boots get a little muddy but I always was a puddle stomper anyway. "You cannot leave everything to Fate, boy. She's got a lot to do. Sometimes you must give her a hand " to quote Da Vinci in Ever After. I think this includes your own sense of joy or happiness. Sure, sh*t happens but it's really mostly about attitude. Do you allow random acts of kindness and cruelty to decide your life for you or do you decide how those acts will impact you and to what degree? Is there a lesson to learn or a lesson to give? Is there a purpose for your misery. If not let go of it and focus on healthier and more productive pursuits... and by gosh do it with a smile and some flair! :)

Edited at 2009-09-28 05:41 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: oh_foxyroxy
2009-09-28 05:56 pm (UTC)
Ditto what Bel said! That's my take on happiness as well.
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[User Picture]From: starrynytes4me
2009-09-28 08:03 pm (UTC)
Try giving the last paragraph a read again. I also don't think happiness is a destination, but it seems like the Eeyore thoughts from the media and the "Oh ain't that terrible" part of our culture has a negative thought magnet being pulled through our culture to where it seems overwhelming. I think gratitude and small pleasures "along the way" are a big help to keeping the chin up and not getting lost in suffering.
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[User Picture]From: pattinthehatt
2009-09-28 06:11 pm (UTC)
I actually tend to see the ridiculousness of a lot of rudeness or even of things intended to be cruel, and end up laughing at them. Heh... maybe I should wear a warning label... be mean to me and you'll probably end up as a funny story in my repertoire. :o)

I see magic all around me. When the plants come out of the ground, when I see a beautiful bird or animal, when I hear children laughing, smell a delicious smell... all of that lifts me up and carries me along no matter what else is going on.

The truth about me, and I know that Lanette knows this, is that while I am not suicidal at all, I would peacefully accept death at any time. But that doesn't stop me from being the silly, giggly, happy girl that I have pretty much always been. The sadness that I carry is part of me, just not the dominant part.

Your quote reminds me of that story; I'm sure you've heard it. Most people tell it in the context of Katrina now, but it's a very old story. A man is stranded on a roof top after Katrina, and a rescue boat comes by. The man waves it off, saying God will save him. Another boat comes a couple of days later, and he waves it off... God will save him! Finally a helicopter comes, and he refuses a ride on it, as well. God will save him. Finally he drowns, and when he reaches the pearly gates he's quite upset with God for not saving him. God says, "I sent two boats and a helicopter! What were you waiting for?"

I do believe life is what one makes of it. I love to hear that people find happiness in everything they can. I truly try to do that, but I'm not sure how to inspire others to do the same.
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[User Picture]From: starrynytes4me
2009-09-28 07:47 pm (UTC)
You know, I'm not sure how the phrase "move towards happiness" was so misinterpreted, but I meant as a default way of thinking and approaching things rather than as a destination. I should have clarified or maybe said, "If we are to move towards a more positive default brain space". I think the word happiness has many contexts and meanings and perhaps can be interpreted broadly.
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[User Picture]From: christabel
2009-09-28 08:33 pm (UTC)
Hey I wasn't trying to challenge your way of thinking or criticize? I'm kinda confused here. I was just offering up some support. :/ I don't think anyone here was aiming towards misinterpretation or what have you. Point being we all understand that it is a state of mind, not a a state. ;)
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[User Picture]From: starrynytes4me
2009-09-28 08:40 pm (UTC)
Nope, I didn't see it as criticizing at all, just feeling like I didn't express my thoughts well as I wanted to. That one word can mean so many different things.

I guess the point I was trying to share was "move towards" more in the default attitude, you know? I just think we all have lots to be thankful for, even the freedom to discuss such philosophical things freely is a gift.

I agree with you totally and I think that our points are quite complimentary, but I wanted mostly to explain that our thoughts were in alignment here.
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[User Picture]From: oh_foxyroxy
2009-09-28 08:37 pm (UTC)
Yep, me neither. I think it's neat to see all the different views on it. I was just saying that I agreed with what Bel wrote cause that's the way I tend to view happiness as a whole. There's no right or wrong answer.
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[User Picture]From: starrynytes4me
2009-09-28 08:43 pm (UTC)
I agree with what Bel wrote too, not to mention that she has an artistic and beautiful way of writing, part of why lyrics are so good.

I wanted to change the idea to reflect more of the point which is that positivity isn't even a state or a reaction, but I think that one thing we can do is try to train our brain a bit to focus on the positive first until it becomes more second nature.

Even seeing pets makes me realize this. After trimming Tizzy's nails she was up getting cuddles shortly after, not off sulking about it. Pets are great at moving on an loving us and enjoying the moment. I think dogs have so much to teach us about being happy.
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[User Picture]From: oh_foxyroxy
2009-09-28 08:52 pm (UTC)
Excellent points! I think people in general get stuck on auto pilot too often. There is SO much to be thankful for and beauty all around us.

Pets make life happier!
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