Are You Happy? An Examination of What is Really Beneath Our Unhappiness

Are you happy? It is a question you may not ask yourself very often. Most people usual answer with fine. If you are unhappy in some area of your life though, I bet you tell people all about how dissatisfied you are with that aspect of your life. After all, we are very good at focussing on what is not going well, but embarrassed to talk about what is going right. It is like we should be ashamed of being happy. Let’s take a deeper look at happiness and how to find it more of the time.

When I was a teenager, I was not a very happy girl. My grandmother, who was always so wise, gave me a little plaque to hang in my bedroom. It had a poem on it about happiness. It hung in my home until just a few years ago when it got packed away for a move and never reemerged from the box. I do not know who wrote the poem but it was titled simply Happiness. The basis of the poem was that happiness is a choice we make. It is not someone else’s responsibility. It is up to us, individually, to decide to be happy. So, I ask you, do you choose to be happy? If not, what is getting in your way?

Dissatisfaction could be the culprit. I was listening to my yogi playlist on random while working today. In the midst of the meditative yoga music the Yoga Niyamas started to play as taught by some very wise Yoga Guru. The Niyamas are basically a code of behavior or principles for life. I was just getting ready to hit the skip button when he started talking about happiness. He then said something that hit me as very profound. He said it is not whatever we are dissatisfied about that is making us unhappy. He gave some examples of this as our job or spouse. He then goes on to say; they are not the cause of our unhappiness. What is actually making us unhappy is our dissatisfaction. Really think about that. If I am dissatisfied with some aspect of my life because it doesn’t look like someone else’s life, it is not that aspect that is making me unhappy. It is my dissatisfaction.

Let’s look at a fictitious scenario that I have heard many times over. My friend Jane comes to me and complains about her husband Tom. She is upset with Tom because he doesn’t help out around the house. This has made her very dissatisfied with her marriage. She compares Tom to my husband Marty who does dishes and laundry with a smile. Because Tom is not measuring up to Marty, Jane is unhappy with her marriage. Marriage is a big part of life, when you are married. Jane’s unhappiness flows over into her overall feelings about life. If you ask Jane if she is happy, she will tell you she is not. Is Tom making Jane unhappy? No, he is not. It is Jane’s dissatisfaction that is causing her unhappiness. She compared Tom to someone else and felt he did not measure up. She set an expectation for Tom that he is unwilling or unable to achieve, if he even knows about it at all.

Now let’s say Jane talks to a wise friend; does some deep self work or gets some therapy. Slowly her perspective starts to shift. She starts to focus on the things in her life she does like. Then she starts to notice the things about Tom that she genuinely appreciates. Suddenly her dissatisfaction with the fact that he doesn’t push the vacuum cleaner around the house disappears; as her focus shifts to what a great provider Tom is. Perhaps it is even simpler than that; maybe Jane just decides to be happy. She starts ignoring the things she is dissatisfied with and makes a choice to be happy even if everything in her life is not perfect.

We see examples of people who choose happiness everyday. The person who is going through cancer treatment with a smile on her face. The guy who looses his job and sees it as an opportunity to try something new. The person who has a parent, who picks at them all the time and just shrugs their shoulders. Saying that is how that person has always been so why let it upset them. Happiness is a choice. It is a choice we get to make every day; in every situation and relationship. I am so grateful for my wise grandmother. Who, in her loving way, helped me to realized I was causing my own misery.  I hope you can look past your dissatisfaction on the things that don’t meet your expectations and choose to be happy anyway.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find happiness an easy choice to make, as if by magic.

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A Life of Your Choosing

We all make choices about our life. Emy and I have both chosen very different lives for ourselves. For Emy, working a 9-5 job and having a typical boss, is something she has decided is not what she has wanted for her life. I tried running my own holistic healing business but decided I wanted the security of knowing how much money was coming in and that I got paid vacation time. We both appreciate the choices we have made some of the time but at other times, our lives make us crazy.

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.                                                                                                                                  ~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Emy’s current life choices give her the ability to go to the gym in the middle of the day and work out as long as she would like to. She can curl up and take a nap in the middle of the afternoon if she so choses. She can keep her house immaculate and start vegetables from seed. It is a lovely life but there are sacrifices she makes as a result. She may not have the extra income readily available to take the trip to Costa Rica she has been dreaming of. She may need to rely on her husband to provide for her needs. These are not horrible conciseness. They are just the reality of the life she has chosen.
My current life choices are quite different. I have a job working for a nationwide healthcare company. I am on a plane every Monday and every Thursday going to and from work. I get plenty of paid time off (PTO). I have the ability to plan trips to other countries for the 4th year in a row. My husband and I recently bought a boat in Florida. This would not have been possible without my current job, which makes travel so easy. It is a lovely life but there are sacrifices I make as a result. I often have a “to do…” list as long as my arm. I am away from my husband 3 nights a week. I work long hours and carry a lot of stress with me as a result. These also, are not horrible consequences. They are just the reality of the life I have chosen.
Emy’s life is currently threatening to take her down a different road. It will be a grand adventure and what would an Adventure Sister love more than a new journey. It has brought to her attention, how much she took some of the wonderful things about her life for granted. Sometime, when I get stressed, I complain about all that I have on my plate. This conversation with Emy reminded me that what, I have on my plate, is there because I chose to put it there. If I no longer want it I can change it. It is as simple as making different choices. It is as simple as changing my priorities.
We all make choices about our life everyday. All those choices have consequences. They are not necessarily good or bad. They just are. Do you see how the life you have chosen has manifested? What are the beautiful things that your life choices give you? What sacrifices do you make as a result of those choices?

I wish for you, that you love and appreciate the life you have created for yourself!
Thank you for reading my blog today! Have a blessed life today and always!

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Why Does This Always Happen to Me?

Have you ever noticed repeating themes in your life? Maybe you find yourself in the same situation repeatedly. The best predictor of future action is past action. This is the driving reason people ask behavior questions during interviews. This means when these themes repeat in your life, you are likely to handle them in the same way each time. Is there a better way to deal with them?
It has become apparent to me that when we deal with these repeating themes in the same way they will continue to repeat. The only way to really break the pattern is to pick a new response. Let me tell you a story. Ever since I was a small child I have had just a few close friends. I enjoy getting together in groups but tend to be drawn to individual intimate time together. Ever since elementary school I have had friends who do not get along. I was constantly in between my two friends who did not like each other. As I have grown this theme has continued. Although, my friends have matured. Still it seems, I am always having to choose one friend or another to do things with. I have tried being the friend matchmaker and taking on a “ the more the merrier” attitude. It has not worked. I still find myself in a place were I feel pulled between two different people, both wrestling for my time. It has not stopped with friends; I have seen the same thing with family members. At least people like me, right? I have tried being a mediator; trying to help one person to see the other person’s point of view. Still life keeps giving me the opportunity to deal with this in a different way. I do not want to loose any of these people from my life. I cherish my relationships with them all. My current strategy is to spend group time with friends when it works but not to push them on each other. I am allowing for individual time with people too. Will this work? I can not tell at this point in time. Perhaps I will need to try something different in the future.
I had a similar experience with a repeating theme around men who didn’t have time for me when I was dating. I finally noticed the repeating theme and chose another option. I broke up with the men who did not have time for me; moved on in the dating pool. I was blessed to meet a man who makes time with me a priority. He is now my husband. That theme is gone from my life, because I noticed the pattern, prioritized myself, and broke the cycle.
What repeating themes do you have in your life? What could you do differently to have a new outcome?
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