I'm not a big fan of huge displays of emotion. I hate crying, both happy and sad, and I'm no hypocrite. This includes the tears of others as well as my own. Most especially my own. I want you to know before I even type this, that my next statement will identify me as one of the hordes of emotionally handicapped humans limping around on this earth. Nevertheless. Crying makes me think of weakness, which I cannot abide. There, I've said it. Now, on to the topic at hand.
Over the past two days, I have been literally OVERWHELMED, almost to the point of tears. I was stuck in an all-day training class the other day, and instead of paying attention, I was scribbling notes for my life on the back of the training materials. Among other more mundane items such as 'clean shelf', 'finish X document', and 'call the bank', I wrote this:
Place yourself in a position of success.
In my mind, my life is pretty clearly divided into two parts. Before. After. I wasn't miserable in my Before phase, but I was very, very different. Lately I'm trying to become more aware of not denigrating that part of my life, or allowing myself become too negative about it, because it was important. I was happy much of the time. I have taken true delight in every part of raising my two incredible children (now incredible adults) and I have particularly good memories of the years when they were very young. Cuddling and book reading at bedtime, that sort of thing. I loved it. However, as I've mentioned before, I experienced a gigantic change in my life which resulted in being catapulted into the After part of my life. Also known as NOW. I'm happy now, too, but this happiness includes an added dimension of deep, true satisfaction. The big difference between the Before and After phases is difficult to describe, but it has something to do with* following my heart and finding myself. I am fully aware of how hippy-dippy that sounds, but it's true. It also has a lot to do with a new skill I learned. Making better decisions and then following through with them. Consistently. Over and over again, literally for years. It's not always easy, but the result is worth it. The result is a life with less stress, and more happiness. And shouldn't this really be the overarching goal for each and every one of us? I'm not advocating a platform of instant gratification, but rather a workable plan for long-term satisfaction and happiness. I try to remind myself often of how short life is, how quickly time flies, and the fact that as far as I know, this is our only shot. We need to make it count, whatever that means to each of us personally.
What did I mean by placing oneself in a position of success?
For one thing, it means minimizing or cutting out the negative. The flip side of that is embracing and encouraging the positive influences and experiences in your life. Lately, I've been realizing what a powerful tool this is. It feeds upon itself and gains momentum. I headed home after that training not feeling so great, and ended up having an encounter with two people who are in a different place in their journey. What they need right now is encouragement and I tried to provide that. We ended up talking for a while, and the surprising thing was, I was the one who came away inspired. If they're reading now, and they know who they are, I should take this time to say that I have the utmost confidence in their success and happiness. It WILL happen, it's just a matter of time.
I'm taking the long way around of saying that I think the secret to happiness lies with the people you encounter on a daily basis. I can think of many examples in my life. A coworker at the job I recently left who takes the time to call and check in with me. People at the new job who continually astound me with their talent and generous spirits. Today, I had the day off of work and was trying to write a little and work in the studio. I received a truly beautiful text from a person who literally made my entire day shine. It seems that the more I embrace this NOW life, the more positive feedback I get. I'm not sure how the mechanism works, and I'm not even sure I want to know, but I do know that I am truly honored to be surrounded with positive, encouraging people in my life. I haven't mentioned my primary positive influence, The Don. He is the nicest person I've ever met and his ability to love unconditionally and enthusiastically gives me something to aspire to. He's genuinely much nicer than I am.
The message I'm trying to deliver here is two-fold:
1. Be encouraging to those in your life and actively look for positive experiences as you go through the day. I believe it's a terrific step toward being happier.
2. I would like to express true appreciation for YOU. I value the people in my life and consider myself lucky to have each and every one of you. Thanks!