I don’t normally post more than once a day, but I’m feeling particularly good this evening and want to share my happiness with you, my blogging friends.
In my last post I spoke of feeling somewhat guilty that my MIL moved out. I felt I had somehow caused her decision. That she was only moving out because of me and my breakdown. Then one of my brilliant readers (sorry I referred to you as female. I didn’t even realize until now) commented and told me this, and it means so much to me, I had to share.
Her moving out and into assisted living is unquestionably best for everyone. We feel guilt in situations like yours because that’s what we have been taught to feel…by parents, by our church (a generalization, I realize), by our educational system, and even by our children. But guilt is just a feeling and feelings are nothing if not ephemeral. One day we feel happy; the next day we feel sad. Our feelings mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. In a very real way, we FEEL a certain way because we CHOOSE to feel that way. Instead, we can look at a terrible situation in which we find ourselves mired and make up our MIND not to feel bad, afraid, guilty, fearful, or a thousand other negative emotions — and choose instead to settle down, relax, breathe deeply, and CHOOSE positive responses to our situation. Feelings are LIARS! They tell us we aren’t good enough, aren’t smart enough, aren’t worthy to receive love, aren’t capable of solving our problems, are inherently weak and will never have an abundant, joyful life. Yes, feelings are LIARS.
And it’s so good hearing you recognizing that the guilt you are feeling will vanish like the morning dew. Because it will. We are only as happy as we make up our minds to be. One of my favorite quotations is, “We’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars.” That’s the way I want to live…and die — looking UP at the stars. Join me? *smile*
His statement about feelings being liars really struck a chord with me and goes right along with my budding Buddhist self. I’m not sure we choose to feel a certain feeling, but we certainly can choose how long we feel that way. You’ve seen it, especially on the freeways. Some guy gets cut off and a fight ensues. Why? Because the driver got angry at this perceived purposeful maneuver. I’ve even seen guys aim their car at their target, threatening to run them off the road! Because the action of someone else, a complete stranger, made him angry and he CHOSE to remain angry and get revenge. If the driver chose not to be angry with the “jerk” who cut him off (which was probably unintentional) he’d have a much happier day.
So I have been much more happy since R wrote that comment. I know I’d been told this in other words, and thought I got it. But somewhere along the line I’d lost it. I have the sense of control again. I stand up to H now, no longer afraid. (Afraid of what? His disapproval?) Fear is also a feeling we can choose to ignore.
I am beginning to be less fearful, less guilty, more in charge of my life, and that makes me truly happy.
Today I decided I am going to shampoo the carpet myself (S said he would help). The whole house. H doesn’t want to because it’s disruptive (even though that’s all I asked for for last Christmas). Today I don’t care. Yes it will be disruptive and a lot of work, but I’m not asking him to help in any way if he doesn’t want to. In fact I think instead of doing it Saturday, while H is home. We (Son and I) will take care of it on Monday. It will make me so happy (I know it’s a feeling) to have a clean carpet at last. Next step, painting the kid’s room.
Even though my ms symptoms have increased lately, and I’m experiencing some troubling new ones, I’m not letting it depress me. I am lucky to have lived without physical pain for the 35 years I’ve lived with ms. All I can do is what I have been doing. Worrying about it, getting depressed about, it serves no one. I know I will have good days and bad and that at this stage the bad days will be steadily increasing. But I’m learning to meditate and that can control the pain for hours.
In a nutshell, I am taking control of my life back. Happiness is control of one’s self and one’s life.