Sunday, August 16, 2009

happiness and such...

Happiness- many people chase it, those who have truly found it are sometimes despised for it, it does not come from wealth or social status, relationship status, or anything that can come and go in your life. It comes from within, from living at peace with yourself. With the ups and downs of your life. With the failures and triumphs, with maturity and wisdom.

Several weeks ago, I was thinking about something someone had written to me (I was running at the time, a great time for me to reflect on the human condition). That person said : “I myself was a bitter man and felt like damaged goods after my divorce.” The person in question wrote to me in regards to concern that my husband would choose me as a wife, and I was reminded of how people project their own bitterness and feelings of personal inadequacies and low-self esteem on others. I remembered, as each relationship in life that I had failed, there were one or several people who were bitter themselves, who were bitter for me, who expected (and were angry that I did not choose such) bitterness. After the fall of the major relationships of my life, I have sought impartial, realistic, experienced and educated counseling. It was always natural for me, at the end of something, to analyze it; to think of why it did and did not work, how I might have contributed to it not working, and how to proceed in my life from that point on. I never became bitter, I never became jaded, I never blamed or hated the past experiences of my life. I never felt unworthy of love, I chose happiness, gratefulness, compassion, and hope for the future…

When people move from one phase of their life to the next (especially in the area of relationships), they are expected to follow the socially-accepted schedule. “You need some time to be alone” and “You need some time to get to know each other” (usually said in regards to people “moving too fast”), etc. It’s not that I do not agree in part; time is usually involved in becoming emotionally whole, and if you marry someone you have not known for a long time, it might not work. I will say, however, that a relationship working or not working has much more to do with the emotional “wholeness” of the parties involved than it does with time. For myself, for any of the people I care about, time is not important; what is important is whether or not you dealt with the past and are whole, healthy, and ready to move on. If you do that quickly, great. If you do that over a long period of time, there is nothing wrong with that. There is only wrong if you bring the negatives (such as bitterness and low self-esteem) of your past into your present, if you let it cloud your judgment, make you jaded, make you “bitter…like damaged goods.” If you harbor resentment from past relationships, you cannot move into a new one without the promise of great turmoil.

Coming back to my original point, I am happy. I am EXTREMELY happy. My life is far from perfect, I have worked my butt off for years to have the things that I have, and by many people’s standards I do not have a lot… but by other standards, I have the whole world at my feet, and that continues to bother some people. Some might have more money/a bigger diamond/nicer wedding/ fancier houses and cars, but I have happiness. I have peace. I have joy. I have love, lots of love, in my life. Jay, my husband, brings me great joy; but he could not do that if I was not already full of joy. I have joy in my children, joy in my family, joy in my friends, joy in my health, joy in my faith, joy in my necessary needs being met- everything else is icing on the cake, so to speak.

Whoever you are, make peace with your past- you cannot change it. Have hope for your future, as it is what you make of it. Realize that you will always have problems (as I told a dear friend of mine Saturday, problems will change, but they will always be there), and know that the difference between happiness and unhappiness is not the circumstances of your life, but what you make of them.

Wishing all health, wealth, and happiness!!

Natalie Wilcox

Friday, August 7, 2009

Practicality and Purging

Should come as no surprise that practicality is the name of the game for this no-nonsense chick. My mind is constantly thinking of more efficient ways to do things. Not all things are conducive to efficiency, like romance; whenever I try to schedule practical romance I get a very unenthusiastic response. But in most other ways, I am looking for the biggest bang for my buck, so to speak. Purging things that I don't like, need, or want in my life as also a passion of mine. From toxic relationships/people, to household clutter, to emotions that benefit nobody, I am constantly ridding myself of the things that keep me treading water in my life. So here are the main tenants of practicality, as defined by yours truly:

1. what purpose does this serve? (to decide if it is practical)
2. do I already have something that does this, and if I do, am I willing to get rid of one of them? (even practical things are clutter if the quantity exceeds the demand)
3. is there something that would serve my need better? (am I wasting my time or resources on something that I will eventually replace with what I really want?)

When purging, i follow a similar train of thought:

1. when was the last time this was beneficial to me? (last month, 6 months ago, 1 year ago)
2. does the maintenance/storage of this thing/thought/relationship outweigh the benefit?
3. did I even remember it was there, or will I even notice it was gone?

So often in our lives, we hold on to things that hold us down. We hold on to toxic relationships (more on that in my next blog), we hold on to negative thought patterns, we hold on to 5 brooms in our garage (a recent discovery in my own garage), we hold on to canned food from 7 years ago, we hold on to many things because of what we think we might need them for in the future, or what they represent from the past. But when it comes to the things that compose our existence, from material goods to relationships, more is not always (or usually) better- it's just more. I once posed a question to a young lady thinking of staying in a harmful relationship, just so their children would have a father: if your children want and need milk, but the only milk that you can procure is spoiled, will you give your children the spoiled milk, or give them nothing? Meaning if you have the choice between something bad and nothing at all... something bad is always worse! Over and over, I have let go of relationships that were bad, toxic, and simply not right for me; I made room for some excellent friends, and I have surrounded myself with people who are amazing and supportive, who I support in return- most of all my husband, our families, my friends (you know who you are).

I have watched loved ones form and continue in relationships that cause turmoil and heartache in their lives. In fact, this has been happening at an alarming rate recently. Some people are bitter and feel like damaged goods after a previous relationship; instead of resolving their issues, they let those feelings guide them in their next relationship, settling and loathing themselves and others who rise above. I have seen people hold on to toxic friendships, simply because they once made them feel good. I have seen people hold on to toxic romantic relationships, because they are lonely. I have seen people hoard material goods, thinking this one next purchase will bring them the happiness and fulfillment they are looking for. I have seen people try to put the square peg into the round hole of their lives, wondering why they are so unhappy / unlucky. Please, everyone, remember that happiness will not come with things, and on that note, be sure that you surround yourself with that which is practical to your life. On the same note, only when you let go of the bad in your life will you have made room for the best.