I spent many years of my life in search of happiness. I read books, searched online, tried to find it in other people and see if they could share some with me. There are books on my shelf that spell out at least 10 different secrets to finding it. My husband, who I am so attracted to for many reasons, one of the strongest of which is his eternal positivity, would tell me that happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it the more it escapes you, but if you just stand still, it will land on your shoulder and there you are. I loved the poetry of this secret to happiness, but I could not seem to translate it into real life.
I could not understand why I had such a struggle with dissatisfaction. I had so much to be grateful for, yet there always seemed to be something missing. Its not like I was never happy, but for me happy had an opposite, and the opposite was despair. It was a feeling that I was not worthwhile. It stemmed from some deeply limiting beliefs that I was not smart, that I was weak, that I was selfish, that I was unlovable. I was extremely hard on myself, it was like I had a strict headmistress in my head who followed me around all the time, beating me with a paddle over the head every time I made a mistake. She was always giving me instant feedback, things like “you are so stupid, why would you do that?”, and “you are so needy, no wonder you have no friends”, or “you should have known better, you are so lame”.
Over a period of time, I began to not just get tired of the despair and dissatisfaction, but to question where it came from. I began asking myself, why do I feel this way? What began is my journey to discovering what true happiness is to me. For me, happiness has no opposite when it is tied to gratitude. No matter where you are in your life situation, there are always things that you can find to be grateful for if you look. I began writing down as a daily habit 10 things I was grateful for. At first this seemed silly and compulsory, as I listed the big, easy things first, like my home and family, but as time went on, I began to notice the little things as well. It began the habit of looking at how much good there is in my life, no matter how much “stress” I created. I learned to appreciate the things that matter, to become present and notice the small things such as a drop of dew on a leaf, or the fog, or a small ant carrying food to his home. To be grateful to be alive every day to enjoy this world one more time.
The first words out of my mouth each day are thank you, a prayer to say thank you for another day. I am here in heaven on earth to enjoy this life, to help others along the path, to give love.
“Each day I see Jesus Christ in all of his distressing disguises.” Mother Theresa