Sunday, February 25, 2007

Happy Is As Happy Does

Happiness has little to do with what we have; everything with what we think.
No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change.
Barbara De Angelis

Throughout my life, it seems, I have had to try extra hard to find happiness within myself and my life. I'm not really sure why. Growing up I was blessed with good health, with loving parents and siblings, with our needs, and a lot of our wants, being met, the gospel in our home, great friends, and many, many other happiness makers. So I have always been a bit confused at why I have a hard time with "natural happiness", so to speak. Has a stranger ever walked up to you and asked, "Is it that bad?" Well I have, and it feels awful to know not only do you feel unhappy, but you look it, too. It is embarrassing to think everyone around me must think I'm so unhappy because of the way I speak, the way I look, and the way I act. There have been many days spent since, faking happiness. Putting on a clown smile and heading out the door to fool the world into thinking all is well and grand, when inside my heart is aching or crying, not fooling the person who matters most-myself!

Lately, I have experienced more than my fair share of stress and self disappointments. I feel like I'm doing most things right, but could probably do a little more, and wonder if this is why I'm not feeling 100% happy all of the time. This past week was another blah week for me. I wasn't feeling well. I had all intentions of getting my spring cleaning started and my home dejunked and organized while Maryn was at my parents house, but I was feeling too yucky to tackle very much. As my week began, I could feel it was going to be one of those weeks that needed to be given the title of "Kicked while you are down". It was obvious to me that I was going to have to really work at finding happiness, in very much, if anything this week.

Now that the week is over and I can look back and see there are many things that brought happiness to me without me having to try at all. I wonder if I try to hard to find things to make me happy instead of just living life and letting everyday things make me happy.

Here are a few of the things that put a smile on a my face and a skip in my step this week and it didn;t take much trying at all.

*Greg came home from San Diego. Nothing puts a smile on my face like seeing Greg's smile, especially after a week without it.

*Seeing the girls had made Greg a welcome home sign when we came home from the airport.

*Parents that are very supportive and envolved in our lives no matter how little or big the event. For being free babysitters when they are in town and then taking our kids home with them and giving us alone time.

*My friend Tara called Monday morning, and said she was driving down to SA to return something and wanted to see me.

*I got part of my house cleaned and all of the sheets changed.

*Greg and I looked for new furniture for our next house. I love looking for new things that I may have ONE day.
*Went to the Temple with Jenny. I have been wanting to go for a while and since Maryn was not home this week I knew I couldn't pass up the chance. Of course, I felt the worst I felt all week on Wednesday while I was at the temple, but felt I was blessed for being there.

*A spontaneous trip to Chuy's.
*Being reunitied with Maryn.

*Booked our family's Disney Cruise. My parents are taking my, my brother's, and my sister's families on a cruise for THEIR 40th wedding anniversary this summer.

*Went to a baby shower and came home to find my husband mowing my oh-so weedy and needy yard.
*Gave Greg's cousin our Saturn. He lost his job and was in need of a car.

*Did a little spring shopping for the girls.

*Went to a college basketball game Greg had to work at, as a family.

*Went to Stake Conference that was broadcast to 68 stakes in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico and was inspired to live my life better and be a better example. They are broadcasting some now because the church has grown so much that it is hard for them to send general authorities to all of the stake conferences that are held.

*Read my scriptures for an hour and a half. I haven't done that in a long time.

*Took a little cat nap.

*Being reminded of how blessed I am to a have a husband that works hard and long for us. He has had a rough on call weekend.

*Made dinner and ate together as a family at home.

*Played games and laughed with the girls.

*Endless goodnight kisses from my three girls.


I found a few quotes on happiness and thought I would share a few of them with you.

Choose Happiness
President Gordon B. Hinckley has said: “It is very important to be happy in this work. We have a lot of gloomy people in the Church because they do not understand, I guess, that this is the gospel of happiness. It is something to be happy about, to get excited about.”

I once saw this quote on a friend's kitchen wall that reads, “Happiness is a city in the state of mind.” I keep it there to remind myself that we are in charge of our own attitudes. Emotional maturity is evidenced by a person’s willingness to take responsibility for actions and feelings. If I am having a bad day, I can’t blame others, even when I feel underappreciated. It is not someone else’s job to change so I can feel better.

The second article of faith teaches that we are responsible for our own sins [A of F 1:2]. In the same way, we are responsible for our own attitudes and our own happiness. Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has written, “At the center of our agency is our freedom to form a healthy attitude toward whatever circumstances we are placed in!” 2

If we let our happiness rest on the actions and moods of others, we will always be disappointed. If our happiness is dependent on perfect situations, it will always be a future dream forever out of reach. President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “Our search for happiness largely depends on the degree of righteousness we attain, the degree of selflessness we acquire, the amount and quality of service we render, and the inner peace that we enjoy.” 3 Notice that he did not say happiness depends on thank-you cards or public praise. Each of the requirements outlined by President Faust is completely within our control.

Happiness has a price, as President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) said: “ ‘What is the price of happiness?’ One might be surprised at the simplicity of the answer. The treasure house of happiness is unlocked to those who live the gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity and simplicity. Like a mariner without stars, like a traveler without a compass, is the person who moves along through life without a plan. The assurance of supreme happiness, the certainty of a successful life here and of exaltation and eternal life hereafter, come to those who plan to live their lives in complete harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ—and then consistently follow the course they have set” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 259).

So with this said, I have promised myself I will be a happier Me. I am going to focus on giving to others and loosing myself in service. I will not allow myself to continue to long for the happiness and glow others have radiating from them. I want to feel, the way many of you look. I want others to want to feel the way I look. I'm striving for the day someone will walk up to me and ask, "Is it that GREAT?" And I can look at them with joy bursting from within and say

Yes, it is!


Bridget said...

Angie, you are stronger than you give yourself credit for. You are raising three happy, healthy girls that are sweet, polite, and well-adjusted children. You are supporting your husband through residency, which is an amazing feat. You are beautiful and strong. Don't forget that!!! Believe in yourself!! We all love you and think you are so very special. Can't wait to see you!

michelle said...

I can definitely relate to these feelings. All I can say is that when I'm feeling down, looking for things to be grateful for always improves my outlook. I hope it did the same for you!

Jenny said...

I don't think you "fake" your smile or when you laugh. I have seen you more happy than you give yourself credit for. This should have been your word for the year! I love all those quotes you found. I had no idea you had that in your kitchen. I guess I am not very observant. And Greg mowing the lawn? I should have hired him--j/k. Love you to pieces!!

Kari said...

Angie, you have me all teary-eyed!! Even as you are turning this corner in your life, you are inspiring me and others to strive for happiness, also!!

Why did you feel at your lowest at the temple? I'm so very sorry. You did have some great and wonderful things happen last week!!

I guess your post is a reminder more than anything that happiness is not the EVENT, it is the journey (the good WITH the bad)!!!
Thanks for brightening my day!!

Angie said...

I guess I should clarify my, "feeling the worst while I was at the Temple" comment. Physically the worst should have been my words. I had come down with a terrible sore throat and sinus infection last week and on Wednesday I could barely breathe through my nose. Sitting for two hours in the temple was quite a challenge. I'm sure the snorting, sniffling, and coughing was driving everyone nuts especially Jenny who was sitting right beside me. I felt better after we left, not really a healthier better, but more spiritually lifted.
Sorry for the confusion.

Kari said...

Oh, I get it!! I hope you are feeling much better now!

I love your picture at the beginning of this post! You are beautiful!! (I've always thought that, inside and out!!)

And I can't believe I forgot to comment about you GIVING the car away when you are still struggling a bit yourselves with your hubby not being quite done with his residency (or whatever you call it). That is very admirable and inspiring!!

And just so you know, I'm very impressed by you Angie!

Jill said...

No one is happy all the time even if everything seems to be going well, and women especially have to contend with pesky hormones that put our moods all over the place. It's good that you recognize this struggle in yourself and that you found all these great quotes to help remind you to choose happiness. Also, writing your feelings down each day in a notebook might help you figure out whether your down times are hormonal/depression related or circumstantial. I used to think that I was unhappy because of things going on in my life, but finally realized that I was struggling with depression and I got help. It has made a world of difference!

amanda said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful post. I had a really bad night last night with all of those "poor me" blahs--those unhappy feelings I even felt ashamed to have them, as I am very blessed. I make lists upon lists of things I "have" and it puts my perspective in a much better place.

Anonymous said...

Angie-I definitely understand where you are coming from. I think everybody overlooks how wonderful their lives are sometimes and I definitely find myself feeling unhappy sometimes for a not enough good reason. I think you are a sweet person and should give yourself credit for all that you do more often. Afterall, you workout twice a day, take care of 3 children, and support a husband. Plus, you are a great friend to my sister and that means alot! Hope your week is getting better:)

Crystalyn said...

i can totally relate to this post angie. at times i feel like i'm trying to "fake it 'til i make it." i agree have a feeling of gratitude makes a big difference. at times that doesn't do the trick and i remind myself that "this too shall pass." i think it's a matter of progress. even though not everyday of mine is a "happy day" i do consider myself to be a much happier person overall compared to the me last year. a lot happier. thanks for sharing...i think we think about a lot of the same things. ( :