Friday, March 19, 2010

Being happy and forgiving

Last night I met with the group of women I meet with on Thursday evenings to study the Bible and learn to live a life pleasing to Jesus.  This particular evening gave me a lot to think about for my goal to be happy.

Forgiving as I have been forgiven.

I don't consider myself a grudge holder.  I've found this wastes an enormous amount of my energy.  Since I'm over 50 I don't have that much energy to waste anymore.  It was interesting to listen to the difficulties we have in forgiving others and how witholding forgiveness felt like power to each of us.  I thought about the idea of having this "power" and found it just didn't work for me.  I thought about the idea of forgiving all offenses committed against me all this time.  I'm wondering how that will work for me.  Will it make me look weak?  Will it cause me to be the stereotypical doormat?  Ok, I can try this.  What do I care what the other people out there think of me.  Really, I think can do this.  I'm going to start with bad drivers and people in line (anywhere) in front of me.  I'll move to more difficult areas of forgiving with coworkers and my boss.  Then, of course, I need to move on to my family.  I'll start with the ones I don't live with and then move on to the ones I do live with.

This sounds like a plan to me.  In fact, even as write this down I'm beginning to feel a tiny bit happy.

I know there is another area of forgiveness that is going to be a challenge for me.  Forgiving myself.  I set the bar pretty high for myself.  I wonder what it would feel like to let myself off the hook.  I certainly don't meet my standards and the usual punishment for that is to do exactly what I know will hurt me further.  I'm not sure I will be able to forgive myself as easily as I forgive others (which I know will not be easy either), but I'm going to try.  This is a bit scary for me.  If I forgive myself for not meeting the obligations I set for myself will the result move in a positive direction or will I sink further into self-destructive behaviors.

Interesting.  I will take another step forward, with hope.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

First step

What does it mean to be happy? Is it a destination? Is it a goal? Maybe it's a state of mind a person stumbles upon once in a while. I know it's something we all want to be. I can't believe how many things I do each day to try to achieve it. Every morning the alarm goes off and alerts me to the fact that the day has begun. Now, notice, I didn't say the alarm woke me up from sleep. That rarely happens. Usually I been awake for an hour or more. During that dark hour I lie in my bed and think about what I can do in my day to feel satisfied (happy?). I usually have a "to do" list in my mind. If I complete tasks A, B, and C, will the pressure of my life be relieved. Will I be a good person? Will I feel happy? Then the alarm rings and already I haven't done task A. Task A is usually, get up early and exercise before work. Already I've started the day off as a failure, unhappy. Anyway, I get over this fail and get ready and go to work. Good for me.

I don't want this exercise of journaling on the internet to be one of self loathing and pity. I'm looking forward to seeing my thoughts in writing and adjusting my thought patterns and actions in a positive direction. I want to be a happy girl. I have a great life. I am living the dream. I want my inside thought life to reflect the life I show to the world. I want to be authentically happy. I want to quit putting on the happy face and really be that happy person. I think this is achievable. I think I can do it. I just need to work through one or two or three, maybe four or five, things.

I know I will be working on this project on my own. but I've heard that these blogs are things that other people out there stumble upon or read. Sometimes people have been known to comment on them. I know that there is a danger of having cruel or brutal honesty come my way. I guess that's the chance that one takes when one puts it out there. Hopefully, there is also sage advice out there as well. We will see. For now, I will take the chance and opportunity to see my own thoughts in print. I think that will be a good start. Every journey starts with the first step. This is mine.