Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lemons Looking for Ade

I've noticed an increasing trend amongst some of my family and friends. There seems to be this concept that if bad stuff happens to us when we are young that the world owes us something great later. I've seen this with so many-- from the young adult who decides to have the child but gives up the last of their teens and all of their twenties to do so (which is /very/ brave, in my opinion, and worthy of praise), to the divorcee who was treated so crappily by an ex that it devastated him and now he can't move on.

I am not sure if it's our modern day fairy tales in movies or books where the cinder cleaning stepsister or the boy kept in the cupboard under the stairway have great things happen to them, or if it's just this idea that the pursuit of happiness has been translated to mean entitled to happiness.


Well if we're entitled to something that means that we don't have to bother trying, because it's coming, right? What a paralyzing concept.

If we're dwelling on what's happened to us and waiting for the MegaMillions bus to stop in front of our house, then what happens when the bus doesn't show? What does all of that waiting really accomplish in the end?

Happiness is not a destination but a choice.  It is looking around and being grateful for what we have and our potential to do more. It's celebrating where we are now and working towards the future, not feeling wronged by the past and waiting for some external event to make it all up to us.

So I invite those who are waiting for bliss to examine what they already have with an eye of appreciation and think about all of the potential within them to do so much with their lives. Then choose action over inaction. The only one who can change the picture is you, and I'm not talking about environmental changes. I'm talking about perspective. A willing decision to look at things differently.

For example, I can choose to feel deprived and wronged because the hard work I put in at my job last year didn't yield any merit increase, or I can choose to be grateful for the fact that I have a job when so many in this economy are still struggling. I can choose to feel taken advantage of and brushed aside by that cheating ex or I can be grateful that I have many strong, healthy relationships and recognize my value in those relationships. As far as I'm concerned, it's the ex's loss. Which perspectives do you think will make me feel happier about my life?

Chances are if we're not already grateful for many of the things we have, getting more things and blessings will only be a temporary band-aid over a bigger problem: choosing to wait for something to make us happy rather than choosing to be happy.  Be pro-active. Look around and decide to say thanks for the little blessings in life.

Don't see the lemon, see the lemonade.

Photo courtesy of Flickr's Kevin Labianco.

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