“Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and softly sits on your shoulder.” Nathaniel Hawthorne
“If you haven’t time for a tug at your pants leg, your schedule is too busy.” Robert Brault
Recently I had a lot of time to think and reflect. I realized that the saying, “stop to smell the roses”, is undoubtedly true. When we are forced to stop for a moment, our greatest reflections come to the forefront of our minds. They remind us to review what it is we are doing with our lives. Do we spend it being jealous or envious of others? Do we spend it attempting to get even for the wrongs another did to us? Do we spend it making money or fame? Are we anxious or doubtful of others?
None of these things makes us happy. Revenge will leave us empty and disgusted with ourselves. Fame and fortune will find us friends who will leave us as quickly as they came. Doubt and anxiety wear us down and sap our strength. Happiness is inner serenity, and comes from the contentment of our own lives. We really need to dwell on the positive things in our lives. To do this we must slow down and “Smell the coffee, or the flowers.” It might just change our focus towards something that is more worthwhile or inspiring.As some people profess, if you are handed lemons make lemon juice. Attempt to pick a bouquet of flowers within your vicinity. See those around you as innocent. View any comments or actions as unintentional. It brings peace of mind and allows the potentially guilty party to possibly reflect on their comments or actions and regret and have a change of heart. Either way our mind and body are at peace.
Doubt hurts. I knew one mother-in-law and daughter-in-law who were having trouble communicating. Exasperated one day, the mother-in-law said to me how frustrating it was to discuss anything with her daughter-in-law. She mentioned the many times she asked her daughter-in-law to lunch, but was always put off with a negative reply and excuse. She felt disliked by her daughter-in-law, and began avoiding her.
Anxiety keeps us guessing and on edge. I happened to run across that particular daughter-in-law one day, and I asked how her mother-in-law was faring. She immediately and sheepishly replied, that she hadn’t seen much of her lately. Because she appeared to be saddened rather than happy or angry, I pursued to question her why that was so. She stated how she enjoyed her mother-in-law’s company but that her own mother resented any time she spent with the woman. This caused her to feel guilty every time she was with her mother-in-law. I gently encouraged her to maintain a relationship with her mother-in-law. It was healthy and in no way diminished her relationship with her own mother. I told her how wonderful were the moments I spent with my own daughters-in-law. Her face sort of lit up and she resolved to think about what I had said. I’m not sure how it all worked out, but I am sure of how we manage to influence others in negative rather than positive ways.
Jealousy eats up our time. Friends and family put stipulations on us, that we must learn to ignore. They like to fill in most of our free time, or be included in every endeavor we undertake with another individual. The jealousy and heightened threat of losing us, overwhelms their senses, and causes them to smother our friendship.
Duty is a killer of serenity. We are almost consumed with guilt, if we take a leisurely day to do nothing. The phone rings and we have to force our arm not to pick it up. The cell phone is even more difficult with its’ texting. The computer is off and we sit comfortably reflecting on our life. That is when we remember we were supposed to reply to a friend’s invitation, send our friend directions to someplace, shoot off an e-mail to a co-worker, and pick up the kids by two.
By cutting out the doubt, anxiety, jealousy, and shifting the duties to another for the day, I can let my mind wonder freely and fill me up with wonderful and exciting new thoughts. It is total free time without interruptions. When I am asked about a late response or phone call, I mention my pressing day off from the turmoil of life. In actuality these days end up adding more meaning to my life. I review where it is I am going, what I am doing, and how I am prioritizing my time. it allows me to put the important things first, like my spouse and kids. In the busy work days, without a reflective day off, I might actually forget to prioritize my life. Now that would really be a disaster and regretful.
“In your hands you hold the seeds of failure or the potential for greatness. Your hands are capable but they must be used and for the right things to reap the rewards you are capable of attaining. The choice is yours.” Zig Ziglar
“Everything we possess that is not necessary for life or happiness becomes a burden and scarcely a day passes that we do not add to it.” Robert Brault