May 22, 2014

Green Grass

Lately, I have been guilty of a far too common thought. "I'll be happier when...". I think this thought creeps into our heads more often then we like, and if you're anything like me you feel extremely guilty for having those thoughts. I know I have much to be grateful for. I know I have a lot to live for. So it is always disturbing to me when I have these pockets of weakness and feel bad because I don't have everything I want right now. Because most of us, myself included, are fortunate to be blessed with many things others can only comprehend of.

So, as I have been contemplating my life (cue some pity parties) for the last week or so, and focusing on the things I wish I had right now, I was humbly put in my place when I read this quote. 

Well there you have it. As I stopped and read that quote, I felt shame/guilt, happiness and encouragement wash over me. If you think that isn't possible, I'm here to tell you that it is indeed quite possible. This is another common saying we tell each other all the time. "The grass is greener on the other side." What hit me about this quote was that I (and all of us) can have that desired greener grass too if we work for it. Now I think of myself as a pretty hard worker when I put my mind to something. But if the desire isn't there for me, I find myself complaining and whining and probably acting downright childish. In order to overcome this obnoxious behavior, I have found that setting small goals towards what you want to accomplish that will make you happier works. If there is anything I want to change about my situation and circumstance, it is up to me to make it work and make the necessary sacrifices and changes. I often think of Maria Von Trapp from The Sound of Music singing, "Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could." 

It's painted in black and white, we have to work for what we want. I have been reading this wonderful book, "Celebration!: Ten Principles of More Joyous Living" by Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards. One of the things she mentions on how to combat those feelings of discouragement and weakness about our situation is to 

"look more consistently at what I have done, than at what I have not done" 

She also goes on to say that we all have the power over our own work. That ultimately, we have the responsibility to create a joyous life for ourselves regardless of circumstance. So whether we are feeling lonely, stuck in a rut, or feeling inadequate, we can change. And it is up to us to become better, not someone else's. That is one area I'm guilty of as well. Sometimes I just wish my fairy godmother could swoop in and with a flick of a wand make everything better. But then I'm also chastised for that thought. Because fairy tale wishing is fine in moderation, but it's not reality. And I think of those Disney princesses who lived in those fairy tale worlds, wishing they could change something about their lives, and alas, they did! Snow White escaped from her evil step-mother and created a happier life serving the seven dwarfs. Cinderella had the desire and faith to attend the ball. I think we forget that she had the intention to make herself a dress and go to the ball on her own before her stepmother bogged her down with chores. Rapunzel wanted to have an adventure to see the floating lights and explore what life was like beyond her tower walls, and with a little push did just that. Tiana wanted to have her dream restaurant, and she worked hard and scrimped and saved every penny she had to make her payment. So yes, we all have the responsibility to change and make ourselves happy, even a princess. 

I tell myself often that this life is what we make of it. We are here for a purpose to prove ourselves worthy of a even better life after this one. So instead of wallowing in self pity because we can't have it all right now, we need to realize change only happens if we make it happen. Our grass can become just as green as the lawns we envy. We can make our lives more joyous if we focus on what we have done in our attempts to make ourselves happier, rather than what hasn't happened yet.