Tag: unhappiness

I Can Do A Happy Dance Especially In My Yoga Pants

I will come up with any reason in the world to wear yoga pants. Why? Not just because I love doing yoga – it’s great for the body and the mind – but because I love the pants. They’re soft, stretchy and even stylish, they feel good against my skin, and bonus – no undies needed. Nobody really wants panty lines. (No judging please.)

I have eight pairs (yikes!) all black and boot cut, comfy cotton/spandex blends, and I wear them with everything from boots with heels to clogs to flip flops. They’re fashion-forward, you can dress them up or down – in fact they’re making yoga dress pants now and even yoga jeans. Throw on anything from a tunic to a tee, a seasonal sweater if need-be, and you’ve got a winner outfit year-round.

Which got me thinking.

If yoga pants make me so happy every time I put them on, is what we wear – or what we feel good wearing – driving our overall happiness factor? Because so many people (myself included) walk around finding all kinds of reasons to be unhappy. All kinds of reasons. But seemingly…without reason.

Have you noticed that?

People get so comfortable in their unhappiness that they actually think they’re happy, but don’t know why they’re not. Yea read that again.

Then examine your own loop. We’re happy one minute for whatever reason – we love what we’re wearing or eating or watching – then the next minute something trips us up – the electric bill arrives, the internet blips out, the cat puked, or somebody in our orbit projects their own unhappiness into our airspace. Boom, happiness balloon deflated.

I only recently noticed this – or maybe I just ignored it – because it’s really easy to slip along the path of negativity. We always find reasons to be miserable in the moment some discomfort comes along. Then if we don’t catch ourselves and remember that overall life is actually really good (and yes, this may take some remembering as we ebb and flow through our day,) we might forget to be happy.

It happens, a lot. And ironically happiness the one thing everybody most wants in the world. I guess we forgot that too. I just heard the coolest thing in an online life-changing class taught by a guy who is seasoned in joy. He said we are wired to win – our default settings are perfect health, super abundance and yes, bliss. As in, we already have the winning lottery ticket, we just don’t really know it.

But I do, every time I put on my yoga pants.

 

 

 

It’s Ok To Be Happy Even When We’re Not

A heck of a lot of people seem miserable right now, and until recently, I used to be one of them. It’s so easy to get caught up in our stressors and not realize how impacted we are or even who we are because of them.  And because birds of a feather flock together, we gravitate toward others who are equally miserable and support us in our unhappiness. Then we call them our tribe, our community, and we feel better about ourselves and our life. After all, misery loves company.

unhappy hour

A long time ago I became part of a special needs advocacy group that had thousands of parents all fighting the same process to help their child diagnosed on the autism spectrum. It felt good to belong to a group of like-minded parents on the same journey. I made quite a few close friends and we banded together in determination and support.

mazeRaising a child on the autism spectrum can feel like living in a dark maze that takes an incredible amount of effort, diligence and hope to survive. There are so many pitfalls along the way, but we have that community of supporters who hold our hand, sometimes even carry us, without asking for anything in return.

Through the years it was interesting to watch how other people coped. As time went on our children grew up, but some of us stayed friends maintaining a special timeless bond.

The trouble is, that the misery that we felt going through the toughest times with our children became so habitual that for some of us, it stuck. We lived in daily turmoil, so much so that our mindsets settled into that pattern of darkness and despair, pessimism, fear, sadness and pain. We never came out of the dark hole long enough for the light to make a difference.

This can happen with anything in life, whatever our issues and circumstances – health, family, work, relationships – doesn’t matter. We can get stuck without realizing it, looking at our life and the world around us wondering when it will all change for the better.

happy againBut it’s not the world that has to change, it’s us. And it took me a lot of years to really see that. Our actions and responses are rote. The way we think, feel, see, hear – we perceive our entire life through our misery filter. Eventually, when it goes on long enough, we forget that it’s ok to be happy. Question is, are we willing.

After losing most of my friends and life as I knew it, it finally occurred to me that my misery was inside of me. That was huge. But ironically the road to happiness was actually harder to navigate than the road to raising a child on the spectrum. I had to examine and shift every, single aspect of my thinking in each moment, every, single day. I had to re-route my habitual way of existing mentally, emotionally, even physically. It was literally “starting over” all the time – catching myself and what I said, thought, felt, and reaching for a better option.

I did the work and feel much better. But I’m not sure the work is ever “over.” It’s all about how we look at things and whether we can find the goodness, even when it’s minute. When the goal is happiness, the path is deciding it’s possible right now. No matter what.

happiness

Written yesterday on my son’s 23rd birthday. We both made it to the other side. 

Marriage of My Dreams, In-Laws of My Nightmares

Should a mother-in-law be allowed in the delivery room? A roundtable discussion on the Today Show prickled up some spines. The answer is strictly personal, I had a couple of friends eating McDonald’s next to me when I delivered one of my boys. But my mother-in-law? No way. I’ve had two, neither of whom I adored. And the feeling is quite mutual, although the first one has since passed away.

All families have issues, sometimes personality mismatch is status quo. But occasionally it’s so extreme, defying all understanding, that we are left to assume there is some Divine lesson to be learned. Sir Husband and I pay attention to that. A few in our lives do not.

peas in a podEverybody’s got an in-law story, and they usually resonate the same: troublesome tale of two women and a poor man in the middle. But not in our case. We have three peas in a pod – Sir Husband’s mother, his ex and his sister united on a warpath of hatred and anger, against both him and me.

Many wives since the beginning of time use the old cliche, my mother-in-law is a piece of work. But can they say she disowned her son and his family because she loves her ex-daughter-in-law more and admits it? Ours is a wicked story of some unhappy fems who live from deep misery.

It goes something like this. A long time ago, a kind man with a good heart and sensible head lost his senses one day and on the rebound, married a woman he did not love. Shortly after they were married she revealed herself to be a broken soul, and manipulated him to the death to get anything she wanted.

He tried hard to stay with her, but his unhappiness grew. And his mother knew it too. She insisted he work even harder, so that is what he did. He never meandered out of their marriage, but longed for relief from his loveless misery so much that when he looked in the mirror every morning he hoped for cancer to die and get away. That’s pretty sad. Eventually he left. And his mother never forgave him.

That’s my mother-in-law. A not-so-lovely woman who decided that her son was not worth his own happiness. What kind of mother is that?

edgar allen poeBut that is only the beginning. I’ll leave out all the ugly gore – from hurt and harassment to helping alienate Sir Husband’s children from our lives – we now understand the meaning of “shunned.” No matter how hard we’ve tried to both communicate and understand, we are blatantly ignored and years later are still left shaking our heads.

So we’re done. At some point emotional toxicity just becomes too great, even when it’s family. We’ve worked hard to come to peace with it – nobody deserves this kind of treatment, especially from their own mother and in-law. It’s clear she’s got her own issues, that stem from something deep.

There are two great things that rule us. Love and fear. And we will do anything when under their spells. When people are triggered by their deepest fears they lash out, and project those fears onto the people who triggered them. It doesn’t excuse hurtful, hostile, abusive, violent actions, but it helps explain it. The problem is that living from fear comes with a terribly high price. Sir Husband’s father died of cancer at age 62.

I only knew my deceased father-in-law as the father of my high school best boy-friend a long time ago. Sir Husband and I go way back to years of really good times. In fact, we believe in angels, and think his father helped us reunite. We’re sure if he was still alive, he would welcome me now, and have some strong words with his wife.

It’s a shame my mother-in-law is so unhappy. And while we feel like we’ve lost some family, Sir Husband and I choose to live from love and not fear, which is infinitely a better spell.

 

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