Being Happy in Spite of Circumstances

How do you ignore someone's attitude instead of letting it bring you down? How do you handle living with someone who can be really negative a lot of the time?

All are valid questions.

I find that I take everything very personally, even though the situation does not warrant all the energy that I give it. I give the excuse that I have tried to resolve this or that relationship, but I just end up complaining about how useless it is to even try because nothing will change any way. I've tried to explain to my self of how it's sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So, I feel badly all the time, and I and I have fought my own battles with depression (and still do). When I hear of others I take it to heart. Since childhood, I have taken other people's bad moods as something that is somehow my fault and something that I need to fix. I either become very doting and apologetic, or very defensive, even when the target of this annoyance/anger has nothing to do with me.

One of the most valuable discoveries I made about myself was that there is a difference between problems of character and problems of circumstance. I made this discovery in rush-hour traffic when I noticed that I was feeling serene and happy in spite of the traffic, the loneliness of a separations, a disappointing day at the office, and an evening schedule that would require split-second timing. The discrepancy between my pressures and my feelings made me try to account for it, and I discovered, in thinking it through, that the loneliness, frustration, and pressure were just circumstances, that s all they were not me. My happiness came from the Spirit who communicated to me that my efforts toward obedience were acceptable to the Lord. That was me, the part that was developing character. This distinction between pleasing the Lord and dealing with circumstances has been useful to me, because it gives me the freedom to identify myself with my highest values rather than with impermanent circumstances.

Some circumstances are being a woman (or man), being young (or old), being energetic (or tired), being married (or single). Circumstances differ endlessly and basically it doesn t really matter. The Lord in giving the law of chastity or charity did not allow for circumstantial exceptions. That does not mean circumstances are not important. It s because of circumstances that we take questions to the Lord; and it s because of the way we deal with circumstances that we can see our progress toward righteousness. Many circumstances cannot be changed; others should be changed, because they hinder our best progress, and the decision we make alter ends. Circumstances are not for our personal convenience or our conformity to what our friends and neighbors are doing. By seeking the Lord s will, we are dealing with questions of circumstance within the framework of developing a righteous character.

Can I suggest that you are not happy because you do not know how not to not choose unhappiness. It has become a reaction, a conditioned reflex. You are not happy because being happy requires a great deal of consciousness and awareness. Simply it takes effort and time. You choose unhappiness because you are not aware you are doing it. Everyone else does it so why not go along with the crowd, right? Well, it is not right. It is time for you to take your power back by not choosing unhappiness every time things don't go the way you wish they would. Become more aware of how you react when you automatically and unconditionally choose unhappiness. I want you to make not choosing unhappiness a contract with yourself. You only have to think about the happiness decision. Once you have done that, you don't need to use your thinking anymore because that will lead you to choose unhappiness again.

Can you change the situation enough so you can make yourself happy? Will you ever "find" happiness? The answer is NO! You will never find IT, you have to become IT! There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way! Is it possible to be happy? The answer is YES! Here is another question for you. Is it possible to be happy all the time? I know you are probably thinking that is impossible. You're right, but that only goes for you. In life, you can be right or you can be happy. Which one have you been choosing? The good news is you only need to be happy.

Let me tell you about a person who prayed, "God, please give me patience, and hurry!" In this day and age of cell phones, fax machines and instant gratification, it's easy to want what we want NOW. No one is willing to wait for anything anymore. However, as we mature, we discover that it often takes patience, perseverance, and a lot of hard work to get the things we really want. Whether it's a promotion at work, losing weight, or having that great relationship. If you believe in God, pray for patience, persistence and guidance. God sees the big picture. We don't. Often, looking back, we see that many of the circumstances we just "had to have" go our way weren't really right for us in the long run.

~ * ~
Copyright by James Aquila, N.D., CAd.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Dr. Aquila, author/teacher is a gifted communicator.
He has authored five books and several pamphlets on addictions
and their effect on relationships. James also writes other
articles appearing in CIR.

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