And steps to serenity. I often get asked how I can be so patient. Or happy. Or adaptable. There could be lots of reasons, but one on my mind today is simply one I ponder when I think of reasons for the seasons of my life when I was not happy. Or things that cause me to enter into unhappiness now. And I believe therein lies a principle of happiness that is worth noting. I think that finding what makes us unhappy is a key to happiness. For example, I love being with my granny. I (usually) like to visit with her and play cards. I like having an adult with me as I go through my day parenting. At first. She and I are different in our goals and expectations of child-rearing. I get very unhappy when I am with her when she non-verbally or indirectly accuses me of being a poor mother. This used to really bother me and give me much pause about what my mothering should look like. I would try to accept her views as my parenting goals and would find in implementing them, I would discover myself the creator and inhabitant of an abyss of unhappiness. My children, awash with depression, would drift away from me and enter dark worlds where they found themselves fundamentally misunderstood.
I am 32 years old. It took me quite some time to feel comfortable rejecting almost completely her framework for living life. I don’t know why it took so long. It took me this long to learn, and I just accept that. I learned as quickly as I could. For my children’s sake, and my own happiness came as a wonderful bonus.
New mothers, fathers, children, everyone, my point is this: Everyone has this “ultimate framework” for their life. Much of the time, I think, they have simply accepted a framework that someone else provided for them without giving too much thought as to whether or not it works. Don’t be afraid to endure criticism and hatred and disdain for the lofty cause of accepting the framework your heart and love direct you toward.
Main point: Be guided by love, NOT other people. But it is possible to love other people who are mean and do not accept you. In fact, it is so good if you can do this, but you may need to protect yourself from them from time to time when you feel sadness rising.