February 17

“It is easier to protect your feet with shoes than to carpet the whole earth.”

       “You know, if it wasn’t for that lousy job of mine, I’d be a lot happier.”  I heard myself say that this morning.  My thoughts drift when I first get up either remembering a dream or thinking about a movie I saw the night before.  It wasn’t that I felt resentful or angry… well, okay, maybe just a little bit resentful.

       I recognize this thought as one of many past complaints:  “I’d be happy if only…”  As if my happiness is contingent on other people and my present circumstances.  I used to love to put the blame on others for the way I was feeling. 

       If the boss asked (told) me to do something I felt was beneath me, I ‘d get upset and question his wisdom.  I tried to stay in control by protesting, loudly declaring my opposition to his unfair decision.  All the while it was I who was controlled by the boss.

       But is trying to stay in control going to produce happiness?  Well, think about it:  Every time someone steps out of line you try to control what they’re saying or doing; and that can get exhausting – not to mention frustrating!  Controlling yourself is the best you can hope for…

       But first thing in the morning is the best time to set the tone for the entire day.  I have plenty of thoughts drifting through my head, but I know they’re just thoughts.  That’s all.  And I am learning to be more aware of them.  I have made the happy discovery that my thoughts don’t have to control me if I remain vigilant and aware of my mental activity.  And this has made a big impact on my own state of mind – my own happiness.

       I have come to realize that I can choose my thoughts if I am aware of them.  The trouble with addiction is that I seldom want to let certain thoughts go; especially the ones that are angry and resentful.  There’s something addictive about thoughts that stir up negative energy.  They seem to feed the story in my head that I can remain in control by feeling angry and bitter towards someone else.  But the opposite is true; in fact, I am the one being controlled by my feelings.

       I have decided that for today I will accept the world for what it is.  There’s no point trying to change it, or all the people in it.  My circumstances are what they are and it’s important that I accept my life as it is.  If I want to be happy, I will work on my attitude; this is where happiness begins and ends.

 If it is happiness you want, change yourself, not other people.