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Happiness is an Inside… Blah, Blah, Blah

August 2019
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I’ve hit my stride in recovery. Everything is in balance (or close enough for government work, anyway). I struggle just enough to know there’s a struggle, and little enough that I know I don’t want to struggle more than I do. My life is good enough that I can enjoy it, but not so good that I get cocky. My marriage is awesome enough that I want to keep working at it to keep the good times rolling. I’m fit, but not enough that I can’t enjoy a good burger. Life is not perfect, but it works. Well.

Here’s the down side: It only took me 26 years to figure this out and make it work. Oh, I had all of the instructions laid out in front of me, it just took a lot of practice to get the hang of it and learn how to default to happy, rather than what I ended up with as an alcoholic.

How hard is the whole “happiness is an inside job” business? Many noobs to the happiness thing mistakenly believe there’s some level of perfection needed in one’s life to be happy – and that’s why so many people are miserable, because perfection has nothing to do with happiness. Perfection is fleeting. Unattainable.

The key is for life to be good enough that its flaws are acceptable… and to accept them fully.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of work in making that happen and most aren’t willing to do it because this involves focusing on the one thing in the world we can really affect change on; what we see in the mirror. We are taught early on that life isn’t fair, that a “lucky” few get to control everything from money to power to wealth. They say it’s not possible for you to be happy because the deck is stacked against you, to hold you down. Maybe its your race, religion, your gender, or who you choose to sleep with…

It’s all bullshit. I am happy because I choose not to participate in that mess of anger, self-pity and selfishness. It’s way too easy to be consumed by the anger. Anger, self-righteous anger, will take over all that is good in me if I let it.

So when I’m angered, I ask for forgiveness for being angry and the ability to forgive those whom I feel have wronged me. In other words, I stick with what is wrong with me.

And that’s how happiness becomes an inside job.

Or choose to stay angry. Whatever floats your boat. Just remember that you make the choice.

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2 Comments

  1. Sue Slaght says:

    Oh this may be one of my favorite post of yours ever. I so often hear “If only I had more money, my knees didn’t hurt, my kids visited more often, I could travel….then I would be happy.” “I’ll be happy when I retire.” Good grief people happy comes now or likely never. Definitely with you that it is a choice. Striving for perfect not only makes one unhappy, it drives one to madness. Unsustainable as you say. Great post Jim. It should be on a poster.

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