Monday, October 8, 2012

The Cold Hard Truth: You Can't Always Get What You Want...

The Cold Hard Truth is a five-week series designed to discuss things that people don’t really want to hear but need to!

Cold Hard Truth: You can’t always get what you want … but be happy anyway. You can have a beautiful puzzle with 1,000 pieces and 999 of them are in place. One is missing. Guess what part of the puzzle you will focus on?

Life is made up of a myriad of experiences and compartments. Rarely is there a time when everything is going well in every area. When work is going well, you might have some issues with the kids or the spouse. If home and family are going well, there could be financial issues or issues with the parents or extended family members. There is usually a missing puzzle piece, sometimes more.

In those times, we need to learn to look as much as what is going right as what is going wrong. Focusing all of the time on those missing pieces is a recipe for unhappiness.

It starts with a familiar but often underutilized concept: gratitude. Be grateful for what you have: health, friends, family, a working car, food on the table, and the list goes on and on. Gratitude immediately puts the focus on what is right and good. It offers a sense of balance when you are tempted to dive into a pool of frustration and despair.

Related to gratitude is the concept of appreciation. Appreciate what others have done and are doing for you. Take it a step further and take a moment to appreciate yourself. The steps you have taken, how far you have come and the work you have put in. You might not be where you want to be but you are moving forward and that needs to be acknowledged and appreciated.

Be grateful. Be appreciative and find things in your life to be happy about. It may sound silly but when I was in the throes of unemployment and financial woes, walking my dog gave me a few moments of peace and happiness everyday. I tried to be grateful for Marty (who always seems to be doing something funny) and for the ability to walk outside, watch a sunset and feel the sun on my face. It didn’t make the unemployment any less frustrating or the financial problems any less daunting but for a moment, things were good and I needed those good, happy, moments.

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