Happiness is Independence

by Sandy L on December 27, 2010

The other day, I was blogging about Babci’s Mottos to Live By and the last one just really stuck in my head.

“Don’t Complain about not having something done if you can do it yourself.”

If I think about the people in my life and the ones that are the happiest and the ones that are also the most miserable, I see a distinct link between Independence and Happiness.   It reminds me very much of the scene from “Under the Tuscan Sun” when the lead character thought her life was a failure because she didn’t have love and children due to her bitter divorce.  She decides feeling sorry for herself is not helping so she goes on with her business and put all her energy into renovating her home. In the process, it gets filled with love, laughter, children and the sense of family. It may not have been the exact cookie cutter vision she had, but she realizes it was great nonetheless.  If you’re ever feeling sorry for yourself and your life, it’s one of my favorite uplifting chick flicks.  (To me, it’s like the girl version of seeing rocky where the underdog rises above adversity and prevails, except she does it with wine and cooking instead of blood, sweat and tears). I especially love the cast of characters and I’d like to think I have my own host of wild and wacky characters in my own life to continually inspire me.

Back to my point.   The people I know who are happy are always working towards goals that gets them to the next level of bliss.  If they are working too much, they are the ones who have their resumes polished and are job hunting. If they are away from family during the holidays, they either graciously accept someone’s hospitality or create an event of their own for their other transplanted friends.

In contrast, the most miserable of folks I know are waiting for someone to materialize to come  fix their problems. The second approach I often see is to do nothing, complain about it and either feel sorry for yourself or hope that complaining will make things change for the better. A third approach, my least favorite, is when someone sees another person with a better life, they believe they are unlucky and got dealt a bad hand.

I personally hate relying on fate to guide my life. I like to feel more in control over what happens to it.  It’s true that you cannot always control unfortunate events like the death of a loved one, but you can control how you deal with those events.  We all miss my father in law dearly (he died suddenly of a heart attack just months before we were married). He would be majorly PO’d if he thought his death affected his family’s ability to move on with their lives. Enjoying the memories we did have would mean a whole lot more to him than if he knew people were miserable because he was gone.

If you are lonely, or broke, or overweight, it is never too late to take steps to reach out to the community, get a support system in place and make positive changes in your life.  If you’ve suffered a great loss and want to do something about it, take steps to immortalize your loved one. Set up a scholarship fund or get involved with something that they were passionate about.  If you want to get out of debt, stop shopping and start selling.

My last bit of advice is that you should never assume that life is just handed to people as is.  The reason someone seems to have people lining up ready to give them a helping hand is because of all the times they helped others.   If you want to be able to take hospitality from someone, the first step is to offer it yourself.  This whole sense of community is not a one way street.  To me, community is like an extension of family. You can make it as big or small as what is appropriate for your life, but it is always there for the taking.  Sometimes just the act of helping another person is enough to make your own day worthwhile.

What do you think of my latest theory?  Think of the most miserable person you know.  Are they still waiting for that knight in shining armor? Are they wanting to return to a time that is long past?

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