Be You

Focus on You ~ I CHANGE FIRST

To any truly fabulous recipe there is one secret ingredient that makes the dish utterly amazing - "the secret in the sauce." That secret for life is that you change first because you are the only person you CAN change.

I am the only person I can change - I have no control over anybody but me. That handsome guy right there - I can't control him anymore than I can control the weather. It's all about me - how wonderful and horrible at the same time! How I react to the good and the bad will either lend to my wisdom or lead to my undoing and will certainly have an unprecedented affect on those around me. For this reason, I must always come first - to love, to take care of, to master.

Everything else will fall into place thereafter.

I've learned this secret the hard way through personal experience. As a divorcee, mother to a child with ADHD and ODD; step-parent in a blended family and as an ordinary gal trying to make it all work, I know that true happiness will only come from me; it is not dependent on anyone or anything.

Happiness is a choice, not some destination that we will arrive at when everything in life magically falls into place. Nothing worthwhile is easy and nothing easy is worthwhile; every single day of our life will take effort and self-mastery. It isn't meant to come freely or easily or without bumps in the road; without challenge there would be no opportunity to progress and learn. Love this guy, more than anything. Sometimes, he drives me nuts! Sometimes we bicker, we see things differently and I think mean thoughts about him in my head. Ha! But, I forgive quickly and even quicker I remind myself that I am just as much of a stinker, sometimes.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardships as the pathway to peace."

Life is about you and your journey.

So take care of yourself! Live your life intentionally. Answer without hesitation for what you do and who you are. Set time aside to do what you love - it will keep you happy and enable you to share more love and be a light to others. Your abilities as a wife, mother, sister, friend (and men, this does go for you as well - husband, father, brother, friend) expand exponentially when you are good with you and that requires finding your personally balanced, happy place.

Aside from the basics, here are the nuggets of wisdom that are helping me the most in living my life more happily.

Embrace that you you are flawed and then learn when you screw-upWe are human and imperfect by nature and there is no way around this. I've taken to reflecting on each day and recognizing my triumphant moments and the moments I really train-wrecked. I then consider what some other alternatives to that train wreck may have been and how I could handle it better next time (because there WILL be a next time).

There is a blog post by DaringYoungMom titled, Drops of Awesome. Read it. Now. She so perfectly sums up how important it is to recognize our daily efforts rather than dwell on all that we didn't do and all that we aren't. We aren't super people and I'm not quite sure when it entered our brains that we are supposed to be. Recognize what a waste of energy it is to ruminate on what a schmuck you are every time you handle something wrong (which happens often for everybody). Sometimes I yell at my kids, the house doesn't get cleaned, I didn't get dinner on the table, I forgot an appointment, I should have said no when I said yes, or I should have said yes when I said no, I killed my flowers because I forgot to water them, I spent money I really didn't have shopping at Black and White, I took a jab at my husband and the hundreds of other wrong or dumb things we do every damn day.

Being flawed is not an excuse; it is a reality that requires you to be honest with yourself and open-minded. You have to be able to really recognize what you are doing that may be fanning the flames of contention and problems and be willing to make changes; you have to find the teaching moments in everything that happens and strive to be better the next time around. Our whole journey here is about effort. Our 'best' varies from day to day - even moment to moment, so even doing our 'best' isn't a great indicator of our progress. The key is to always strive for better; to recognize when you need some help, let go of all the nuances that don't matter, and to always take time for you. Life is trial and error and simply putting in your best effort. At the end of the day if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. And YOU are the only person you have absolute control of. Become a responder, not a reactor.

Simplify life. Love it, embrace it, enjoy each moment, find the positives in every situation. Create happiness when there is none to be found. Laugh or smile when you don't feel like it. Most of what happens on a daily basis isn't a big deal - don't make it one. Know that your life will bloom where your focus is for better or for worse.

Don't compare yourself to anybody else. We tend to compare our worst to somebody else's best. What purpose that does serve, ever? You have no idea what anybody else's life is like. I recall a good friend of mine telling me, "I want my marriage to be like yours - you two are so happy!" She said this just before my first husband and I separated; unaware of the years of tumult that had been occurring. Everybody has issues, ghosts in the closet or excess baggage - it's life and it is messy! You will always find someone that has less than you or more than you. Somebody more beautiful or thin, or fatter or uglier. Don't strive for perfection because it doesn't exist. You have to do what works for you and your family. Basing decisions or your perception of self off of anything else is totally pointless. Truly.

Decide what you want and go get it. In order to make changes to take care of yourself, you have to know what you want and be specific. Write your goals down, read it out loud, record it, listen to it. Write down what you want as if you already have it and imagine what that feels like. What you think about you will bring about; it's in your hands. Be the change you want to see in your world!

Figure out what being happy means to you and then make it your mission to enjoy YOUR journey. We won't grow without tribulation, but we can always seek out the sunshine.

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