Do you have a good life? If not, who or what is determining that? Is it the circumstances? Other people? Your lack of opportunity? Or is it you?
We can all come up with things to complain about. For many years I blamed my problems on my husband. All my unhappiness was due to him. Whenever things went wrong, he became my scapegoat.
Like me, many of us are prone to blame others and make our boss, our mom or the random stranger who is driving too slow in front of us "the problem". We blame our unhappiness on them. If they would just ____________, I would be happier. This leaves us with no way to make our lives better.
I realized that when I leave my happiness up to the behavior of others, I’m stuck having the kind of life determined by them. If I decide to choose my reactions and be responsible for my attitudes, it’s up to me how happy I am.
That’s much better!
Blaming others for the quality of our lives is lazy, . . . and convenient. We tell ourselves that it's his fault and that means we don’t have to do anything differently. When we believe that it's his fault, we relieve ourselves of any responsibility to change. We also eliminate the opportunity to make things better and continue to have difficulties and an unhappy life.
So, what if he does do something wrong? Try this instead, ‘even though he did this wrong, I get to decide how much it’s gonna bug me’. This may seem like hard work (and it's easier to point fingers) but taking this attitude is much easier than letting him drag you through an unhappy existence. The choice is yours.
I heard of a man who said, ‘I’ve never had a bad day. Well, I guess there was the day my wife died but how could I be sad when she got to go home to be with the Lord?’ Whether you believe in God or not isn’t the point. It’s that we each get to choose, regardless of the circumstances, whether or not to be happy.
Without question, there are circumstances that are more difficult than others to put your chin up and smile. Start with the small stuff and work up to the larger issues of life. The bottom line is that it's up to each one of us to decide. The quality of our lives is up to us.
Are you blaming the unhappiness of your life on others?
Owning your attitudes is the first step towards contentment.
Are you just too frustrated by their incompetent behavior to not say something?
Remove yourself from the situation.
Are you sure that nobody else would put up with it?
Do you believe that your circumstances are worse than other people’s?
You’ll always lose the comparison game.
Is your job so crummy that you dread going to it each day?
Then find another one.
Do You Have a Good Life?
If your answer is anything but yes, ask yourself the next question, ‘why not?’.
- One person moves to assisted living and is unhappy because it means they are nearing the end of their life. Another is thrilled because they no longer have to cook and do laundry.
- One person hates their job because it’s a dead end and they have a difficult boss. Another is happy to have a steady paycheck and finds meaning in their work.
- One parent grieves their empty nest and another embraces the change.
- One person sees the rain and is sad the picnic is cancelled. Another sees it as a day to catch up on things around the house.
- One person feels they deserve better and another simply does better.
- One person experiences a failed medical treatment and loses hope. Another experiences a failed medical treatment and moves on to the next.
Which person are you? Do you blame others for your misfortune? Are you taking control of your attitudes and living a happy life? Do you believe you can take negative emotions and turn them around? Are you in control of your happiness?