Thursday, September 1, 2016

the pursuit of happiness

i don't know why but inspiration for my writing usually happens at night. which is insane because i am honest to goodness, NOT a night person. i'm the early bird who gets the worm and puts it in a bowl of cream of wheat for my kids to refuse to eat, despite the abnormal amount of chocolate chips in it, because they DESPISE worm.
*worm is a euphemism for banana
my babies make me happy

anyways i've been thinking a lot about happiness. what makes me happy, why i am not happy when i clearly should be, and what i should be doing different. along with that, my friends and i have all begin to notice the effect social media has had in our feelings of inadequencies and dissatisfation with life. a month ago, this was not a problem for me. i could look at someone's trip to belize and be so happy for them. now as i scroll through, i feel like a failure. not enough woman. TOO much woman. not a good enough wife. a terrible mother. not smart enough. not successful enough. but that's not me.

i've always been the one who had too much self-esteem. you know, the friend who flashes the sam's club cart attendants [for the record, this was not me. this was anna campbell. the truth is out]. i honestly have never had a problem with who i am and the choices i made until suddenly i wasn't. and i think depression and social media could equally share the blame for that.

for book club this month, we read how to improve your marriage without talking about it by patricia love. phenominal book. i should do a whole blog post about it. i chose a small group of close friends so we could be open and share ideas that have helped in our marriage. we are councilled not to talk about our marriage problems by our church leaders and i 90% agree with that. there are times when i've had a close friend come to me [usually crying] because of some obsticle she's facing with her marriage. i didn't give any magical advice; i was a sounding board. and again, despite church advice, i've sought advice from my own mother. women need to talk out their feelings and that's ok. what we shouldn't do is bash our husbands or flaunt their shortcomings because we have just as many. with my friends, that's not what we do. we laugh, we console, and we uplift.

a box full of cheetos make me happy
i've noticed several of my friends are divorced or separated from their spouse as of lately. is it that seven year itch? a close friend, who married way too young due to an unplanned pregnancy, once told me that the first ten years of her marriage were the hardest. no doubt due to their young age and stress of a baby but still, i appreciated that. because when i look around the sacrament room, i see perfect marriages with beautiful, happy children. i see vacations people took, date nights posted on instagram, birthday parties, perfect makeup, skinny bodies. and i look at myself and see failure. my other friend told me that people post only the best 5% of their lives and we judge 100% of ourselves. no one has a perfect marriage or a perfect life. everyone has SOMETHING. and worse yet, some people have the ABSENSE of something.

depression makes you illogical. there would be times i'd look at myself in the mirror and think 'i hate my life'. but if i broke it down, there would be nothing real to hate. i have three crazy boys- who make my life complete. i have a husband who works a lot - and provides for me, does everything around the house, and loves me despite my craziness. my home is too big and expensive - that will be full of laughter and joy for years to come. my body is fluffy and i've lost my beauty- but i grew three children. i have so much! depression makes you stupid. it makes you listen to satan and ignore christ.

i recently read an article where the author exclaimed how he was at the end of his rope. his mom then told him to tie a knot at the end of the rope and cling to it. the knot would be jesus christ and it would save him. and it did. i've noticed that when i'm depressed, the first thing to go is my relationship with my heavenly father. let's get real- issaiah is not as glamorous as olivia benson. but i akin scripture reading to exercise. it sounds terrible and hard. then you start doing it, little by little, and pretty soon it's the greatest thing in the world! how in the world did you go so long without reading these wonderful words.

one day when i was particuarlly having a hard time keeping my crap together, i sat down at the piano my husband inherited from his grandma. i am a C- player at best and i hate to perform for other people. but i sat down and pounded out some songs and the weirdest thing happened. i felt the spirit. my kids started singing along to the hymns and the spirit filled my home. what the what? i could only play for five minutes until the baby refused to be neglected any longer but still. those five minutes changed my day. so why do i neglect the things that will obviously bring me the most happiness?

my friend gave me a gratitude journal a long time ago when i first started feeling depression and i thanked her, wrote one page, then forgot about it. two years later, i pulled it out and started to keep track of inspirational quotes and promptings i was recieving. i made a list of my current priorities/accomplishments for the day.

1. facebook and instagram and pinterest
2. gym
3. cleaning my house
4. potty training an obstinate 2 year old
5. eating crappy food

killing it on fitbit makes me happy
ehh... there are some needs for improvement. then i made a list of things of my families needs [i did two for each person]. i won't specify whose needs are what but i bet you could probably guess.

1. snuggles
2. reading books
3. listening
4. actually playing with them
5. attention

and my own needs

1. quiet time - at lunch and at bedtime [usually in the bath]
2. gym

see some discrepensies. a quote i loved from general conference, one i had written on my mirror until recently when an overzealous 4 year old wiped it away read:

when you can't do what you've always done, 
you do what's most important.

is facebook the most important thing in my life? did i tell my kids by my actions that "i love myself more then i love you"? [something i gleaned from after you] was i drawing nearer to my heavenly father daily? not really. maybe that's why i'm feeling the way i do. happiness is not something permanent and concrete. it's something you work towards, everyday. some days are happier then others. that's the whole point of this life. taking the good with the bad, the bitter with the sweet. although bittersweet chocolate is just a terrible, terrible idea.

so i've cut down my time on social media. i don't look at my phone constantly and i try to stay positive. i realize this post is a lot of things and a lot of feelings but i hope you can find some truth in it.

 find your happiness. seek it. make time for what's important and let go of what isn't. nobody is perfect. every couple fights. every child is the worst. no one wears makeup at night [and if they do, they have some serious issues]. lean on people when you need help and be a pillar for someone else. be grateful. hold onto christ. and follow your bliss.

and put down that damn phone.

did that all make sense?

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KinderTeach said...

I love you baby sister.

Kari said...

This echos so many of my own thoughts/processes. Thanks for sharing!

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