Choosing Happiness

As part of my morning prayer, I have a couple of little daily meditation books that I read. The one I want to share this morning is a Hazelden publication, The Promise of a New Day by Karen Casey and Martha Vanceburg. It really speaks to me today about where I need to learn to go to find serenity in my life:

“To wait for someone else,
or to expect someone else to make my life richer, or fuller, or more satisfying,
puts me in a constant state of suspension.”
– Kathleen Tearney Andrus

                How tempting it is to make another person responsible for our happiness, and how absurd. To give such power to others means we’re at their mercy; it does not mean we’re happy. Whereas, accepting full responsibility for our own acts and feelings does give us the power to be as happy as we choose, as often as we choose.
Emotional maturity precludes our blaming or praising another for our personal well-being. There is reason to be exhilarated that we are blessed with as much control as we choose to have over our own growth, happiness, and commitment to change. We’re in another’s control only by choice – never by necessity. And when we’ve given our precious power away, we’re reduced to waiting – waiting for someone else’s nod of approval, waiting for their invitation to live.

The idea that I can choose my own happiness, that I don’t have to depend on others to control their lives to make mine more pleasant, is a new idea for me. It is a lesson I am still learning. I still manage to give my serenity away. I am getting better, however. And when I manage to get out from under the blame game, things tend to get better. When I choose not blaming another for my unhappiness things lighten up. It is like someone going out to fight a war to find that the enemy decided to go on a cruise instead.

When I get caught in the games of blame and self-pity, I have friends to help me rise above the fray. They remind me that I am still learning new skills in life and I can forgive myself for fumbling.

Today is a good day and I can feel  gratitude beginning to return.