Tag Archives: Happiness

Making Mistakes

I made a mistake a couple of weekends ago. Actually I made several mistakes, but this one involved someone who has been rather toxic in my life. The demeaning response and consequent attempt to take advantage of the situation lifted the floodgate of emotions related to a situation I’ve been working to overcome.

Mistakes are a funny thing. No one wants to make them, but they are often the gateway to experience, learning and growth. How many times have we been told about the number of failures Edison had before he invented the light bulb? Or how many shots Michael Jordan missed? The learning is in the journey and the journey is filled with bumps, pit stops and distractions.

I remember a discussion in Sunday School a couple of years ago about mistakes, where the instructor said mistakes aren’t bad. I don’t think I can describe the shock that reverberated through my body as I thought of the consequences I faced for past mistakes. That was the first time I realized that maybe my perception of mistakes were off kilter. Actually, that was at the beginning of my discovery that maybe many of my perceptions were off kilter, but that’s another blog post.

I let the reactions to my alleged mistakes by someone close to me feed my insecurity in my decision making ability. I was often paralyzed and unable to decide anything for fear of making a mistake. I walked on eggshells, fearing I would unwittingly make a mistake in this person’s eyes – which happened frequently. I don’t want to focus on my relationship, but a little about how others react to our mistakes. For me, I developed a fear of not only failure but also a fear of making decisions.Candy Corn Cookies

Mistakes show we are trying. If we’re not making mistakes, are we really living? When I struggle with a decision, I remind myself that if I choose the wrong option then I’ll pick myself up and move on. Often, a choice is just a choice with no right or wrong answer. Like the time I made cookies with candy corn instead of chocolate chips. They tasted fine, but they were messy and ugly. Lesson learned.

Other times mistakes can lead to pain, and that’s OK too. Life is meant to have good days and bad days. It’s very hard to appreciate the good, without the not so good. For me a painful day is still better than those days I was numb, blocking out how unhappy I had become with my stagnate life.

It’s so good to feel again, regardless of the emotion; although I do prefer the positive emotions. This year I’m focusing on rediscovering what makes me happy. I’m bound to stumble on some unsuccessful attempts. And I’m sad to say I’ll make a few more mistakes and some of them might sting a bit. Hopefully by the end of the year, I’ll be more in tune to what makes me tick with no visible scars from the mistake or two (or 90) I make along the way.

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2015 Word: Happiness

I missed choosing a word of the year last year. But the 2015 word makes me smile, happiness.

The day after I decided on my 2015 word of the year, I thought about church discussions that happiness being fleeting and how we should strive to have joy. While joy is the ultimate long term goal, I don’t think I could achieve joy without ample happy experiences.

While I’m not looking for selfish moments of fleeting pleasure, I am hoping to discover what makes me happy. Often the simple question “Where do you want to go for dinner? overwhelms me. Even more than struggling with restaurant choices, this Christmas I realized I became accustomed to centering my celebration on making the holidays special for my children, I lost touch with what makes Christmas special for me.Santa Timer

I’ve spent so many years pleasing others, that I think it’s time to take a bit and focus on finding those things that make me happy, what makes me smile. For example, when I was packing up the Christmas decorations, I had to leave this little guy out just because I feel lighter every time I see it.

I was trying to think of a picture that embodies happiness and went to my Facebook friends for suggestions. They had great examples of what happiness looks like to them: family, service, nature, babies and the Holy Spirit started the list. But those things can be hard to capture in a single snapshot. I decided that my cute little Santa timer is going to be my happiness mascot and I’m going to make it a goal to share images throughout the year of simple things that brighten my day. I think I’ll call them Happiness Helpers!

Here’s to a year of smiles and happiness! I’d love your comments sharing your 2015 word or what makes you happy.

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