The Princess and the Pea

A good friend recently said to me that they kept wanting their ex-boyfriend to be more like my husband.

Every woman does deserve an Oliver. I’m just the one he was stupid enough to marry. He really is a fantastic person.

And yet there are many times when I find myself wishing that Oliver was more like someone else. Flawless as he is, there are occasions when he’s almost human. Like the way he sleeps in the shape of a question mark. I mean, what’s the deal there? Why can’t he sleep like a normal person?

There’s a lesson here, and it’s not about punctuation or sleeping positions.

Our external circumstances don’t ever impose happiness on us–not even if those circumstances include a stellar husband. Or even a stellar husband that sleeps straight (although that one is an extrapolation that I have no personal experience with).

I think I’d be more comfortable in an apartment with more space and more windows but I grew up in a house that had plenty of both and hey, look how that turned out.

The entire purpose of money is to facilitate our lives and yet I know many wealthy folks that have gone grey pinching pennies. In fact I don’t know one that hasn’t.

If circumstances could make us happy, I’d be the first to know. I have everything: a great husband, a beautiful daughter, plenty to eat, and an apartment one block from the World Trade Center in a city bustling with life.

Let me assure you, I do not automatically wake up in a state of zen every morning.

Until I have cultivated a deep-set pattern of gratitude, it takes active effort on my part to allow these things to multiply my happiness. Certainly having a tender and supportive husband adds to my happiness, but only when I have already made the decision to appreciate the abundance in my life.

Life is always just life. Even when life is good, problems arise. Even when life is tough, there are blessings present. There are always both. Every day we decide which we will we notice and dwell on. We don’t have to employ positive thinking, but merely be thankful for the gifts that are already present.

Gratitude and unhappiness cannot coexist and every day we determine which we experience.

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