Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weeds in the Garden of Happiness

In The Running Dream, Jessica talks about her ‘garden of worthiness’ and how difficult it is to keep weeds out of it. This has to do with her losing a leg and feeling that the boy she likes—or any boy, for that matter—could never fall in love with her because of her handicap.

It occurred to me today that weeds also spring up quickly in one’s garden of happiness—that you have to be willing to tend to your happiness—to stay on top of it—or craggy weeds will crop up and take over.

Have you ever noticed that about weeds? They grow so fast. And really, they take no encouragement whatsoever. One day there’s a little sprig (which you probably don’t think you have to pull out right then), and the next time you look it’s sucked the nutrients right out of the soil and become an ugly, spiky-leaved monster of a plant, choking out your delicate flowers.

Being happy requires work. It’s not something you just are. It’s something you work toward. Something you fight for. Something that needs to be maintained. It is really easy to let the negative infiltrate the positive. Keeping negativity out requires due diligence, and a willingness to be resented.

After all, misery loves company.

We grow up hearing the term ‘success’ used to describe people who have reached a certain level of status in their field, or a certain level of cha-ching in their bank account. And those things may be a measure of success in the traditional sense, but I think viewing things that way misrepresents what success really is.

I think success should be measured by your degree of happiness. So no matter what you do or how much or little money you have, if you are happy, you are successful. (This, of course, has nothing to do with people who are suffering from clinical depression or a chemical imbalance or some emotional trauma or whatnot.)

The interesting revelation I had this week was that if I had to explain what made me happy, I would start with my family—my husband, my kids….then I would say playing racquetball! Playing in the band! Going down the water slides!

But that really, those are just little rushes. What makes me happy at the end of each day is knowing that I made someone else happy. Knowing that I did something—no matter how small—that made the world a better place. I like looking back on my day and feeling that it was an honorable one—one where I was kind and compassionate and that I appreciated the gift of this day of living and the good things and people in it.

An old friend sent around this quote: “There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama & people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, & focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy.”

That sums it up pretty nicely, I think. It’s sometimes hard to face the fact that there are things in life we just can’t change, but when we do, it frees us. That craggy, spiky-leafed plant is never gonna bloom, no matter how much we may wish it would.

So stop wishing.

Go weed your garden.

There’s nothing wrong with being happy.


Marjorie said...

AMEN! I wish I could borrow your words for my journal. I will, however, print them and put them on my inspirational mirror.
Thank you for saying it so right!

Mel said... everything you just wrote in here is excatly what I've been struggling with: the weeds in my garden. I'm going to share this blog post with everyone I know. This really, really helps me stay positive. And you're so right. It's so incredibly easy to get caught up in all the bad stuff. It was becoming such a problem for me that I finally had to come up with a solution: I taped little sticky notes in random, high used places in my life that just said "What are you happy about today?" Just my de-weeding process. Thank you for this post. It really made me happy!

Alexa said...

Definitely right about that!

Success is not an unattainable goal that defines what you do. But if you do your best, that's success.

For me happiness has always been easy to grasp, sure there are points when it's hard to even smile and walk away. But in those days I always hold onto the hope that tomorrow will be better. And I'm usually right.

And after a long time of thinking I came to the conclusion of, finally, what I want to be. A photographer! So that was pretty much an answer to prayer. Which is great! So, see, tomorrow IS always going to be better :)

Anonymous said...

Wow you're really right.A lot of people don't even know that weeds are growing in their garden until the go to water the plants.But when the do they can't get them out.So they have to work.Just like you have to work to get out of sticky situations.Gosh.Do i wish I said those things.

Thanks for your inspirational words,


Unknown said...

You are so right Wendy, you always know what to say! This was a good, inspirational blog with a great quote. I can't wait to see what you think of for your next blog!

Pooja said...

Wow that was really good post! I'm totally gonna keep that in mind.

g said...

so right.

Unknown said...

You are my favorite writer of all time! I learned about your books because you visited my school... Washington Gifted Academy, Rockford Illinois. That's my school. I absolutely love your books, your attiude, and your inspiration! I hope you go far in life. I pretty sure you will. I have read Confessions of A Serial Kisser. And I am now reading Running Dream it is an amazing story. I am on part three chapter one. Once again good luck in all you do and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep writing. Thanks for the books. -Taylor Williams

Anonymous said...

Can i just add that you are a great writer,i know some people come on here and say that and someone else repeat it but all i can say is you are an amazing writer and your awesome!!!


Elizabeth said...

I absolutely loved this post :D. I recently had a therapy session (gasp!), and Dr. H talked to me a lot about the way I hide my emotions, even from myself, and spend all of my time empathizing with others and serving as my mom's emotional crutch, and expending all my energy making others happy while I'm miserable inside… and she asked me why I don't deserve to be just as happy as them. My garden seems to be full of weeds that were transplanted from other gardens, the gardens of those I love… and that kind of sucks. But I've been working toward happiness lately, and the weather is beautiful and helping, and I'm trying to put what is best for me a little higher on my priority list instead of just ignoring it out of a fear of selfishness. Oh, and I'm blasting music all day long :D. Thanks for the post-I'll try and keep weeding a task for every day :)