good life by trina frandsen
Part of cultivating a good life is choosing to be happy.
I remember the first time this phrase actually touched me. It kind of made me mad. It was the first time I realized that it might be true, and that meant I had some perspective changing to do. Being happy was 100% up to me. It was NOT my circumstances (when we have more money, I could be happy). It was NOT my significant others (if my husband was more helpful, I could be happy). It was NOT a goal in the future (if only we had a house like… I could be happy). It was NOT a when, an if, or an if only … it was a choice. And I could choose it right now. And be happy! And that decision rested solely on my shoulders.
Since making that choice, I have noticed happy people around me. What makes them happy?
- Happy people are grateful. They always have something to be thankful for, no matter their circumstances. Job loss? I have skills and talents. Tragedy? We have beloved friends and family. Disappointment? I am loved.
- Happy people stop controlling the actions of those around them. This one is hard for me! From my teenagers, to my husband, to all my loved ones, I want them to do things my way. Letting go has been so freeing for me. I don’t need to have a picture-perfect relationship to be happy. I don’t have to have perfect kids to be proud of them. I can love where they are. And love myself where I am.
- Happy people take care of themselves and serve others in an equal, balancing ratio. What does that mean? Well, it means different things at different stages of life. When my babies were, well, babies, I had so little time for myself it was pathetic. I needed it so badly! But I learned to carve out 5 minutes to read, pray, write in my journal. Later, I could carve out an hour a few times a week to exercise. But I also needed to serve others. For example I could look out for my friends who were in similar circumstances. We can go to the park together! I can bring over dinner one night. During different phases of life, this balance becomes different, but it does indeed need to be balanced. Happy people are not self-absorbed about their self-care; they also do not drain themselves by doing more for others than they have the capability of doing. Either extreme can be damaging, but a balance can be so fulfilling, so rewarding, so happy!
Am I always happy? No. Am I saying that with happiness comes the removal of all disappointment, tragedy, and sense of loss? No. Those feelings of sadness, grief, and despair will always exist in life. But I know I can return to happiness, it does exist, no matter what my circumstances. Every day is a new adventure, new challenge, new opportunity, new choice. But I choose to be happy. And that has made all the difference.
Note from Becky
Trina is one of my favorite human beings for sure. And — she is positively a happy person because she chooses happy. She walks that walk and I’ve seen it with my own eyes. So her words are wise and I hope they help someone reading this today.
I’ll never forget that really unique time many years ago when Trina and I were new friends. David and I were going through some difficult fertility issues and she had the opposite struggle because despite their best efforts to wait on another pregnancy during a stressful time in their life, Trina became pregnant… while on birth control… when she already had a 2 year old AND 1 year old twins! Here we were with completely opposite struggles, but both related to having a family on a timeline that we wanted to control.
And yet — we both knew better. We knew that we weren’t the ones in control. And we both struggled through our own journey which led to increased faith in God’s plan. You see, we don’t have cookie cutter experiences, but we all do have struggles. And we all have the ability to choose happiness, as Trina has so beautifully reminded us today.
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