Learning Happiness

I’ve been slowly re-reading one of my favorite books and came across this passage that was the perfect reminder for me right now.

Asking ourselves Where am I going? we might speculate on what the world holds in store for us. We imagine the world outside us providing events and developments that determine our capacity for happiness. What truly determines our ability to be happy , however, are our responses, attitudes and beliefs about these external events. While we cannot always control external events, we can control our reactions to them for we can choose our thoughts. So, our karma is, for the most part, in our own hands.

– Buddhism for Mothers of Small Children by Sarah Napthali

The past week was a struggle that I ultimately had to give in to to avoid becoming really upset. I continue to get frustrated at times with finding the time and energy to do everything I want or feel like I need to do. I often get impatient and daydream of the “perfect” set of circumstances.

We imagine the world outside us providing events and developments that determine our capacity for happiness.

If I could just have “xyz” or if my son would just do this or if I could just rearrange things this certain way, then I’d be so much happier, life would be easier, etc.

Does the perfect set of circumstances or situation even exist? And thank God I can’t control everything. I’m human, I don’t know enough and I make mistakes.

What truly determines our ability to be happy , however, are our responses, attitudes and beliefs about these external events.

Still, because I keep wrestling with this, there must be more lessons here or I’m just not grasping what I’m suppose to be getting out of the experience. I have realized I can be very impatient and somewhat of a control freak so maybe that’s what I need to do some letting go of.

But wow, it is hard.

I will say, it feels really good when I’m not worried or thinking too much and just allow myself to “be”, in the moment without planning or stressing.

While we cannot always control external events, we can control our reactions to them.

Going forward in to the last few weeks of summer vacation before preschool starts, focusing on acceptance, patience and trying to live in the moment will my mantra for now.

cover image of the book Buddhism for Mothers

6 thoughts on “Learning Happiness

  1. I love this: “Does the perfect set of circumstances or situation even exist? And thank God I can’t control everything. I’m human, I don’t know enough and I make mistakes.”

    What insight that is! I struggle to admit that I don’t have control over everything but I’ve never been wise enough to acknowledge what a good thing that is! Seriously Anna, this post has me shaking my head up and down, agreeing with such fervor. Really great insight.

    • I swear, letting go and giving up that sense of wanting to control things because I know how they should go (for the moment anyway) is really a hard! I think it’s more power and responsibility than I’m ready for though – haha! Thanks so much for reading Carinn! Really glad you liked this one :)

    • Thank you so much for understanding Carinn. It has been rough week but I’m so thankful for this blog and for you for reading it. It always helps to be able to share what I’m going through and learning.

  2. Very well articulated. I think we all go through this on some level and at some time during motherhood. It’s wonderful you were able to give voice to it…to something some of us cannot express.

    • Thank you so much Kim, this book I’ve been reading is really a great one. The author is great for breaking down these feelings and situations as well. You are right, it’s probably pretty normal stuff most mothers feel or go through. It’s always nice to find something that makes you go “ok, it’s not just me” :)

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