Be Happy Anyway!

To begin today’s topic, I’d like to make sure I am clear about something here: normal is relative and there is no such thing as perfect.

When my daughters were growing up, all they ever wanted was to be normal or to have things look perfect. They wanted their inside lives to match other people’s outside lives. They wanted everything they saw on television and in the media. What they didn’t realize is that what they were watching was scripted, primped, primed and polished versions of real life.

I’ll even admit that to a certain degree, all that stuff we see about people in the spotlight—from movie stars and musicians to political activists and gurus—it looks so appealing when lit well. But unfortunately for my girls and the rest of us: life is not always lit just right. I am positive that my outsides (and by that I mean everything that exists in my outer world) could look like a celebrity’s if I had a costumer, a makeup artist, a script director, a camera man, an editor, a producer, etc, etc. But honestly, I’m more than glad that I don’t require a team of people to do my job, because the life of one who is under such a microscope is tough.

In fact, I’d argue that that lifestyle is far more difficult than mine is. I can go to the store without mascara on; I can eat my share of dessert over the holidays; I can have a disagreement with someone without it being front page news. And I’m not criticizing celebrity at all. The flashy life appears to be spectacularly luxurious! However, there is nothing in your life that cannot be perceived as just as luxurious if you have the right lenses on.

Think about Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan: Both of these humans are doing the best they can with what they have, and yet, all of their stumbles have been caught on tape. Sure, they have a lot going for them, but they also may covet the privacy you and I have. Ultimately, the point I am making is that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. In fact, it almost never is. And the paradox of that is this: when we can find pleasure in the lives we currently live—not complacency, but pleasure— we open ourselves up to more expansive opportunities.

Don’t get caught in the trap of wanting the perfect, polished life – it just doesn’t exist in the way you think it does. Instead, try to envision your life in a way that makes you happy, whatever elements you have to focus on. Start small with cuddling with a pet or a lover, or taking a bath or a lovely walk in the fall foliage. Find pleasure in your day today and your world will continue to expand into more pleasurable experiences.

It’s not always pretty and lots of times life is uncomfortable, but there’s a way to be happy anyway.

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Trinka is a counselor and has run her private practice in Los Angeles for 20 years. She has been Mastin’s personal therapist for many years. Check out her website here.

  • Tsanborn

    this is the 3rd time in 3 days the word expansive has come to me… coincidence???  I think not!!  THis is SO what I needed to here.. my work as slowed down a bit and i see how busy my coworkers are.  I make it all about me not being enough, how I will lose everything if it keeps slowing down etc.. TOday I am going to choose EXPANSIVE thoughts.. how lucky I am to HAVE a job, how lucky I could be with more time on my hands to follow my bliss, spend time with my man, kids and dogs!!   I can take that extra time with a client and slow down and work on making my skills better, giving quality service!!
    feels much better to reach for the expansion!