Thursday, June 19, 2008

Search Winding Down

(My 17th birthday with all my sibs, pre-marriages.)

I love my family. We have so much fun together no matter what is going on. Last year, when they all gathered around me to lift me up and support me during the trial of Gus' death, we all managed to keep things light and enjoy each others company, despite the circumstances. For that, I am incredibly grateful.

It's my observation that America thrives on the family unit. You can look anywhere and see a family mourning for the loss of a loved one, engaging in illegal activities to help support their family, or a family accepting the pure selfishness and arrogance of a single member, no matter how it hurts them, just to keep that member close to them.

The latter is what is on my mind these days. I was at many times in my life that family member. My teenage years did not treat me well and I was dragged through them, bruised and bleeding. But the scars and other reminders of my life then help keep me afloat now.

I am here to tell you that I have figured out the source of true happiness in life. I've been to certain extremes to find it and now I am practicing it at my very best level.

It comes from two sources: The Family and Religion.

These answers seem so easy to people who do not understand. I thought they were too easy but their simplicity is exactly what brings the joy and fulfillment to our lives. They are not easy to practice and as most people are trying to find the easiest way to happiness, myself especially, we will find that smoking to calm your nerves or drinking to fit in or relax will only bring temporary, shallow happiness. If someone drinks every day to fill their happiness tank for that moment, they will find it only sucks that tank dry and the next day you have to start all over again.

Watching people who follow a meaningless patten of drinking, casual sex, drugs, and so on, only reinforces my feelings of where we can find the happiness we are desperately seeking through these temporary activities. I'm not saying that if you drink occasionally you are a bad person or if you are not a member of the LDS church you can never be happy because that is completely false. Anyone who tells you otherwise has gone to the complete other end of the spectrum.

Over the past few weeks of talking with a therapist and searching for happiness of my own, I've found what I believe to be the key and have seen it first-hand at work in the lives of others. Here are the guidelines I've found to be most helpful:

~Moderation in all things.

~I don't just say I have self-esteem, I search for it inside myself. It's given me more personal strength than I've ever known.

~Reading the Bible or Book of Mormon consistently reminds me that even though I do have worth and I'm of great value to my family, I'm still human and God's will and judgement is the most important.

~It's finding a core strength inside myself that has helped me overcome the issues I've been dealing with.

~Love, patience, and charity take priority.

Now, I just have to work hard everyday at these important concepts. I think that is what steers people away from practicing these. I have never wanted to work this hard at being happy, I assumed it should come naturally, but the work I've put in gives me a sense of accomplishment.

So that is what I've been working on here in Utah with my parents. I hope that answers your questions and gives you an idea of what I'm currently dealing with. I'm certainly nowhere near perfect, but I have a map that I'm determined to follow.


Mrs. Burns said...

Oh, you said that sooooo well. I miss you Mel. When are you coming back? I love you and hope you are doing well.

stephanie said...

love you mel.

Tina said...

That was well done, Mel. Thank you for sharing... I wish everyone had... or would take or make... the opportunity to put the time in that you have... You have hit on some very important findings and concepts. Good job! Hurry home, 'k? xox

Meredith said...

Im so glad you are able to do that. not all people have the ability to realize they are unhappy and then WANT to do something about it. because like you said= it takes WORK. And sometimes work is hard!

So good job and are a good person!

Tia Langston said...

Thanks Mel. You really have been a strength and positive example to me. Love you!

J&J said...

what a wonderful post Mel, you are a true blessing in my life.....thinking and praying for you and your family.....Love you Mel

Emily said...

Even though you have strange tastes in movies, I think I love you. On a more serious note, bravo on getting counseling, I think more people should. Go home to your hubby as soon as you can, I bet he's missing you and Gracie more than you can imagine.

The Queen said...

Great post. I struggle with this, too.