From Choices to Happiness

An image with the words 'believe in yourself' and a woman with her arms stretched out looking at those words to go with my post about choices and happiness.

This past week I set another step in getting help in the household, something I wrote about in my first reflective post of this year. Yesterday, I interviewed a candidate, and I am happy to say she will start next week. Finally, help! This will free my hands to do other things, but also clear space in my mind as I won’t constantly have to look at things I know have to be done but don’t know where I should find the time to do it.

I look at my bullet journal — the mood tracker — and I see the third week of January has been a good one.

If you want to join in, find Brigit’s daily prompts here.


Day 17 – 17 January: “In the degree that we remember and retell our stories and create new ones, we become the authors, the authorities, of our own lives.” – Sam Keen

This is one thing I have always believed, that we create our own narrative. Everything we do in life is a choice, even simply getting up in the morning.

That said, in the first part of the quote it mentions the degree we remember and retell our stories. With my daughter finding her biological father (https://medium.com/coffee-times/the-most-beautiful-christmas-story-12abce9268cb?sk=5f2cd03a6fd65d1bae5f792c4e69863c), my thoughts have traveled back many times, remembering our time together, but also struggling to remember some details. For 37 years I believed he had abandoned me, and then I discovered the truth (https://medium.com/coffee-times/lies-of-past-times-f4427fc475be?sk=d113823d6409827fd20fee5e5ab7bb83). My memory is fuzzy, but he’s helping me to remember. We are retelling stories of back then, and creating new ones together, now being friends.

Day 18 – 18 January: What do you need to say “yes” to more often?

Most definitely that it’s okay to relax, that I am allowed to take time off, away from my computer, from writing and reading. This really is something I struggle with.

Day 19 – 19 January: What do you need to say “no” to?

I am still seeing a life coach, and together we are working towards me “stepping into my role”. Too many times, and with too many people, I revert to a ‘child role’, putting the other person on a pedestal — putting them in a ‘parent role’. That’s something I am working on to saying ‘no’ to, by being aware of my behavior, by learning to recognize it.

Day 20 – 20 January: What makes you uncomfortable?

Judgmental people. Angry people. People taking offense where no offense should be taken. Negative people. People showing no respect.

Negative actions don’t need to be directed at me to make me feel uncomfortable. When I see two people in the clinch with each other, it makes me feel uncomfortable. When a person talks disrespectful about others, or is terribly judgmental, I feel uncomfortable.

I tend to feel uncomfortable on behalf of people who don’t realize just how judgmental, how negative and disrespectful they are. Depending on the situation, I sometimes speak up… but mostly I keep quiet, even when those negative things are directed directly at me. And that makes me feel even more uncomfortable… but I am learning to change that. Not the uncomfortable feeling, but the speaking up part.

Day 21 – 21 January: “The moment one gives attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” – Henry Miller

Every day (84 days today and counting), I go out for a walk. I don’t just walk. I look around me. I see cars driving by, other people walking, some with a dog, others not. At the river, I always look at the bridge leading to the town on the other side, and I look at the beautiful church. Sometimes it’s bathing in sunshine, and a week ago it disappeared into the fog. I notice the water level, the fishermen, the different sizes in boats and ships sailing by. I see birds on the grass, leaves on the trees, or trees without leaves.

Bottom line: I look and I take in my surroundings. I see cross paths with other people, and greet them. A friendly ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’ and a smile. It makes my day, and theirs, I hope.

That’s what the quote made me think of, of noticing the little things. And not only when you are out and about, but always.

Day 22 – 22 January: Reflect on the week. We write to remember. We also write to learn, understand, notice patterns, and determine who and what we are–and who and what we yearn to be. “To understand is to perceive patterns.” – Isaiah Berlin

To be honest, last week was a good one. Something had changed. The two weeks before, sadness had me in its grip. Sadness for what could’ve been. I talked about it during my coaching sessions. Cried during those sessions. I don’t know exactly what was said, or whether it even is something that has been said, but something changed. I felt stronger.

When I visited the coach last week, she remarked on the change. In my body language, my face. I had a grip on the situation again. I was — no, I am — growing again. I am getting closer to the point where I am ready to take my rightful place in every situation, be it as a wife, a mother, a colleague, or whatever had I am wearing at that moment.

Day 23 – 23 January: Plan ahead for the coming week. “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” – the Dalai Lama

Happiness comes from your own actions…

This made me think of what I have written above. About everything in life being a choice. About seeing the beauty in the little things around us. I also think of my last session with the coach.

And I come to the conclusion: yes, happiness comes from you own actions.

In my session with the coach last week, we spoke about me taking my rightful place no matter what my role is at that moment. For me to stand firm in my shoes, to believe in myself. This coming week, in my next session, I want to dig deeper into that. She doesn’t tell me what to do. No, through our talking with each other, me telling her about feelings and fears, about plans and pondering, she visualizes it for me, and gives me insight into myself. She sees things in me, which I am slowly embracing, and as I do, I get closer to being the authentic me. It’s an amazing process.

Other plans for the coming week? Well, news leaked out that restaurants might open again… I’m sure there’s a glass of wine with my name on it at our regular hangout!

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay


13 thoughts on “From Choices to Happiness

  1. As others noticed, there is a light, positive, hopeful feel here. Walking, noticing, finding your place, momentum. The coach seems to be a light for you, but you take that light and point it the direction you choose.

  2. Also glad to read positive things in your reflections! It brings me in a reflective mood too (thank you :-)).
    Day 23: 😀 I totally agree with the Dalai Lama, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy to do.
    I often think of Margriet Sitskoorn’s book “the makeable brain”. where she uses striking examples to show that with conscious thinking and conscious behaviour, you can change (physically!) your brain and thus change yourself. She sometimes says “You think who you think you are”. It does touch on the idea that ‘happiness comes from your own actions’.
    PS I hope to see the glass of wine with your name on it next to a glass of whiskey with Mr T’ name and a glass with Rivella with Miss Bonnie on it and a pint of beer with my name. 😉

    1. I do believe that happiness comes from our own actions yes, and I will look for Margriet Sitskoorn’s book. Thanks for the tip! We need to make those glasses happen!

  3. The last couple of years I have learned a lot of these similar lessons. A lot of it has been realizing what I control and what I don’t. In the end I am only responsible for my own happiness.
    I can choose how things and events make me feel.
    I don’t have to let anger and disappointment rule me.
    I can choose to do something or do nothing. And nothing is a choice.
    I can look outside of myself and realize it’s ok to be.
    Journaling your feelings and accomplishments as well as your goals can be revelatory as well as help you see exactly how much you have accomplished.
    I need to use mine more.
    It has been a pleasure reading your journey and have found help in your thoughts and lessons confirming a lot of what I’m learning too.
    As always thank you for sharing.

  4. Great Post Marie, thank you for sharing. Day 19 is really interesting. The psychology of parent/adult/child is something that is of particular interest to me at the moment. 99% of the time I’m in Adult (even with my children) but as soon as someone puts me in the parent role I revert to child. (“Didn’t consent to this, how dare you…” cross arms, stamp feet, blow raspberries…)

    1. This part of Marie’s post caught my attention too. Most of the time, I put myself in the parent role and my husband or friends or whoever, in the child’s role (which nobody, even me, really cares for). But with my Sir… I am often in the child role, and sometimes feel like stamping my little foot and telling him no (but I don’t!). 🙂

      1. It’s so interesting to read how others “do” it, and it helps me on my journey too, so thank you for that!

    2. When I go into the child role, I make myself smaller than I am, and allow the other to make all decisions, to steer me… and as a child I just listen and do what they want, even when it’s not what I want. And here I mean everyday stuff, simple decisions. Almost as if I don’t allow myself to have a say in anything, which brings me frustration, and I take that frustration out on the other (like a child) while it’s not their fault. I am un-learning that, and taking my place as an adult.

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