What I’ve Learned about Happiness This Year / How I Overcome Frustrations in Life

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It’s been on my mind to share my thoughts on 2022’s efforts toward happiness. I’ve always had a melancholy edge. I think it was from being an only child til the age of 10. I have a sister but still she was so much younger than me that I still kinda felt like a loner for most of my youth. I depended on friends and my faith as much as I could. I had supportive family as well. But I spent a lot of time in my room and in my own thoughts growing up. My happiness, I thought, seemed to stem from 1) If things were going well 2) If fun things were coming up 3) I was doing something fun right now 4) Working toward something worthwhile and meaningful made me feel good about myself 5) Being a part of something important like a church group or cheerleading. 6) All being ok with all of my relationships. 7) Being able to share my thoughts with someone special 8) A big one, accomplishing things made me feel a surge of joy about myself. I think you can see an inner core start to show here of why I am the way I am?

As I grew older, it seemed that many of things things started to go afoul at various times. There were many things that happened that made me sad. I won’t go into these things. Life sometimes disappoints and having to overcome those things are part of life’s learning curve.

Through the years I’ve had to learn a lot about myself, how I react, how I think, and decide on WHO it was I really wanted to be. Sometimes just being me did not seem good enough. I can remember as a young adult things seemed to change for me. People that once seemed to care, didn’t any more. Maybe I was a disappointment to them. And maybe even to myself. I began to put my happiness in other people’s hands and it shifted from person to person to person, trying to find my special place, and I kinda felt like I didn’t have a special place to be. I guess I began to lose faith in myself. I was always so dependent on my career as it was usually a success and something I could be proud of, while I myself, wasn’t so much of something to be proud of.

I also let other’s try to shape me. In some ways I probably needed to be shaped. In other ways I didn’t need to lose my grip on ME and give up who I am to please others. I’m happy to say I have THAT part of me back now. I’ve had to do a lot of studies and self reflection. I have done a LOT of work on ME and a lot of studies. I know I needed some coaching on getting along with others and not thinking only of myself and so some things needed to be learned but I didn’t need to let go of who I was. I know I’m good enough now and that I don’t depend on anyone for happiness. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be devastated if something happened to the ones I love, but you know I can create happiness without having to depend on them to create it for me – if that makes sense.

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This year in 2022 I read some books on joy and happiness, listened to various podcasts, and in my studies this year I learned that I mostly needed to do the following:

  1. Do a mind shift regarding my Vision vs Reality. This has been hard and I’m still working on it. I’m still very possessive of my time and not having time to do some things I want and need to do makes me very stressed and unhappy, and probably hard to be around. I’m having to seek God in these anxious moments when everyone else needs are dependent on me and I get overwhelmed. Sometimes to the point of having a good cry because I don’t know what else to do when it gets overwhelming and I have 75 things on my to do list and my day falls apart. My vision of what is in my head versus reality has equaled unhappiness. And so a mind shift is certainly needed. I struggle with this more than anything I think. Especially where spending my time is concerned.
  2. Have to make a decision to be grateful. This I think I have done over several years. Katy (daughter) had grateful reminders in her house – little plaques and things as a reminder. It meant so much to see that and it had an impact and I bought my own little signs and pillows and sayings. I also pray to God each morning and start with the things I was grateful for from the day before and thanking Him for them. It’s really been an attitude changer for me.
  3. Being content in the moment. I’ve tried to be more “mindful” of the present time. I don’t always succeed, but it sure helps keep the anxiety level low, helps with your relationships etc. I will always be a planner though.
  4. Being organized is a must. That said, I must keep up with life and if I have a calendar book and a to do list and a phone and an ink pen and a pad – I can usually do pretty good about keeping up with all the many facets of my life to keep me organized and from being a total disaster – which would make me unhappy as I get unhappy when I’m disheveled.
  5. I have to see the bigger picture on so many levels and not just through my own eyes. What’s God’s picture, what is my spouse’s picture, what is Mom’s picture, what is Katy’s picture on the grand scheme of things. Being less selfish without losing myself entirely or becoming a robot.
  6. Reassess my priorities and goals. I need to spend time doing the most important things so I don’t feel crunched later. I know this is all heading down the path of being organized, but you see I’m the most unhappy when I’m unorganized and life begins to run me over. So happiness to me has a level of organization to it. It’s embodied in who I am but I have to let God help me with these things or I will over organize and over analyze everything.
  7. Allowing God to redesign my life. I’m not there yet but He and I are talking. I know I am following some of His Will for my life. He’s working with me slowly and He is guiding me as I’m ready for each step. I keep on doing what I know to do and then He will nudge me in certain directions or thoughts. But most of the time I realize that I don’t have to be doing GRAND things that just being where I am and sharing some things and giving help where needed, guidance where needed, may just be all He needs from me right now. I ask Him to help me to know His will and to do it.
  8. Reassessing priorities and goals. Sometimes I have to do a mind shift on that as well. What is really the most important thing here to concentrate on and getting that done will bring me joy if I just do a little reassessment.
  9. Embrace what is and Forge Forward. That has been my motto this year and the phrase alone has helped me a lot.
  10. Looking at Accomplishments so Far. When I feel frustrated and all the joy has gone, I try to remember how far I’ve come, how grateful I am and realize that I can still move forward with goals and life – even if it is only moving at a snail’s pace to what I expected. After all, it may not even be my plans that are important. Maybe God has something he wants me to do entirely different, but one thing leads to another so we shall see. I get frustrated with life a lot and that sucks the joy out. One of the biggest problems I have. It’s really about control and letting go. But I’m a stubborn one. And that is why I get so much done. Getting things done has also equaled happiness across my life. Maybe I put too much emphasis on it. But looking back at accomplishments make me feel better.
  11. Manifesting my Goals. I also made statements on several pages of notebook paper for what all I personally wanted to accomplish within the next 3 to 5 years. I’m curious to see how it will turn out and if it will manifest itself. Who knows. It made me happy to get it all out of my system and write it all down and put a date to when I wanted it done by. I don’t live by this list so there is no pressure. I will review it from time to time to see if anything happened on it yet. I’ll be impressed and share it when it does. lol. It was fun exercise that brought me joy just doing it.
  12. Clear up confusions. I’ve had some confusion over the blog/vlog (among other things) and what to do and where to go with that – and the uncertainty and my being so unable to learn and study and grow as fast as I wanted has been frustrating. It’s still evolving and I have some of my answers coming. And I will continue to work on this as long as God lets me as it brings me joy. Except when time doesn’t cooperate and I get frustrated. I have over zealous goals I guess. That is not such a bad thing, but it is if you are frustrated and can’t work toward them as much as you would like. I’m not a young chicken and don’t have all the time in the world anymore but I’m working toward acceptance of doing what I can in the time I have and not letting it frustrate me.
  13. People don’t get to control my emotions. Well, I try. I need to not let people suck the joy out of me but to be in charge of my own emotions. This can be hard and I struggle with it daily. And not to depend on any one person for happiness, but to depend on God and also myself to decide to choose NOT TO BE a miserable cow on any given day and to choose JOY.
  14. I need to go with the flow more. I don’t like too many changes to the schedule or too many surprises. And mess with my Saturday and we have problems. lol I’m really trying on this one to be more flexible. But when I get so very little personal time I really have a problem letting go of it when I’ve got that time already spoken for with thousands of little things I need to get done. I am not sure I will be able to be more flexible. But I’m trying to let go of total selfishness to do MY list and be considerate of everyone’s list that is important. Still, I will never like surprises with my time. Unless of course it is a surprise vacation or trip to the Bahamas or something. lol. Even that I think I’d be stressed over.
  15. Not Let Work Stress get to Me. I did myself a huge favor by changing jobs. I’m sure I’d have stroked out by now if I’d stayed in HR, being as detailed of a person as I am. Still sometimes work gets to me. I mostly just stress over quarter end taxes and when other people don’t give me information in time to complete said tasks, but even with that I’m learning to let it go. Not my fault in those situations. And sometimes I still question certain things but for the most part I just bless and release and pray for it and let that be it. I still expect coworkers to do their jobs and I will never not care about providing service to our internal customers, the employees. So as far as that goes I expect justice and participation and I will not be happy when it’s not there. But again I can hang it up and come home and even immediately let it go at times. So it’s better.
  16. Marriage. I’m just gonna throw this out there. I love George and I am loyal and I’ve stayed. I’ve given up some grand goals to do so. On the flip side I can’t make anyone love me and a lot of stress rolls off of me when I realize if someone doesn’t love me for who I am they can leave. I’m happy to say he has stayed. So far. lol. Relationships can be so stressful if you make it out to be. But I’ve chose to roll with it. And it’s important to me. But I’m still me and I might change some aspects of my persona to please another person (removing negativity, trying not to be selfish) but when it comes down to being me, I can’t make someone love me. That’s on them. That alone takes some heat off. If one can’t like me they can go somewhere else. So glad he is still here b/c we are both imperfect and have flaws. But he is a good friend and I love living life with him, despite our differences and flaws and all that. How could I not include this when I live with him and that can impact joy or not, lol.

So most of this is on a very personal level as to how joy or the lack of comes about in my life and how I work to address any unhappiness. I wonder if you can relate? What tends to suck the joy out of you easily? How do you cope and try to bring yourself around? I’ve had these notes a while in my back pocket. Since probably April or so. I’ve just now had the time to write about it all in a more expanded way.

22 responses to “What I’ve Learned about Happiness This Year / How I Overcome Frustrations in Life”

  1. Wow that’s a lot. I’m more of a no list go with the flow person, as life is just like that. I understand the working full time and family/responsibilities but I just feel isn’t that pretty much the norm? Most people have to work full time, and George even cooks! I think we all have the same number of hours in a day. And many have very stressful jobs, (I’m a psych RN working in stressful environment doing shift work (holidays/weekends etc.). I was widowed at 40 with my husband dying of cancer at 41 the week my youngest of 4 kids turned 5. Such is life. It’s what you make if it by not sweating the little things, and compared to that it’s all little things! I now have 12 grandkids! In my town! They’re wonderful but I see my kids manage full time work, sports, school, band ……. And they have a joyful life as crazy busy as it is! ( my oldest two have 6 kids each, my third is expecting in December). My only other insight is if you have the expectation of people needing to except you for who you are (sounds good) then you must except others for who they are also. Of course being in mental health I believe people aren’t etched in concrete, positive changes to increase joy and life satisfaction is always possible. Change isn’t easy or comfortable but then neither is being stuck in a mindset either. (Not implying you but just in general).

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    • Thanks for your insight. I’m glad life has been good for you and those you mention. Sounds like 👍 your clan has life nailed and figured out. For some of us it’s not as easy as saying we have enough hours or someone cooks for us. Some people naturally can flip a switch and be joyful- but with my persona it’s something I have to work at. Having self time and quiet time and being organized for me has been important. I’m not sure why. I realize by opening myself up I’m risking being judged. I don’t really have to open up here or explain myself. I really am NOT whining in this post but just opening up my true feelings of how I have dealt with bring joy in stressful times. I hope it helps those who have similar issues and understand. Even though people have a 24 hour day, they can still feel blue or tired or exasperated.

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      • I also meant to say that I’m sorry you lost your spouse at age 40 with young ones. No one should have to go through that. But sounds like you found your way through.

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  2. I worry about the state of the world today.,Not that it does any good to worry. But pretty much do what I want. I am not a big list maker. I might make a list for groceries or things I have scheduled like a haircut, dentist or Dr. Appt. Everyone is different though so I understand where you are coming from.
    I have had to work so much when I was younger I feel like I missed a lot in life. Looking back I really don’t know how I did it.
    Once you retire you will have so much more time to do what you want. You have a long day with that commute. Hang in there your retirement is not too far off. I don’t blame you for retiring, Life is short I know someone who retired and drew one check then died of a heart attack. I know you want to travel and see that grandson. They grow up so fast.

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  3. I can relate to just about all of this. It feels like I could have written it. This part: “When I feel frustrated and all the joy has gone, I try to remember how far I’ve come, how grateful I am and realize that I can still move forward with goals and life – even if it is only moving at a snail’s pace to what I expected. ” is something I have been trying to do too. My progress may be small, but it’s progress, right?!

    Reassessing priorities is also a big deal for me. I get so jumbled up and overwhelmed with all that I have to do that I try to remember a saying from a podcast I used to listen to called The Next Right Thing. I try to remember to do what is right and needs to be done first. That can be very hard to do!

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  4. Well I know you have limitations on your time. I have chosen to continue working after retirement. As Ken is still working, I have time to follow the things I could not when I was working the full time job. I love my customers and look forward to seeing them each year. I have to study the new laws pass test and get my goverment license each year to work. I also have time to follow so much of my younger interest. I sign up for some online programs covering, herbs and their effects on your life and what they can do for you. I have signed up for programs in the historical field as that would have been my field of work had I been able to pursue it when I was younger. I have a lifetime partner that is also interested in many of these things, and we just enjoy our life. We have fun in what we do. We think we are going to do one thing and end up in a completely opposite direction just having a great weekend. We are looking forward when we can take our little Cheri’ up to the restaurants on weekends and she can join up on the patios overlooking the water.

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    • Glad your surgery came through! I’ve been keeping up with you through Mom.

      Yes we don’t have much spare time now to do things we want. Mostly chores or things at home. I’m looking forward to retirement myself!

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