Happiness or Misery?Happiness or Misery?Happiness or Misery?

Happiness or Misery?

I know that I usually pontificate on all things “Jamaica.” I fill you in on my latests thoughts on life there. You may be wondering where a post on happiness or misery fits in, right? Well, I’ve come to realize that I have to enter this adventure in the right frame of mind.

It’s easy to get bogged down with the negative when you are in a foreign place and facing new challenges. Jamaica and my integration there has certainly brought up aspects of myself that I need to work on to make the transition more enjoyable. One of those is the choice of happiness or misery.

It’s my firm belief that you get what you pay for. Cheap shoes don’t last. Day old bread is usually stale. Inexpensive old cars will generally fail. Men who will cheat on their wives with you will just as easily cheat on you when you become “the wife.” Choosing happiness can reap great rewards and choosing misery can cost us dearly.

That said, I also believe that we draw experiences into our lives, based on our expectations, thought processes and beliefs.

It’s sort of like when you buy a new car and, suddenly, you “see” that same car everywhere. It’s not that everyone else just bought that make and model.  No, those cars have been there all along but now that you are focused on them, you see them. That’s how life works, good or bad.

If you constantly expect terrible things to happen, they will. If you see yourself as worthless, people will treat you like trash. If you believe that life is meant to be a war zone, it will be.  The boogie man you SEEK will be hiding behind every bush. If you focus on how everybody around you is a “jerk,” chances are that they will happily fulfill your expectations. Again, it’s not that you are actually worthless or that everyone wants a fight or that your friends and family are all idiots. Like a camera, you see most clearly what you are focused on.

The good news is, if you “expect” to see positive things, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that popup in your life.

If you realize your own value, learn to be happy just being with yourself and love your real self, others will love you, too. If you stop searching for the next person to offend you, you will rarely find offense in the people or world around you.

Have you ever met that person that you wish you could be more like? The one who is always looking at the silver lining? The one who gracefully learns the hard lessons that come along? Wouldn’t it be fabulous to “be” that person? Yes, there is a time for sorrow but there is also a lot of time for laughter! I’m working hard to become “that” person.

I heard a great line on a tv show the other night. Two characters, one older and one younger, had each been abandoned by their parents. They discussed how to “get over it.” The older character told the younger one, “You don’t ever get over it. You ACCEPT that it happened, let it GO and move FORWARD.” Wisdom.

We all know what it’s like to be so caught up in drama that we miss the beauty of the sunsets. Most of us know what it’s like to become a captive of our regrets. It’s sometimes to believe that everyone coming into our lives is conspiring to hurt us because it had happened so many times in the past. If we expect a life of misery, will we be getting what we paid for?

When I walk into a building with my sunglasses on, does it make sense for me to complain about how dark it is or should I simply remove them?

Conversely, have you ever tried on a pair of brown or golden lens? The colors of the world around you get so pumped up your mind almost can’t stand it. Wouldn’t it be great if life looked like that every day? It’s all about the filters we use.

Do people intentionally hurt us? Yes. Do they tear us down? Yes. Can they place that recording in our head that tells us “It’s not going to work. Don’t bother to try.” Yes. But here’s the thing…we don’t have to keep listening. We have the ability to turn off the power and fill that void with affirmations. We don’t have to allow other people dictate who we are or how we feel.

My personal quest over the last several years has been to replace those negative voices with my own positive statements. When I realize that I’m tuning into the messages that say I’m not enough or that I’m unloveable or ugly or whatever, I override those condemnations. I literally tell myself, “I am enough. I am easy to love. I look great for my age!” I’m finding that I have those conversations with myself less and less.

I am really practicing these “think on good things” lessons.

I have stumbled and fallen, but guess what? I’m learning and growing. It’s getting easier to change my “self talk.” I’m seeing a brighter future. My daily life is more relaxed and “healed.” The most incredibly encouraging people and fascinating opportunities have come my way. It’s working!

I’m not alleging that everything that happens to us is always in our control but what if a lot of it actually is?  What if focusing on our blessings would bring more of them into our daily lives? Isn’t that worth a try?

Sometimes, it’s all about the lens through which you view the world and your circumstances. Change the focus and the picture may just improve.


I'm a wife, the mother of ten children, a retired dairy goat farmer and cheesemaker, and I love to travel, write and take photos. My favorite hobby is walking the beach and searching for sand dollars.


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I have traveled all over the world and fallen in love with many places in my lifetime but none of them grabbed me as intensely as Jamaica. During my first visit, years ago, I felt as if I was coming home for the first time in my life. I look forward to sharing this journey with you as I begin the long process of making Jamaica my actual home. These are my experiences and observations. I hope you can see Jamaica through my eyes, and love her the way that I do. I am Jamaican at heart.

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