Thursday, April 19, 2012

I didn't know that you could choose to be happy, thank you Elizabeth Smart for teaching me otherwise.

I honestly didn't know. I mean, somewhere deep down inside of me I am sure that I did know. Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that fact is pretty much nailed into our brains from the time we are infants, isn't it? Or was it lost on me thinking I had to be completely 100% amazing in order to be happy?

The world teaches us that we have to be beautiful and super model thin to be happy. We have to have the seemingly perfect life in order to be happy. Our husbands have to shower us with gifts and they come home from work and clean the house and kiss us and hug us and forgive us for all of our wrong doing. We always have our makeup on and our hair done, and dinner on the table, and our kids are so well behaved and craft masters and reading masters and all other types of masters because that is what is required to be happy. You can't be happy unless your life is without trial and sorrow. If you have not all of these things, happiness cannot be found.

At least, that is kind of what I thought.

Until almost two weeks ago when I finally learned that it is possible to choose for yourself each day to be happy with what you have been dealt in life.

It went down like this. I was up late. As in...extremely late that it becomes early. You know those nights. Life had become all consuming to me. I was being bombarded with trial upon trial upon trial. I was miserable in my marriage and after the seemingly thousandth time of forgiving, I was so done with it. Done with my marriage, done with a huge trial in my extended family, I was ready to run away.
This particular evening, after being up for so many hours I was feeling the weight of everything on my shoulders, and I was feeling it hard. I went to shut down my computer before bed when I saw people talking about the wonderful speech they had heard that evening by Elizabeth Smart. I read the comments from Facebook friends, and went to bed thinking about what she had said in reference to the trials and terrible things that had happened to her during the nine months she was taken from her family. I went to bed that night and I prayed. I prayed hard. I prayed that I could find happiness and that I could learn to truly forgive and let go.

I texted my husband at 4 a.m. that morning. A simple text, where his only response was, "Wow."
The next morning I awoke to somehow come across this news article from KSL. It was as if I was being slapped in the face. I took her words literally to heart, they sang to me, rang deeply into my ears and resonated into my heart and a light finally went on inside of me, a light that had either faded after so much sorrow, or one that had possibly never even been lit before. 

My favorite portion of the article reads:
It was not until later, though, that Smart and her mother would have a conversation that would prove to be life- changing. "She said, ‘Elizabeth, what this man has done to you is terrible, and there aren't words to describe how wicked and evil he is,'" Smart said. "'He has taken nine months of your life that you will never get back, but don't give him another moment. The best punishment you could ever give him is to be happy.'" "And that's exactly what I'm trying to do for the rest of my life, is be happy." Smart focused on keeping trials in perspective and realizing that what may be difficult for one person may not be difficult for someone else. "Nobody is trial-free, but we have a choice," she said. "We can choose to allow our experiences to hold us back, and to not allow us to become great or achieve greatness in this life. Or we can allow our experiences to push us forward, to make us grateful for every day we have and to be all the more thankful for those who are around us."

That night I was able to forgive my husband for everything terrible that had been plaguing our marriage for the last 4 years. I was able to finally see that while I thought I had forgiven him, I had not. I was harboring anger and resentment and misery instead of truly choosing to be happy, and move forward with our life together. I chose, finally, to choose happiness in my life.
It has been 10 days of choosing happiness, and I have a lifetime of more happy days ahead of me. It is truly up to me to find joy in the every single day, even when the days are hard.
Does this mean our marriage is fixed and I am super happy and we are just the perfect amazing couple and family? H no. We both still act like three year old's throwing tantrums and each wanting our own way, but we are both willing to look within ourselves to see what needs to be fixed in order for us to find happiness.
There has been more laughter. SO much more laughter. There has been so much more baby squishing and big kid cuddles. I know my kids feel the change in our home. I know it is because of the changes in me.
I want to thank Elizabeth Smart for sharing what her mother shared with her so many years ago. It has truly changed my life and my heart for the better.
I hope you each choose happiness today and every day.


Ashley said...

You're so beautiful.

Emily said...

My heart is so very, very happy for you. This must be the 126th time I've said this, but you are an amazing woman.

Arianne said...

Love this.

Elisa said...

Thank you for sharing this. It will help me a lot too.

Natalie said...

Such a hard day for me today - on SO many levels. I needed to read this, and almost didn't because I need to go crawl in bed and cry some more. I too read that article a few days ago. I think I also really needed to read what your experience was with it and how to apply it to me. Thank you. I'm sure you don't give me a second thought, but you are so amazing in my eyes. So thank you. Thank you so much. <3 Here's to better days.

Christina said...

I 1 million percent agree. I wish that every person on earth could realize this truth- happiness is a choice. So happy you've had that shift and you're at a place to embrace it!

Brittany@Love Stitched said...

is it crazy that I got all teary eyed and emotional reading this! You are such a strong woman! I truly look up to you. I am so HAPPY for YOU that YOU found happiness!! You deserve a lifetime of it! xoxo

Mostly Jessica said...


ec said...

this makes me so happy.

Ramblings of a Redhead said...

I'm so happy for you!!! That is an amazing break through! Keep it up. Thinking of you!

Barb said...

Such a profound lesson to take to heart. I need to be reminded every day.

Anna Jaeger said...

Beautiful post, love the pictures.

Amy said...

So true. Love those qoutes of choosing greatness or choosing to let our trials keep us from greatness.
Just a few years ago I realized the power of Positive thinking. Something I fall in and out of. Thanks for the reminder that we can be happy amid everthing.
love you lady.

Jenny said...

Elizabeth Smart is such a strong woman! I am so glad I found your cute blog and can't wait to meet you at Breathing Space!
Modern Modest Beauty

Kaysi @ Keeping it Simple said...

What a great post, thanks for sharing!!