While I was on my mission, a certain young man whom I had been very interested in back home stopped writing to me. I soon learned from my mom that he was engaged. My reaction was very interesting. Although I was naturally disappointed at first–since he was someone I greatly respected and thought I’d like to marry—it didn’t last long. Recognizing that pining after him had been a distraction, I felt that his being out of the picture now freed me up to fully engage in the work. And upon further reflecting how such pining for love-and-marriage had robbed my college years of much of the enjoyment potential that engaged-learning-without-romantic-drama could have afforded me, I resolved: ‘Never again will my happiness depend upon a man!’ I immediately envisioned a meaningful life that I could look forward to as a single (graduating college, teaching high school Spanish for 5 years, taking a trip down to Argentina to visit all the friends I’d made . . . ). ‘I’m going to live my life, and if marriage happens along the way, fine.’
Sour grapes? Maybe. Or maybe an emotionally healthy decision.
Ironically, love found me quickly after I returned home–when (or perhaps because) I was least worried about it. According to my husband, Erik, the relaxed enthusiasm I exuded as a woman-with-a-plan was very attractive to him. His attentions, interesting conversation, and enthusiasm for me were also very attractive. We married just over a year later.
Recalling that mission experience today, I was struck by the peace-filled energy that came when I decided to work toward creating my future life rather than lament my current lack. The latter is such a waste! To pine away is, literally, “to lose vigor, health, or flesh, as through grief.”
Here’s to putting depression in its place by making decisions and moving forward! (Wish me luck.)
After weeks of frustration at too few answers and too little progress toward the clarity of purpose which I’m so wanting in my life, I realized today that I’m just sick of it. Sick of feeling down. Sick of feeling angry and impatient with others because of my melancholy. Sick of stewing over the same problems again and again. Sick of how depression feels!!
More than ready for change, I made the decision this morning that I was going to enjoy my day! (Theorizing that enjoying myself would feel so much more pleasant than the alternative.) No, I did not turn to mood-altering drugs. No, I did not neglect all the home and parental responsibilities which are mine and sit back eating bon bons all day. Rather, I turned my mood thermostat to “enjoy” and proceeded to try to enjoy each thing that I was going to do.
To my blessed delight (and surprise), I was able to do it! I’ve had a great day! There were a few situations that challenged my patience, but in each I quickly realized how I was starting to feel and thus changed my outlook and “upped” the empathy. Voila’! A return to enjoyment.
I am so pleased with the rewards of my simple decision. What a powerful prescription for happiness: Enjoying. (Maybe I should patent it.) <grin>
6/19/11 When I was about 16, our Young Women president invited her Avon lady to come speak to the girls in our ward. The message she felt prompted to share with us was, “When you live in your heart magic happens.” I remembered that phrase during a depressive time today and thought, That’s my problem: I live in my mind/thoughts rather than my heart. But how do I remedy that? I was still for a moment, and then a word came to mind.
I was intrigued . . . Could this be another power word for me? A striving, stretching, growing, sharing word for me? I had some concept of what it entailed (being generous and helpful toward others), but I wanted to go look it up. Ironically, I learned that its Latin roots are magnus (great) and animus (mind). But being magnanimous is much more than having grand thoughts. Here’s how Noah Webster defined it: “[Possessing] greatness of mind, that elevation and dignity of soul which encounters danger and trouble with tranquility and firmness and which raises the [person] above revenge and makes him delight in acts of benevolence; which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects” (An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1812). There was so much in that definition that resonated with me!
Being magnanimous today meant calling my dad to wish him a happy Fathers’ Day (rather than just thinking about it). It meant buckling down and blogging in order to share my new power word. It will mean going down to prepare a delicious dinner for my spouse to help him enjoy the remaining hours of Fathers’ Day. It may mean hiring some help soon–which would keep me from being so scattered and benefit the family as well, I feel.
Magnanimous is a noble word. Choosing to be magnanimous feels good. It is refining. I believe it has the potential to keep me living in my heart.