It’s Thursday, so I’m Crafting my Life! I invite you to join in the fun. If you would like to share a story from your own journey, please drop me a line. If you’d like to find out more about my online class on living with intention and my upcoming e-book, visit craftingmylife.com.
Some time ago, I was followed by someone on Twitter. I’m not writing this post to single her out, or to chastise her, and I won’t share her name. I am certain that she is doing her best to connect, engage, and speak her truth in a way that resonates with her, and I love that Twitter provides an avenue for so many of us to do just that. And yet, this new follower stood out for me on that particular day, as I checked out her profile. Her bio had something of a familiar theme, as I have seen several like it. She promised blunt honesty, sharing all the low-down, nitty-gritty dirt on motherhood.
Heaven knows there’s a lot of nitty-gritty in parenting. Nitty-gritty covers every surface in my home, and no matter how much time I spend in the shower I can never quite wash it all off. I understand that. And yet, my first reaction on reading this bio on this particular occasion was, “Does the world really need more blunt honesty? Or, really, bluntness of any kind?”
My Happiness Role Models
Back in the spring I interviewed the fabulous Meagan Francis, author of a book called The Happiest Mom. During our interview, she talked about the time that she spent writing about the dark side of motherhood. At some point, she decided that things had to change, and she chose to pursue happiness. She dared to believe that you could put the word happy and mother in the same sentence, and that choice resonates with me.
The decision that Britt Reints made to pursue happiness also resonates with me. Her recent post about openly acknowledging and choosing happiness was simply outstanding. She wrote about the struggles that everyone faces, and the grief that life can bring, and choosing to smile in spite of it all. In the process, she found happiness. I would like to do the same thing.
Acknowledging the Reality of Life and Parenting
When I say that I want to pursue happiness, I don’t mean that I don’t want to talk about the hard stuff and the bad stuff. There is injustice and inequality and tragedy in the world that we need to face head on. There are moments when I have frankly had enough, and my parenting falls apart because I just can’t take any more of whatever it is that my kids are throwing at me. There are times when I’m up until midnight trying to get something done and technology fails me and I engage in a little bit of self-indulgent whining. I am human, and I am not immune to the ups and downs of life.
In spite of the inevitable nitty-gritty that fills my life, or maybe because of it, I choose to believe that I can make my situation better. I choose to believe that good is possible, and growth is possible, and attaining greater personal happiness is possible. I don’t think that the way to find that greater personal happiness is by sharing all of the life’s little difficulties with blunt honesty.
Attention and Honesty
When you focus your attention on something, it has a way of growing in your mind. If I spend all my time recounting the ways my husband has wronged me, I’m furious in no time flat. If I spend all of my time recounting the nice things that my husband has done for me, I feel all love-struck and gooey. It’s not really rocket science, and it’s not really woowoo, hand-waving type stuff, either. It’s simply about understanding that if you’re looking for bad-ness, you’re more likely to find bad-ness, and when you’re looking for good-ness, you’re more likely to find good-ness.
As I look for ways to create a happier life, I don’t shun honesty. I think being honest with yourself and others, and being able to speak your truth, are both important tools in a quest to live a life of purpose and intention. You’re not going to be able to find happiness if you can’t be honest about who you are and what matters to you. But there is a difference between being honest and truthful, and being blunt and negative. One is about seeing the world as it is and striving to make it better, and the other … well, the other just isn’t.
You may be wondering how my choice to pursue happiness squares with my quest to be bad enough. I think that the two goals align perfectly. My desire to be bad enough is about taking care of myself, throwing off social conventions that don’t work for me, and creating space in my life. Ideally, I will enhance my happiness in the process, and use the space I’ve created to make the world a better place in some way, even if only for myself and my immediate family. Being bad enough does not have to be about embracing a life of negativity.
I understand the drive for human connection, and I understand that in parenting, we often find that connection around the nitty-gritty. Who else but another mom can understand the literal crap that we deal with day in and day out? We don’t need to brush that under the rug. We also don’t need to focus all of our attention on the slings and arrows, or share only that part of parenting without also acknowledging the good that comes along with it, too. We can see it all, and look for ways to make our lives better in the process. I think it’s a goal worth pursuing.
What do you think? Do you think that blunt honesty is helpful or harmful to the pursuit of happiness? And how do you focus your attention on the good, in the midst of the not-always-so-good? I’d love to hear your thoughts!