The Trap

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. There is comfort in predictability for some things. I must warn however, as my mum did, sometimes people prey on your predictability. It is better to be unpredictable in certain situations.

For example:  Never take the same route home every day. If a predator is out there, they can lie in wait based on your predictable route.  (Mum was a very paranoid person)

Office workers prey on your predictable reactions. Spouses too. Best to always leave them guessing. (Mum said the secret to a long marriage was to keep your spouse on their toes – though, she divorced after 8 years so I don’t quite know how sound that advice is…)

What I do know for sure is, that getting stuck in a pattern of behavior or point of view is pretty easy. Sometimes one can unwittingly get trapped into a pattern without really understanding they’ve been caught. One that particularly ensnares me off and on in life is negativity. For me, it starts with a whinge here or a whine there; but then after a while, it’s like all I can see. All the negative things people say or do. My sense of humor goes out of whack and gets sardonic and black. Snarkily so.

If it goes on long enough, it affects my happiness. Then I become bitter and bitchy. At that point, all I can see are what’s falling apart or going wrong and missing all the bits which are going right.

It hit me the other day that when I get home and I’ve been asked about my day; that’s really all I do is bitch and moan. God! How much of a drain am I to the family in doing so? Or anyone around me for that matter?

There was a meme out there that helped me identify being caught in the trap of negativity.  Disclaimer: I do not know if this is copyrighted…. so please do not sue me. I looked around to find the source and could not seem to locate the exact author/artist of this image.

Cartoon captioned Happiness I created it myself

It became all too clear that when I get caught in negativity, I have control to create my own happiness. I cannot rely on things changing for me, I have to make the changes to be happy. Rather than allowing all the negative events or interactions to cloud my world view; I can choose to select and search for those positives which occurred as well.

For a long time, I looked to my spouse for happiness and realized that would never happen. So I broke free of that expectation and found activities and projects which would generate happiness within me. Whether it was volunteer work, random acts of kindness, crafting for causes, taking on commissions for art, hash-tagging, or reading for pleasure.

The lesson I learned here was that happiness starts with a choice from within. So rather than focusing on what went wrong today, I deliberately also took note of what went right or what caused happiness today.

It’s a work in progress and I need to keep working at it; but that’s with anything in your life. Constant growth and maintenance.