“We can’t fully appreciate a picturesque sunset if we’re wishing it would never rain again. We can’t fully enjoy a moment of true connection if we’re wishing we’d never feel alone again. We can’t fully savor a relaxing day if we’re wishing we’d never be busy again. The key to happiness is to focus less on making moments last and more on making moments count.”
#3 Happiness is a habit I am developing.
Happiness is created, not waited for.
Unaware of how to process feelings and emotions, happiness was something I was constantly chasing before sobriety and recovery. Jumping from one expectation of happiness to another left me feeling constantly letdown. I would envision a fairy tale outlook of an event, person, or situation. When reality hit, feelings of disappointment were overwhelming. Turning to alcohol for relief, easily took me away from happiness and contentment. It was exactly the opposite and life soon felt unfair, but it wasn’t.
Sobriety and Statement #3 in action offer a different and fulfilling path toward happiness. In our WFS Program booklet our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. writes “For many years, I was convinced that some people were just naturally happy and others were not. And most of the time, I was not happy. I was too deep into feeling sorry for myself, waiting for the time when everything in my life would miraculously change, and then instant happiness would follow.” Jean learned that her happiness needed to come from within. Through her actions, Statement #3 came to life and so did her happiness.
The WFS Statements offer a new way of thinking, and Statement #3 in action can cement contentment and joy. Identifying my emotions and adjusting expectations were just a couple of ways to practice this Statement, and since we live in an ever-changing world, I remain open to learning and discovering the depths of joy. Sometimes feelings of happiness can ebb and flow, while at other times can feel more consistent. This week, acknowledge your joys and plan for future happiness. What can you do today to enlist contentment tomorrow?
Hi 4C Women,
A new way of thinking is the key to practicing the WFS program. Each Statement is a guide to reflecting on our thoughts, behavior, and responses and creating awareness. Statement #3 in particular gave me such insight into how I viewed happiness. I neglected to acknowledge happy moments as though they never happened. Jean was wise in having Statement #2 (Negative thoughts) proceed Statement #3 (developing happiness). Once I understood how my negative thinking was hurting me, I began to realize that my thinking someone, anyone, everyone was responsible for my happiness, was not only a burden and hurtful to them, it was so unrealistic to think I had no role in creating it for myself.
At first, I thought this Statement meant I was to be happy all of the time which is just as unrealistic as expecting only others to make me happy. I understood as Jean expressed many times, that it is the awareness of those joyful, peaceful, contented moments that matter. I’ve previously shared that I focused too much on the painful past, not acknowledging there were joyful memories as well. Now I can reflect on the joyful past while learning how to create those happy, positive moments in the present. I also realize that people can add to my joy. I truly acknowledge and appreciate that. A burden has been lifted in knowing that I don’t have to drink to create false happiness. This Statement has given me authentic joy and beautiful moments to reflect on.
One of the things I love about the WFS program is not having to pretend. I will never forget when I was having a difficult day and someone told me to “smile” as that was what I always did. I hid my true feelings. It was as though my feelings were invalid and that led to going home and silencing my hurt. How wonderful that I can experience and express happiness along with the times I feel differently. Most importantly, I find that I am confident that my feelings will be handled with loving compassion from myself and other 4C sisters. What a gift. Now that makes me feel happy!
When was the last time you experienced authentic happiness, joy, or contentment?
In your self-care plans for 2023, have you included planning fun adventures and also being open to spontaneous ones?
Name 3 people that add to your happiness
Name 3 places that make you happy
Name 5 things that bring you joy, a smile to your face
Bonded in creating happiness and being aware of those treasured moments, Dee
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