“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” ~Aristotle
Yesterday I wrote at Starbucks for the first time since my surgery, after my doctor cleared me to walk.
I felt an immense sense of relief to be outside my home, where I didn’t feel quite so isolated. And I was grateful for every nuance of that day—the fresh air, the feeling of life going around me, and the sense that somehow, I was part of it.
But the walk wasn’t easy. I get winded pretty quickly right now, and I simply don’t have a lot of energy.
I don’t yet feel like myself, mentally or physically—I’m occasionally lethargic, often distracted, and sometimes a little weak.
So yesterday I wondered how I might be able to see this feeling as a gift. What would it look like to embrace my current state instead of bemoaning it?
I decided that every time I needed to take a break—whether it was walking, or writing, or doing anything else—I’d notice and appreciate something beautiful around me.
And I’d vocalize it as often as possible.
While writing this tiny post, I complimented one woman on her colorful shirt, and told another man how lucky we were to get seats, since it was crowded yesterday.
I essentially created a joyful game out of something that could otherwise be frustrating. I may need to do everything more slowly by necessity; but I’m also consciously choosing to benefit from that need.
I admit this might be more challenging to apply to certain situations. It’s not always easy when you’re in pain or feeling despondent to find something good in it.
But maybe that’s something we can explore when we’re not feeling like our best selves: What would it look like to leverage what is to somehow better ourselves?
That might mean focusing on the little things that make a dark day brighter. It might be appreciating that we have people to lean on. Or it could be as simple as feeling grateful because this moment will eventually pass.
There will be times when we feel things that we likely would not choose. But we can always choose to do something good—in spite of our feelings, and maybe even because of them.
Photo by Nomadic Lass