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Can one be happy ANYWHERE?

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  • #382970
    C. R. Smith
    Participant

    I’m not sure if this is the right forum for this topic, but here it goes.

    Like many here, I am not happy with my current situation!  I am trying to live a simpler life. I make just enough money to get by. I moved to an inexpensive area so I could more easily live within my means. So I have a really nice house in a nice area for this town, but it is UGLY here. One of my greatest joys in life has been to simply walk in beautiful places. Where I lived previously, every time I made a gratitude list it would mention something about the beautiful sky or the beautiful world. Well, I can’t say that here. I live in Kansas, and it is literally ranked as one of the ugliest states if not the ugliest state in America.  My  backyard and my street are lovely-ish, but that’s about it. it depresses me no matter where I go. I feel like I am living in a dump. I don’t like the grass, I don’t like the dirt, the state is too poor to beautify anything, and it is flat.

    At the same time, I see people here suggesting practicing nonaction and acceptance. I feel I need to move. I do not want to live the rest of my life in an ugly place. BUT I feel extremely anxious at the thought of moving. The other thing is, everywhere else is much more expensive and I would not be able to live as simply anywhere else. My job, which I really don’t like either, is virtual so I can live anywhere.  Another issue is people. There are some wonderfully kind, good people here. But there are a lot of uneducated, foul people, as well. I feel in another state I would be around people I can relate to better. And I am lonely beyond belief (though I seem to be lonely no matter where I live).

    So my question is – how do you know when it is best to just let go and be, and how do you know when you need to make a change? My soul is aching for beauty. Do I listen, or do I quiet that yearning for now?

    Thanks!

    #382978
    anita
    Participant

    Dear C. R. Smith:

    1. About the place where you live and the topic of physical looks, you wrote today: “it is UGLY here. One of my greatest joys in life has been to simply walk in beautiful places…. I live in Kansas, and it is literally ranked as one of the ugliest states if not the ugliest state in America… I feel like I am living in a dump. I don’t like the grass, I don’t like the dirt, the state is too poor to beautify anything, and it is flat”.

    More than 4 years ago, on March 2017, you wrote about the same topic (physical looks) in your reply to a member: “I think about the people I’ve known that I respect.. Their looks have NOTHING to do with why I value them… Again, their value has nothing to do with their looks… LOOKS ARE IRRELEVANT. It is hard for me to remember this. I must remind myself of it 20 times an hour. But, it is true. I would be so much happier if I could truly embrace it… Think about everything that makes life meaningful. Almost all of it is invisible”.

    I know that back in March 2017 you referred to the physical look of the human body, and today, you referred to the physical look of a place. But in principle, if “everything that makes life meaningful.. is invisible”- perhaps you can find an invisible meaning to living where you are. Back in 2017, you had to remind yourself of this principle 20 times an hour- maybe you didn’t remind yourself of this principle for a long time (?)

    2. About your job, human behavior and loneliness, you wrote today: “My job, which I really don’t like either..  Another issue is people…  there are a lot of uneducated, foul people, as well. I feel in another state I would be around people I can relate to better. And I am lonely beyond belief (though I seem to be lonely no matter where I live)”.

    More than 7 years ago, in April 2014, you wrote about the same topic: “I am 48 and am still looking for my right career! However.. We have the power to help others in any job by the way we do our work with pride and honor and by the way we treat our coworkers and customers. Truly giving to others is a matter of who you are, not what you do… No job is going to be 100% perfect! Often we feel that if only I can find the right job, I will be 100% happy! It’s not true! No job will make you totally happy. Shoot for something that feels like at least 60% of the time you will be enjoying your daily tasks. Also, being so obsessed with finding the perfect job is pretty much the opposite of living with acceptance and gratitude”-

    – I wonder if you remember to still “work with pride and honor”, if you forgot that “truly giving to others” matters so much. Maybe you forgot to be okay with the 60%. Maybe you need to revive your principle of “living with acceptance and gratitude” (?)

    You shared back in 2014, that you earned your master’s degree in counseling, that what drew you to counseling was “more a desire to understand and heal” yourself, that to “really help others”, that you wanted to be a counselor, but “I found out that good counselors make connections with others easily, and that is not me. I only truly connect with a very few people, and the clients I worked with sensed this”-

    – I suppose that your loneliness (“I seem to be lonely no matter where I live”) is about often not feeling truly connected with other people. I wish I could read more from you about this topic: connecting with other people. I guess in bringing this up, I am trying to virtually, but truly, connect with you.

    anita

     

    #382989
    C. R. Smith
    Participant

    Thank you so much for your kindness in responding to me.  It is nice to be heard. I would say beauty in nature and beauty in people are two very different things. Beauty is super important in life; why would we have eyes if not to experience the beauty of our amazing planet? There is no denying that experiencing the beauty of nature makes one’s life better. BUT it is the internal experience while in the presence of beauty which really matters. So, yes, there are invisible things at play. And I agree that I can appreciate what beauty there is here. But what I was wondering, and this applies to so many things,  if aspects of your life really are not great. Or say an essential need is not being met (and maybe having access to beautiful places IS an essential need), should one still just BE and stop TRYING to CHANGE THINGS or  should one seek a change? As I’ve been thinking of this, it does seem if you are experiencing anxiety and desperation, it is best to embrace the present with all its imperfections, and when one is at peace, the best path will present itself.

    My loneliness: That was really just an aside, but it definitely is making my life less fulfilling and rewarding. I also feel shame about it. I appreciate you saying you want to try to connect with me. I feel a connection, even though it’s virtual. I don’t know where to start on this one. A big issue is  that I spent the first 35 years of my life deeply enmeshed in a religion which gave me immense meaning and security. Everything in my life was geared toward that religion. I had many great friends in the religion. Then I found out the religion was not based on true events. I tried to continue to be part of the religion, but I felt so hypocritical. Losing the religion stripped me of  my security and sense of meaning. I also have trouble truly feeling a connection with others because they don’t share those essential life experiences that came through my religion. One thing that has hurt me also, I think, is having my two sons grow up and leave home. Being a mother gave me meaning (although I was very depressed then, too). But I feel if I embrace the idea that I am still a mom, and they are my children, and this will always be one of the most meaningful things I have done, I feel more confident and at peace.

    Work: Those were great suggestions I gave! I do agree with them. But I am definitely NOT 60% okay with my job. I keep my job because it pays quite well, I work from home, and my hours are completely flexible. But my work provides no fulfillment. I don’t feel good about accomplishing anything. I don’t experience flow hardly ever. So it like I am living a lie to do my job. I often have to sleep in the middle of the day to “come down” from the show I am putting on for everyone.  On one hand I do try to do a good job, and my students really like me, so I feel sort of okay about that. But since it is a lie, I feel pretty horrible about it. I have tried to do other things, but it’s hard to replace the salary and the  work from home and the flexibility. I read the woman who writes Brain Pickings 7 Keys to a Happy Life, and she says never do something only for money, prestige or to assuage guilt. I would say I do my job only for money, and I do feel it has hurt my spiritual growth. I started selling real estate on the side. That has been sort of okay, but I really don’t like trying to say the right thing in the right way to get someone to let me help them buy or sell a house. HOWEVER I think I am going to try to totally be okay with my life and job  as is and see what happens. I will try to practice gratitude, self-discipline, self-care, etc., and I will try focusing on my students rather than the curriculum and see what happens. I feel good about this plan.

    Thank you for listening to me! If you have more questions or ideas, I would love to hear them.

    #382990
    anita
    Participant

    Dear C. R. Smith:

    I am looking forward to read and respond to your recent post when I am back to the computer in about 10 hours from now.

    anita

    #383002
    anita
    Participant

    Dear C. R. Smith:

    You are very welcome.

    There is no denying that experiencing the beauty of nature makes one’s life better. BUT it is the internal experience while in the presence of beauty which really matters” – perfectly said!

    If aspects of your life really are not great. Or say an essential need is not being met (and maybe having access to beautiful places IS an essential need), should one still just BE and stop TRYING to CHANGE THINGS or  should one seek a change?”- like you wrote above, “it is the internal experience while in the presence of beauty which really matters”. If your subjective, internal experience is ugly, then an objective, external beauty will be lost on you. In that case, it doesn’t make sense to keep moving, hoping that a new external beauty will undo the inner experience. On the other hand, if you live in a place that is too noisy, too polluted, smelly, etc., then moving is of course the right thing to do!

    My loneliness: That was really just an aside, but it definitely is making my life less fulfilling and rewarding. I also feel shame about it. I appreciate you saying you want to try to connect with me. I feel a connection, even though it’s virtual“- We have connected then. I wonder what the shame is about (?)

    I spent the first 35 years of my life deeply enmeshed in a religion which gave me immense meaning and security.. Losing the religion stripped me of  my security and sense of meaning”– it reads like your first 35 years were immensely wonderful.. but then you shared in 2014 that what motivated you to become a counselor was “a desire to understand and heal (yourself)”, suggesting that you were emotionally injured or unwell, needing healing. I wonder if the emotional injury suggested occurred after you left the religion at 35?

    Being a mother gave me meaning (although I was very depressed then, too)“- you were very depressed when you were a mother younger than 35.. while still in the religion?

    I am definitely NOT 60% okay with my job. I keep my job because it pays quite well, I work from home, and my hours are completely flexible…. I am living a lie to do my job… it is a lie“- can you give me a definition of the lie you are referring to in regard to your current job, a definition that is as simple and as clear as possible?

    anita

    #382993
    Cathy
    Participant

    Hello CR! I hear you, and relate to your dilemmas. I know it may be off-message to say this, but it occurs to me maybe you need an adventure? Just pack up and go travelling. You can live cheaply in rural areas or off the beaten track, especially if you can work from anywhere. Or join an intentional community that has many of the supportive qualities you found in religion, but without the religion and its lies (if that is what they were)? Be a hermit. Be a helper. Be a volunteer or co-worker with a charity. May your bright star lead you to where the leaves and buds unfold. Cathy

    #383341
    C. R. Smith
    Participant

    Thank you both for your responses. I have contemplated what you have said over the past few days. I realize I cannot blame the loss of my religion for all of my sadness and disappointed. As I was experiencing my sadness, I also realized suddenly that I am sort of being a spoiled brat about life. It’s as if I’m saying, “I’m not going to be happy unless I have a perfect life, and I am pretty upset that perfect life hasn’t been presented to me yet!” Hahaha – but seriously, that is sort of the attitude underlying all my disappointment. I look at happy people and I do think part of it is they just have humbly accepted what life has dealt them and find joy wherever they can. I don’t know where I got this horrible sense of entitlement.

    I also appreciated the suggestion to just get out and have an adventure. I am trying to just have more fun each day. It’s true I am so amazingly focused on working and improving that I often forget to just be myself and have fun. I am  trying. One thing that gets in my way are my two doggies! I hate to leave them, and I don’t really have anyone to help me watch them. I do have one woman I might ask. Your idea of joining a commune of sorts is tempting. All of those ideas are good. I don’t know how I would swing it. There aren’t many of those  opportunities where I live now. I was about to sell my house and move to a small house in Iowa, but alas I have saved that adventure for another day. Also it seems I always think those kinds of moves will solve my problems, but they rarely do.

    I was doing better, but today I was feeling sad again. One thing that always brings me down is a sense that I have failed in life. I really feel that I have. I was one of those gifted children, and I thought I would achieve so much! But here I am having so little. It is hard to go on often. I have not done as much as I thought I would career wise (my friends are doctors and lawyers and ceos). I don’t have the family I always wanted. I tried real estate and it’s a joke; I hate trying to sell myself. So – there is so much shame, and I know this gets in the way of me connecting with others. I tried to move into other careers that would draw on my natural talents more, but they have not worked out. I’m tired of trying.

    With the failure of my real estate attempt, I am feeling I will wholeheartedly throw myself into teaching again. I will try to be successful there.

    Another thing I didn’t tell you is I am sort of involved with someone. It is not perfect, but some of the time I respect him and feel we connect, and it does give me a sense of security. And he really does love me. He has a company and he is on the brink of some serious success. If that works out, it will open many opportunities to us. It will be interesting to see if it happens and how that changes me. I am thinking it is life’s secret gift it has been waiting to give me. I hope that is the case. We’ll see :-).

    Thank you for listening and helping! Sorry for the slow response.

    #383374
    anita
    Participant

    Dear C. R. Smith:

    “It’s as if I’m saying, ‘I’m not going to be happy unless I have a perfect life.. ‘ ..the attitude underlying all my disappointment…  I have failed in life.. I was one of those gifted children, and I thought I would achieve so much! But here I am having so little“-

    It may be possible for you to change this attitude. If you change this attitude you will experience life differently. Did you already look into the origins of this attitude, how it came about?

    anita

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