A friend and reader of TMG whom I met a couple of months ago at the King George County Farmers Market sent me a wonderful Thanksgiving card wishing me a harvest of happiness.
I was delighted with the wording of that card — it’s not what you usually see — and I couldn’t help but think a lot about it. Exactly how does a harvest of happiness come about?
To begin with — my happiness didn’t start in my childhood home. I remember thinking from a very young age that I would never be happy. And I thought on that even more so when I was in college.
I guess that’s what you think when you’re unhappy, fairly new on the earth, and don’t have any information to prove that incorrect. Without guidance and direction (and I would imagine sometimes even with guidance) — you think your unhappy state is a permanent one.
How Parents are Able to Make a Difference
Although most things are never without exception, parents are — overall — able to make a big difference in whether or not a child will be able to be happy as an adult.
Making it harder
Constant criticism from a parent can cause severe loss of dignity, confidence and self esteem—- making it harder for the child now and in years to come. Many — including myself — spend years trying to undo the damage done by a parent — even if it’s done out of ignorance.
The opposite can cause just as much harm. Making the child think he/she is never wrong. Lack of guidance and no stand on moral issues and behavior issues when needed. Giving the child everything YOU want it to have and/or everything they want. Showering so much attention on the child that they grow to feel they’re the center of the universe and should be.
Making it easier
Every child needs firm guidelines. That’s one of the responsibilities of a parent in raising mentally healthy and capable children.
But one of the most important things a parent can do is recognize and respect their child as an individual. Every child needs to be listened to and recognized as an individual even if you may not agree with what they think or feel.
Listening, showing love, concern, and understanding — while at the same time guiding and correcting — is about the most wonderful thing you can do for your child.
The Point of Taking Responsibility for Your Own Actions
Then of course, everyone reaches a point in their life that no matter what their upbringing —- they have to take responsibility for their own actions. Again — this can be quite an undertaking if you haven’t been trained this way.
I was very fortunate to marry someone who — in spite of his childhood — and the problems it caused — had great strength of character to get through and help me get through and over the many hurdles put before us. (Sometimes I think I was my own greatest problem. Like what Pogo said — ” We have met the enemy — and they is us!”.)
Great volumes no doubt have been written on this very topic. But in my mind happiness can be achieved by focusing on just a few principles.
Two of the Principles that lead toward that Harvest of Happiness
- In my opinion, if you can recognize and come to terms with the great power that is in the universe —- it’s a great starting point. To recognize there are universal laws of cause and effect is most helpful. If you break these laws— you’ll pay the penalty. If you follow them you’ll reap the rewards. That’s just the way it is. Our universe is a universe of order. That knowledge gives you guidelines to work within and faith to know you will achieve happiness. You’ll be aware more than ever that you can (and will) reap what you sow.
An easy example of breaking a universal law would be over-spending and borrowing money without the ability to repay. Universal law dictates that sooner or later the price must be paid in one way or the other. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the one who is borrowing and not repaying will sooner or later be controlled by the lender. Either that — or the lender will take everything the borrower has as payment.
Anything you can do to get out of debt and stay out of debt is definitely in your best interest. If you need to do without — do it.
- Another simple thing — but a powerful one — is to think on what you want, what you can do, and all good things. I have found this to be tremendously powerful.
The opposite is also tremendously powerful — but unfortunately brings results you don’t want. So when you think of ill health rather than good health you are more than likely to end up with ill health. When you think of all you can’t do — for whatever reason —- rather than what you can do — you are more than likely to end up doing less.
And when you think of all the bad things there are to think of — it clouds your existence —- and it does no good whatsoever. It only takes you down and you think more and more of those things. It takes you further and further towards the bad things you don’t want.
When you think of good things and focus only on those —- it makes it possible for you to do much more to help yourself, your mate, your children, your friends and the world.
Unfortunately, over my lifetime, I’ve experienced both ways so I have proof of the results of each. Both ways work. One focus takes you the wrong way and the other focus takes you the right way. Your focus determines your outcome.
Comes from Within
Happiness comes from within. Having your basic needs provided for is wonderful and it certainly contributes to happiness. But there are those who have all their needs met and more — and still are not happy.
An Everyday Task
Just like most people — I have to make a concentrated effort each day to think on the good. To focus on what I want and what I can do. I haven’t gotten it down 100% yet. On a bad day — I can be far from the mark. But I’m working on it.
I can say that I’ve come a long way from the severe depression of the past. I now want to live my life to the full, be courageous, help myself, be a better wife, and a friend to my fellow man when it’s possible.
I have harvested happiness.
My wish for you —in the words of the card I received from my friend — I “hope every moment of your Thanksgiving holiday (and beyond) holds a harvest of happiness for you!”
Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient —- and its a lot healthier.
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