The bulk of Happy School Advanced is now completed. This week, I have only one more idea to communicate to help you in your battle for a life of joy. I have given you every ounce of knowledge that I have on this subject. If I learn something new that will help you, I will email it to you. I hope that as you implement all these new strategies and lessons, you will take charge of your emotions by taking charge of your thoughts. Then you will have a new level of zest, peace, and well-being. My prayer is that you enjoy your life.
Next week is our final email, Week 12. In it, I will send you my list for the Top 10 Best Strategies for Your Fight for Joy.
One Last Thought:
More on Dealing with Adversity and Obstacles
Adversity and obstacles happen to everyone but there are definitely wise ways to think about them. We have already discussed these topics extensively, but below are two more important ideas that will help you think about the difficult issues in your life.
#1. People can learn to be reasonably happy with unfortunate experiences.
It is common to think, “If situation X happens, I won’t be able to take it.” If you lose your eyesight or become permanently disabled, it is unfortunate and exceptionally handicapping but you can still have a good deal of enjoyment in life. There’s still an option for living and enjoying life. This is a mindset.
There’s a scene in Downton Abbey where one of the main characters, Edith, gets left at the altar. Of course, this humiliation would cause many brides to feel they could never recover. Edith is sobbing on her bed and her mother says to her, “It’s a test; it will make you stronger.” What a positive interpretation! As you find out in the final episodes, the mother was right. But life does not always turn out as rosy as it did for Edith.
My great-grandmother lost a three-year-old (around 1900) because the child ate a poisonous green apple. I don’t think there is a better example of true love in the world than how mothers love their little children. I can’t even imagine having lost one of my little ones, or now, my precious little toddler grandchildren. My grandmother used to say, “My mother (my great-grandmother) never got over it.” What she meant was that my great-grandmother never really enjoyed life again. She never recovered. I understand this, as the pain to me, seems overwhelming and almost unfixable.
I haven’t had to deal with this particular trial personally, but many women have. At some point—some point—people decide if they are going to move on and quarantine the pain. Eventually, we all must accept hard circumstances.
My other grandmother lost an 8-year-old son to appendicitis in the early 1930s. I remember asking her how she got through that, as this is the grandmother who played cards with us, baked cookies, fished, and loved to have fun. I can see her at the kitchen table in my mind right now saying, “Not my will, but Thine.” There is a certain acceptance we all have to embrace about everything that happens to us.
I am not trying to make light of the most difficult things in life. But I want you to know that you have a choice of how to think about everything. Of course we grieve when we are thrown down by these unthinkables. But eventually, we must make a choice to accept our lot and to re-enter life, focusing on how we love and give to others. Otherwise, we isolate and our inner person decays.
You can learn to apply optimistic interpretations to your circumstances. The person with a negative explanatory style always says, “It’s really bad and it’s never going to change.” Listen to your Parade that Marches across Your Brain (your self-talk) and catch yourself saying these things. Only about 10% of your happiness is dependent on your external circumstances. Your happiness is relative to a scale you’ve created. Situations are only upsetting if you construe them to be.
I am certainly not trying to be harsh about these most horrendous circumstances, but I do want to remind you that it’s your own mind that causes you the most distress. We all have to endure a measure of hardship and misery. Life is a lifetime of saying goodbyes. You’ll have some heartbreaking things but you will also have a host of many good things. Adversity happens, but determine you will get on top of it in your mind.
#2. Difficulties are often blessings in disguise.
Goliath was the opposition, but it got David the throne. Train yourself to see opportunity inside every obstacle. God is your help. Persevere in prayer until there is a break. We don’t have much time for a heartache because we have purpose and marching orders.
Release your worries into God’s care at some point. Quit telling yourself that your obstacles are too big. Other people have had the same trials. Some chose to be buried by them, and some chose to riseabove them. You decide. Nehemiah 2:8 says that “the King granted me this request because the gracious hand of God was upon me.” Ask God to lay His gracious hand upon you.
Jesus said, “Do not let your heart be troubled” (John 14:1). The Greek word is ταρασσέσθω (tarassesthō) which means, stop being troubled. That’s pretty loud that Jesus commands us to stop being troubled. I know this is difficult, but you can learn to replace, refute, and reframe your negative thoughts.
Instead of negativity, expect breakthroughs, favor, and blessing. Expect doors to open, opportunity to cross your path, and people to show up. Expect miracles, rescues, and for God to make crooked places straight. This is how loving Fathers show up for their children. This is not some pie-in-the-sky prosperity thinking. This is biblical, New Testament, everyday Christian thinking. Why are you letting the Enemy tell you anything else? This is merely hearing from your Heavenly Father, believing Him, standing on His promises, and walking by faith. There’s no other way to have joy and to live on top of your circumstances, but to trust the LORD with your impossibles. “With God, all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).
Adversity does not predict one’s happiness. Use the tools you have learned in the last 10 lessons to handle your mind. Your mind and your thoughts are the huge predictor of your happiness.
I know there has been an avalanche of information in the last few weeks in these lessons. If you have gone through the material, you might want to consider taking a small group of others through the material, as the best way to learn anything is to teach it. The study guide to Happy School will be released soon but all of the lessons are currently available on my website, JulieNGordon.com, under the Happy School Advanced tab.
As I said last week, if there’s any way possible, I would so appreciate an honest review of the book, Happy School. I understand it takes time to leave a review so I’m trying to make it easy. You can click HERE and it will take you to Amazon where you can leave a review. It would mean a lot to me.
Next week, I will send you what I believe are the Top 10 Best Strategies for Your Fight for Joy.
To your happy heart,