Saturday, April 5, 2008

Finding the Right Life Frame

Similar to the way a photo or a painting looks far better in the right frame, the frame through which we look at our situations can enhance or diminish our happiness. I know this, but like many people, I sometimes look down on people who are so positive, that they annoyingly refuse to face their stark realities. However, research supports the finding that people who see the glass as half full, in fact, lead happier lives.

I have a fantastic example to illustrate this paradigm. Many people are well aware of my reluctance to be living out here in the boondocks. For the sake of argument, let's call this village Podunk, USA. This is why Podunk, USA, is not the place I want to be:

1. It is in the middle of nowhere; I hate long drives and gasoline is expensive.
2. There is little international flavor.
3. I have no social life.
4. This town is clique-ish and I am not part of the in-group.
5. Cultural events happen, but not that often.
6. Job opportunities are scarce.
7. The schools are not very good.
8. It's boring.
9. It's an 8-hour drive to see family.
10. I seldom get to speak Spanish.

However, as Carrie pointed out yesterday, this is the perfect place to write a dissertation, which is by far my most important project at this moment (thank you, Nellie, for reminding me!!!!). It is perfect right now because:

1. I have no social life.
2. The extremely helpful ECU library is two blocks away.
3. I have a fulfilling part-time job.
4. I can ride my bike to work.
5. There are few distractions.
6. It's a low-cost place to live.
7. My children see their father often.
8. The ECU gym is three blocks away and has a wonderful pool.
9. It's boring.
10. I have few friends, but they are extremely supportive.

If you're unhappy about a situation, see if you can reframe it to see the benefits. Otherwise, see if you can change it.

Remember this prayer: God, help me to change the things I need to change. Help me to accept the things I cannot change. Grant me the wisdom to know the one from the other. Amen.