“If you are going through hell, keep going.” ― Winston S. Churchill It hurts. It gets old. It’s a dull pain one day and a sharp pain the next. Getting through the bad times wears you down and shapes you at the same time. You can’t see your way out and you’re convinced they will […]
A quote from Demelza by Winston Graham. “He sighed and put her hand against his cheek. It was not a disconsolate sigh, for her returning life was a tonic to his soul. Whatever she suffered, whatever loss came to her, she would throw it off, for it was not in her nature to go under…..But chiefly it was because some element had put in her nature to be happy. She was born so and could not change.”Are we born with a certain personality? We all know people who always seem to be happy regardless of their circumstances and there are people who are always depressed and sad. Do we come into this world one way or the other with no hopes of changing? Clearly Ross believes Demelza was born with a happy disposition and could not change. He believes he has her opposite disposition with a perpetually pessimistic outlook.
I’ve read so many books about this very topic. You can find a book to support both positions but now many experts agree that our outlook on life is a combination of our inborn personality and life experiences. I can attest to this. My sister and I are two years apart but on the opposite ends of optimism and pessimism. Wish I could say I was the lucky one with the natural sunny outlook but I’m not. I have to work everyday to have a positive outlook and believe the best is ahead of me.
Reading Ross and Demelza’s story resonates with me. It reminds me they we do have a choice on how we perceive our life and a choice to how we react and proceed forward when things don’t go our way. This is why I titled my blog Living Like Demelza. I want to work towards living with Demelza’s spirit and attitude in my own life.
“We envy a man for something he has and yet the truth may be he hasn’t got it after all and we have.” Francis Poldark PBS
We live in a world where the message is what you have isn’t enough. We are taught we need to be ambitious, make more money, attain a higher status, just get more. But does stuff and more money make us happy? Does it make us envy our friends and neighbors more or less? Do we ever reach a point when we’ve reached the pinnacle of success and feel satisfied or are we on some endless road?
I think the character Francis Poldark from the Winston Graham book series Poldark’s worcs ring just as true now as when Mr. Graham wrote them and also when Francis was supposed to have said them in the late 1700s. People don’t change. Status whether it’s brought by money, a beautiful wife, a big house or a successful business is a temporary fix for what we all desire on a deeper level.
Things are temporary. Jobs are temporary. Relationships can be shallow. Money comes and goes. But what if while we are so busy acquiring and envying others we miss the joy we already have in our lives? Studies have proven money doesn’t make us happy. It makes us comfortable and offers security on one level. I understand how devastating it can be to lose financial security. I’ve lost all the financial security I had when I divorced. I understand how devastating job loss and loss of a relationship can be. I was married for 30 years only to be tossed aside. It hurt. It still does. I see my friends’ lives and the security they still have. I feel envious. I feel cheated. I feel angry that my ex could discard me and our daughters like yesterday’s trash.
But what I’ve realized is that if I spend my time envying the life I had, the lives of my friends then I cheat myself out of recognizing the blessings and joys that I have in my life now. I have close and loving relationships with my daughters and son-in-law. I’ve learned who my true friends are and that the appearance of happiness doesn’t mean they are happy. I have peace of mind. I no longer wonder in what new way my ex husband was going to betray me and hurt me. I’ve learned I’m strong.
So Francis is right. We’ve had it all along.
How do you know that one choice can change your life?
Will it be a choice that leads to happiness?
Or will it bring heartache and sorrow?
One choice only to realize you discarded 999 others.
999 other choices which would lead you to a different life.
A better life?
A happier life?
A life without pain and grief?
A life filled with loved ones who love you in return?
Another choice may not give you your precious daughters.
Another choice might not give you loving friends.
Another choice may be full of poverty
Poverty of the mind, heart and soul.
one made each day
always leading us where we go
and 999 other left unexplored
Opening and closing doors.