You're always happy. How do you do it?

23 May 2014

I've been struggling recently with 2 different sets of feelings that adversely affect my mood.

1) A sense of injustice and pain over some things that have been said and done to me.

2) Feelings of guilt over things that I have said or done unwisely; choices that I have made and regretted.

Each time I think I've put them to bed they seem to come lurking back.

I've been reading a brilliant book recently "Light between Oceans" by M L Stedman, a story about a young man, Tom, returning home to Western Australia after WW1, burdened with memories of the terrible things he has seen and been forced to do.

In the book one of the characters, Hannah, recalls a conversation with her husband:

Hannah to her husband Frank: "But how? How can you just get over these things darling? You've had so much strife but you're always happy. How do you do it?"

Frank : "Because I choose to. I can leave myself to rot in the past, spend my time hating people for what happened, like my father did, or I can forgive and forget."

Hannah: "But it's not easy."

Frank. "Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things. I would have to make a list, a very very long list, and make sure I hated the people on it the right amount. That I did a proper job of hating, too: very Teutonic! No," his voice became sober, "We always have a choice. All of us."

That's it, isn't it? We may not choose the circumstance or how we feel immediately when it happens, but we can choose how we feed our responses. It may not be easy, but it is so much better for us.

As Tom said "I've learned the hard way that to have any kind of a future you've got to give up hope of ever changing your past."


A Moodscope member.

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