I have worried about being a success for a long time. In fact, I often fret the most when I am actually succeeding at some difficult situation in my life. How odd is that? I suppose it’s a combination of my own rampant perfectionism as a young woman, and my parents expectations when I was a child. Abraham-Hicks offers an affirmation today which fits perfectly here:
The standard of success in life isn’t the things. It isn’t the money or the stuff. It is absolutely the amount of joy that you feel.
Excerpted from the workshop in Lincroft, NJ on Tuesday, October 15th, 1996, #641
I wish I could tattoo this affirmation on the signing hand of every person who is cruising stores, buying stuff that makes each of them feel more like a success. And if that person buys a very rare object or service, he or she may believe she is more successful than people she knows. The employee who is selected for a promotion feels like a winner. Thinking herself a winner is a dangerous thing to do, because she runs the risk of thinking of others as losers by comparison.
I was intimately connected with the ideas of right and wrong since I was a young child, and I adopted a perfectionist attitude, which plagues me still. For mistakes, I was sometimes punished, sometimes told that I was bad, sometimes disappointed one or the other of my parents. Of course, this was in the early sixties, and there were no self-esteem concerns, no “you are good but what you did is bad,” none of the focus on the way children’s feelings shape their adult behavior. I believe my parents raised me, and my siblings, the best way they knew. When someone is dong their best, I’ve finally learned, I can’t expect more.
Almost all of the common definitions of the word success fail a test against the idea of this affirmation. Abraham tells us the same idea the author of the bible said: I can’t take it with me. But Abraham adds another aspect; having those material possessions or the regard of others, in this life, doesn’t even make us successful. The way to do that is to surround ourselves in contentment and happiness; to live each minute with joy.
Joy for who we are — no matter who we are, or what we’ve done or thought or said; joy for how we live — in relation to our opinions of ourselves, and of others; and joy, for what we want, as Abraham’s Law of Attraction says. Like draws itself unto itself. If we are joyful, more and more joy will flow into our lives, touching every part of our existence, strengthening every decision, and infecting the way we look at each other and the world. Yes, infecting. Wouldn’t joy be a lovely condition to catch? and wouldn’t we want it to be contagious?
Of course, in the same way, unhappiness draws itself to itself as well. The Law of Attraction applies equally in all directions, including polar opposites. I have been very unhappy at times, and that unhappiness didn’t make me receptive to joy. It made me receptive of more sadness, even despair.
My life and my spirit operate in these vicious cycles most of the time.
Imagine if I booked a vacation on a cruise ship, thinking that the voyage proves I live a life of leisure, and am able to splurge. I might embark on this spiritual cruise feeling pretty good about myself, that I deserve this indication of my success in the world. There I sit, in a chaisse lounge on the sky deck, tanning and being served by handsome waiters. But if I am upset because of how much the trip cost, or unhappy with my cabin, or jealous of others in even better accommodations than I; if I don’t like the food, and locked every possession away for fear that a chambermaid will steal it, all of the Margaritas and handsome cruise staff aren’t going to make me happy.
Instead, if I am on the same cruise, and I saved and scaped for a year to get here, and I’ve been anticipating the fun I will have on the cruise, I am happy and satisfied and fulfilled, just stepping onto the deck. Even if I am sleeping in the smallest bunk in the bowels of the ship, even if I’m not allowed to walk on the sky deck at all, I will most likely find all kinds of pleasure anyway, because that is what I expect to find. I am served the same Margarita, by a slightly less physically-appealing waiter, (who is the friendliest man on the ship; he will stop and answer my questions, and not look down his nose at the fact that I have never cruised before.) I chat easily with the strangers at my dinner table, until they become onboard friends. I am happy, and my joy brings me more joy and wonder with every nautical mile.
Which me do I want to be here? I have experienced the latter, and had more fun than I dreamed I could. I have not experienced being the former, but I have been in other circumstances in which I carried my unhappiness with me, and became more frustrated and sad with every minute.
Most people likely fall somewhere between these two extremes on the spectrum of joy. But almost everyone has a positive, or a negative overall attitude and approach to life. The trick is knowing that, no matter how hard I try, my negativity will not bring positives into my life. But if I can only discover a Glass-Half-Full outlook on my life, I will be open to every chance at happiness that comes along.
Think again about me on the sky deck. I am unhappy, and frustrated, over little situations on the boat, and over those at home. But as I sit on my chaisse lounge, looking out over the ocean, I begin to notice how lovely is this little piece of the globe, and I smile. I have begun the journey back to satisfaction, to joy and wonder. All I needed to do was recognize one thing around me that made me feel good. The Law of Attraction takes over from there.
I remember times in my life when nothing looked good; when everything that happened to me was a reflection of my sadness and depression. I wanted to be happy, with all of my heart and spirit, but I just couldn’t get there. Now though, after fighting my own unhappiness for so long, I have turned the corner. I have found my joy. My glass is always half-full, or more; even great sadness and anger, which I have felt in the last year or so, cannot hold out forever against my underlying belief that everything is okay. What a change!
The Law of Attraction operates in all of our lives. The big question is, what are you attracting — unhappiness or joy.