15 February 2012

Quotes on Choosing Happiness by Elisabeth Kubler Ross


Our dear friend, Abby of Hi + Low, sent us some wonderful quotes from the writings of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist and teacher.  On the subject of choosing happiness, we thought these were perfect to share......

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“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.  Beautiful people do not just happen.”

― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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“There is within each one of us a potential for goodness beyond our imagining; for giving which seeks no reward; for listening without judgment; for loving unconditionally.” 

― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross 
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“There are no mistakes, no coincidences.  All events are blessings given to us to learn from.”

― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
              
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“It is very important that you only do what you love to do. You may be poor, you may go hungry, you may lose your car, you may have to move into a shabby place to live, but you will totally live.  And at the end of your days you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do. Otherwise, you will live your life as a prostitute, you will do things only for a reason, to please other people, and you will never have lived.  And you will not have a pleasant death.” 

― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.”

― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Aren't these so beautiful?  I can relate so much to these words.

I have a post or two coming up highlighting some people who have actively chosen happiness, despite their unfortunate circumstances.  It's the most empowering/beautiful thing any person could ever do.  And every time it happens, whether in a small or large way, it's a gift to the world.

Can you relate to these quotes?  Or do they remind you of someone in your life?
 

AND, if you have your own story that you'd like to share on the blog, email us (mara [at] ablogaboutlove.com).

18 comments:

  1. I very much want to believe that there are no mistakes and coincidences, only lessons learned. What I do know for sure is, any & all the pain I've felt has made me more compassionate. Thank you so much for this post.

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  2. Mara,
    Thanks you so much for this post and your blog.... I was listening to a talk by one of the general authorities the other day and in it he talks about how "men's hearts will start to fail them" unless we are actively using our faith and deciding to believe and choose to be happy. This blog helps me to do that! Love you!

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  3. that top quote got me through many confusing days. finding it in the thick of my darkness was essential to making sense out of all the questions.

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  4. Dear Mara,
    Thank you so much for all of your thoughts. I keep hoping that by reading your blog daily I'll be able to gain some positivity by osmosis. Seriously, I've probably read most of your posts at least twice, and a lot of them upwards of 5 times - there is always something I need to hear.
    I really like the top quote. I want so badly to turn my difficult circumstances into a beautiful and happy life. I want to have compassion and love for others. Instead, I find myself becoming more and more bitter and depressed.
    I understand that this amazing change in your life came about by choosing happiness and choosing to care about yourself, but how do you get to the point where you feel like you can choose those things? I don't know if that makes any sense, so I'll try to explain. I feel completely neglected in my marriage. I try not to compare my marriage with my friends' marriages, but it's so, so hard. They are mostly in more difficult financial circumstances than we are, yet they go on more dates than we do (the last time we went out without our daughter was in August). I just want my husband to care more about having time as a couple than he does about watching TV or whatever else happens to be a higher priority for him at the moment. He has pretty much checked out of our marriage but says I'd be a bad person for "destroying our marriage" if I were to leave him. If I try to do nice things for myself like replacing my old ratty clothes or getting a pedicure, I'm spending too much money on myself. If I were to buy flowers for myself because maybe it would brighten things up and make me feel happier, I'm "implying" that my husband isn't doing a good enough job (according to him). I just don't know what to do. I feel so boxed in because I feel like I'm stuck between feeling terrible about myself and making my husband upset.
    I'm sorry for venting. I don't have anyone I can talk to about this. I don't want my parents to think badly of him if things do get better, and my mother-in-law tries to give unsolicited advice to me but it's always just excuses for my husband...reasons why he can't do more than he is. I don't feel like I can talk to my bishop about it. I don't really feel comfortable with him. I don't want my friends to think badly of him either. I feel so alone.

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Hang in there! Don't give up hope. My motto has become "be better, not bitter" because Christ can make up the difference and carry us through our trials.

      Take Mara and Danny's suggestion of not taking things personally to heart. Try to recognize that your husband needs to grow, but you can find positive things about him and focus on those things. Don't belittle him, but recognize that he will hear your needs better when you speak from love and not bitterness.

      Blessings.

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    2. Anon - I can't pretend to know the answer to your specific question, I don't know all the circumstances and couldn't ever know enough to say whether one should stay or leave or what things will or will not work. I guess that's the point of so much of this blog...I would love for your situation to improve, I would love it if your husband treated you with more respect, if he was more caring and romantic, and I know you would too.

      But there are some things over which we have no control. You can't control your husband to get him to appreciate or respect you, any more than we can control our readers and make them see the world as we see it, and have them experience the very real joy that we've both experienced in the "worst" moments of our lives, and now in the best of them too. Trust me, I wish people could understand and apply all the things we talk about here. I believe it would change their lives for the better. But I can't control you or other readers, and you can't control your husband.

      But what I can do is do MY best. Mara and I can speak to each of you as though you are capable of growth, change, and improvement....because we really believe that YOU ARE! Our desire to help isn't conditional on whether or not anyone else changes or improves their lives...we do this because this is the best way we know how to live the life we talk about here.

      This is a really long way of making a simple point...you can't change your husband. He might change some day...but that's his choice and his alone. There's things you can do that might make it easier or more difficult for him, but even if you made it ridiculously easy for him to change and choose a better path, he may persist in this unhealthy life.

      Since you can't expect that your actions will change him, you are going to have to try to do what is right and good, simply for the sake of doing what is right and good. When you choose to love him, do not love him hoping he will change; love for the sake of love itself (it's much better than bitterness or hate). When you are patient with him, don't choose patience because maybe he'll see how wonderful and patient you are; choose patience for the sake of developing patience (because it's better than anxiety, impatience, a short temper, etc). When you choose to forgive him, don't do it so you can hold it over his head later and let him know how patiently you've born everything; forgive him for the sake of forgiveness itself (because it is better to be free from anger, grudges, etc). That's what we mean when we say you can control how you react, even if you can't control the circumstance.

      Be patient with yourself, it may come to you one little step at a time...but it will come to you. Do what is right for the sake of doing the right thing (instead of imagining it will change the circumstance or earn you the praise and respect of your husband). Let the satisfaction of acting honorably, patiently, lovingly, etc. be your reward....and trust me, when you learn to do it for those reasons, you'll experience more rewards on an internal and spiritual level than just "satisfaction". For me, it opened a whole new connection with God.

      You may notice that much of what I've shared with you, is really what the Sermon on the Mount is all about in Matthew 5. It's nothing new...it's not unique to Danny and Mara...it's the great message of every religion. I have confidence in you!

      I hope that anything I wrote is enlightening to you, even if it's only one sentence in this way too long comment, it will be worth it.

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    3. Dear Anon,
      It is absolutely true that your circumstances are far too complicated for someone to help you with over the internet. Talking to an objective, compassionate, experienced person may help a lot. Your parents or friends are too likely to want to defend you to be objective, but since everyone has problems in marriage, no wise person would judge either of you for having your own difficulties. Your Bishop or Relief Society Pres may be a good place to start, if you feel they are the type of person that can be objective and compassionate.They can help you decide if a professional therapist might be necessary, and perhaps figure out a way to make it happen if you are on a tight budget. Even if your husband refuses to go, seeing one yourself may help.
      I have no right or qualifications to offer any other advice, even though I am about to, so please take what I say with a grain of salt, and forgive me if I am totally off-base.
      It sounds like you and your husband have very different ideas about how to manage money, and that current money difficulties are making this a very painful and frustrating issue. Recording expenses and working out a monthly budget and financial plan can go a long way towards helping you both see eye to eye. Every couple should do this, so it is actually pretty generic advice, and can't hurt in any circumstance. If he refuses to do this with you, but continues to be critical of how you spend money, then you know you have the type of problem only a therapist can help with.
      Try reading some books that talk about communication in marriage and male/female relationships. I like Happily Forever After by Kim A Nelson, and You Just Don't Understand by author whose last name is Tannen. These types of books are good reading for anybody, and may help you bridge the gap between you and your husband.
      Finally, are there ways to feel good about yourself that don't cost money or rely on your husbands actions? If your self-esteem is low, new clothes or a pedicure are only temporary fixes. Exercise can help, not because you need to change your body, but just because it does amazing things for confidence and mood. The public library is an amazing resource for learning a new skill or field, there are all sorts of clubs out their for languages, cooking, astronomy, bike repair, public speaking etc etc that don't cost much at all (less than a new pair of pants). Maybe you could trade "lessons" of some type with a friend. Sign up for a service project. If your husband belittles these efforts to feel better even though they are practically free and apart from what he might do for you, then seeking outside help for your marriage or yourself is important.

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    4. Love what you wrote LM, and I thank you for adding that to the conversation. The things you suggested would be wise counsel for anyone, I certainly hope those who might benefit from professional counseling will seek it, and if for some reason that's not an option, I loved your list of cheap and free ideas. That's why I love our readers :) so very thoughtful Ne considerate and desirous to offer some help. Thanks!

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    5. Sage - Thank you so much for those thoughts. I'm going to remember that - "Better, not bitter." - and try to say that to myself when I'm starting to go down a negative path. It's true, Christ can make up the difference, but we have to allow it. I think I haven't been allowing Him to do that.

      Danny - Thank you for your thoughts as well. I'm going to have to review the Sermon on the Mount and really adjust my outlook. I think you're right, that choosing to be better for the sake of being better (instead of having something to rub in my husband's face later) will make me feel happier and ultimately give me clarity about my situation. You're right, that I can't control my husband's choices. I need to focus on my own. And as for the cheap or free ideas that LM suggested, I think maybe I'm going to start with reading. :) I'm trying to read the entire standard works this year but I think I want to add some marriage/life books like the ones you've mentioned before.

      LM - Thank you for your thoughts too. I really appreciated your list of cheap or free ideas for self-improvement. While our financial situation is better than it ever has been, I think [at least part of] the problem is that we have different financial priorities and maybe a more objective conversation about that will help. We've set up a budget in the past (when finances were more difficult) but maybe it's time to re-evaluate and re-assess how we handle that. I really liked your idea about trading "lessons" with friends - it's a good way to enjoy being around close friends while feeling like I'm doing something worthwhile for myself. I'm also going to check out those books you recommended. Between those and the other recommendations I've seen on this blog, there are a lot! It looks like I'm going to be busy for a while!

      As far as counseling goes, I've tried that in the past and it's been somewhat helpful but not entirely. We've done marriage counseling and I've done my own as well. We have had a lot of struggles due to other circumstances (wrong choices my husband has made) and I think I haven't fully been able to figure out how to allow the Atonement to work in my life and forgive him. In some ways it's a tough concept to grasp. We don't often talk in church about how the Atonement can help us to overcome sadness and pain that come from our loved ones' choices... it's usually about how the Atonement can help us gain forgiveness for our own choices. An old friend called me the same day that I posted my original message, out of the blue. She said she didn't know why but she felt like she should tell me some of what she and her husband have been going through. It's very similar to our problems. She told me that she has been attending a 12-step group through LDS Family Services and it has really helped her to feel the Lord's hand in her life. It's helped her to get through these challenges and learn how to apply the Atonement to heal the hurt inflicted by her husband's choices. She encouraged me to see if there is a program in our area (we live cross-country now), and there is. I think I'm going to try to attend, and if that doesn't work out I can at least read through the manual online.

      Anyway, sorry to be long-winded, but I'm feeling like I'm in a much better place now than I was a couple of days ago. I think it's because I've got some sort of "plan" for how to become happier on my own - it's so hard feeling helpless. I hope that I can be a good example for my husband, but if he continues to behave the same way, that's his choice. At least I can be strong and happy for myself and for our daughter. Thank you all so much. I feel like you all have been such a blessing to me, and I don't think I can adequately express how thankful I am for your words. So thank you!

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    6. Anon,

      I know this is reply is way later than your original post but I can't help but post because your words echoed my marriage five years ago. I am divorced now because of other choices my husband made that don't work for me in marriage but I can tell you are not alone in your feelings and I know how frustrating it can be to see other's seemingly perfect marriages, and how frustrating it can be when people say "be happy" one your own, as if it were that easy. everyone needs human connection and the most fulfilling way to experience intimate human connection is in marriage so it can be very lonely when you can't feel that in your marriage. I hope my words can offer even just a small once of peace or comfort.
      What comes to mind as I read your situation is that you will know in your heart what to do, you already do. when I found out about my husband's affair and pornography addiction i was so confused and lonely. I prayed that I would know what to do. Our words are very powerful. When i felt confused and didn't know what to do about my marriage, i started saying to myself "I will know when I know." (I was so worried I wouldn't even know what my heart was telling me.) 6 months later I knew in my heart what i had to do and i recognized by the peace i felt in my heart. i think this can apply to any situation. come up with a positive affirmation or mantra.
      Also you can not do this alone. reach out. I did the same as you because I didn't want others to think badly of him. But you deserve to have a friend and to talk to. talking and expressing your feelings openly and honestly is a very healing process. And as you do you will find you are not alone. many of those other seemingly happy marriages have trials too and you may even find someone else might benefit from talking to you. I wish more than anything we could all drop our perfection facades and be real and authentic. You are not getting that connection in your marriage. you need to reach out to someone (of your same sex of course, :) sister, or friend)
      the last thing i feel impressed is to tell you the highest vibration will be honored. that is to say, everything has energy: your thoughts, words, actions etc. as your raise your energy to a more positive level vibration your husband will either adjust his energy with you or not. that is his choice. but when that does happen you will have your answer. I love the ideas above. fall in love with your self again. remember those times when you felt happiest? incorporate those things back into your life.

      my heart aches for you as I have been there. honestly if you need a friend even just to listen, I am available. email me. :)

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  5. Thanks for sharing these quotes. Some of them definitely resonate with me, especially the first one.

    I'm not sure I agree with the mistakes and coincidences quote. Of course there are mistakes (by us or other people) and coincidences. I don't believe that everything happens for a reason. Some things just happen. I do, however, believe that how react to those things is what is important. In fact, it is not just important, but ESSENTIAL to who we are. Thinking that everything happens for a reason leaves us searching our brain for the "reason" things happened instead of concentrating our efforts and energy on what we're going to do about it.

    And for the "doing what you love" quote, sometimes we have to do things we don't love. I have to support my family financially and make sure we have health insurance. Leaving my job to do what I love would be irresponsible, because doing what I love would not cover rent or provide health insurance. BUT I have found that I am happier when I put effort into loving what I do (since I can't change it) and then put aside some time in the evenings and weekend to do what I love.

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    1. Molly, great insights on your part regarding those statements you disagree with...I pretty much agree with you on both of your exceptions. I guess the reason why I didn't mind the first one was she added the caveat "All events are blessings given to us to learn from.” That's the part I agree with 100%, which makes me think the original author might agree with you too.

      As for the second objection (might be too strong of a word), I also agree with you that our responsibilities have to enter into consideration. In which case, the attitude you suggested is very important. For example, maybe instead of loving what you do, you love "why" you do it...which is because it provides for your family.

      In all, very well said and I appreciate your insights!

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    2. Agreed. "Objections" seems like too strong of a word, but you get it. Not bad concepts in any sense, but not exactly how I see it. Love the "loving WHY you do it" concept. Yes, I love why I do it!

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  6. I'm totally loving that first quote!

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  7. This is an awesome blog! I am surrounded by those who choose to be Triumphant! please do take the time to check out the website www.lillammlappies.com it was created after we struggled with the death of our sweet Chloe, she was only 1. We keep her near us in each blanket we create! Keep on spreading the Love........It matters!
    Teressa
    Lil' Lamm

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  8. thanks for sharing.. awesome blog.. and good quote

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  9. What a post! I absolutely like this one:

    There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.

    Earlier, I used to fret over my mistakes and lost opportunities. This quote helped me refashion my views and see the world in another light.

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  10. Very beautiful quotes. I like the first one very much... Thanks for sharing....

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