Originally published March 8, 2018. Updated August 15, 2018.
I’m always amazed how I can read the same quote at different points in my life and have a completely different interpretation of it. Let’s use this Marilyn Monroe quote as an example:
“She was a girl who knew how to be happy even when she was sad. And that’s important.”
At different times in my life this quote holds different meanings. After my brother killed himself I was devastated. It took all my energy not to cry every moment of the day. This went on for months, years. I had to make a concerted effort to appear happy, or at least not a sobbing shell of a human. At that time in my life, this quote made me feel proud of the fact that I was able to look “normal” when I was experiencing intense grief. I thought that by looking and acting like I was ok that I would start to be ok. If I pretended to be happy I might eventually feel happiness again.
Later in life, this quote found meaning for me in regards to dating. My boyfriend and I were fighting about something before we had to go a wedding together. I didn’t want friends at the wedding to know we were fighting and was considering just not attending at all. Feeling upset I turn to my quotes and come across this one. On this day, the quote reminded me that I should not avoid an event I want to attend simply because someone I don’t like at the moment is there. This quote reminded me that I can still participate in happy events even if I am not feeling happy at that moment.
Fast forward to today and the quote means something else. Today I read this quote and am reminded that it is important to realize that you can be happy and sad at the same time. Twelve years have passed since Andrew’s suicide and I’m still in pain grieving for him – but now I’m also happy and passionate about countless other things. I’m not less sad per se, but I am ALSO happy. I used to think I had to be one or the other. The quote also reminds me that I am not defined by my feelings. I am not a sad person, a happy person, an anxious person – I am a person and I have a wide range of feelings that happen at the same time.
In each chapter of my life the same words had different meanings for me. As I changed – so did my perspective. This is what I love about collecting quotations. Of course they can be inspiring and motivational – but looking now at quotes I collected a decade ago I am fascinated by how differently the words impact me.
As a woman in recovery – mental health, addiction – it is imperative that I remain mindful of the thoughts I’m having and how they impact my behavior. The words I read and hear have immense impact on my thinking and actions. I need to remain cognizant of what I expose myself to and how I respond to it.
That is why I collect and share quotations on Functional Rustic. My quotes provide me with the mindset I need to start each day. I read them every morning until I feel motivated. Sometimes it just takes one or two – sometimes I’m reading hundreds. However, this habit of reading intentionally positive content first thing in the day has been instrumental in developing healthier behaviors.
Lesson of the Day: What you see is determined by what you look for.
Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic
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