Monday, December 14, 2015

Happiness in the Home

One of the things that seems to most impress people about our family is the happiness that is so evident among us.  Despite the fact that our 8 children come from 8 different places with most of them having painful backgrounds they still radiate happiness and joy to others, and despite the fact that like most marriages we have had our own share of problems to deal with we are still best friends, always happiest when we are together.

How have we taken the 10 of us, all from VERY different backgrounds, and melded us together into one big happy family (note I didn't say perfect, that's not possible - but we really are quite happy overall!)?  There is no one answer to this question, it is a combination of factors, but perhaps the biggest factor is that we learned to remove all negativity from our life.

Have you heard of the new trend known as the "KonMari" method based upon the bestseller book titled "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo?  The book is about organizing and simplifying your life based upon one important concept - keep only the things which spark joy to you.  If an item does not spark joy then it should not take up space in your life.

This is a GREAT technique for decluttering your home, but the amazing thing is this same concept can be applied in other areas of your life also - the activities that occupy your time, the places you go, and even your relationships with other people.  The bottom line - if it doesn't spark joy, it doesn't belong in your life.

Life is too short to waste any time dealing with people who bring negative emotions into your life.  Regardless of how much you may love a person, how much you may WANT to have a relationship with them, or what your connection is to them, if they are not a POSITIVE part of your life then they don't belong in it.  The choice is up to them - either be a positive part of your life, or don't be a part of your life at all.

So what happens when someone invades the happiness in our home with negativity?  Well, we have found the best response is no response.  Even if the person is completely wrong in their beliefs, words, or actions towards us, we do not respond. Perhaps it comes from our admiration for the Amish, perhaps it's our own beliefs, or perhaps we just don't want to fool with the inevitable argument.  Regardless, we have found if someone truly wants to be a part of our lives, and if they have a complaint about us, they will approach us out of love and with a willingness to solve the problem.  A person who attacks without seeking to find the truth isn't really interested in our family anyway.

As an example, last year we were involved in a situation in which someone said something wrong about us to someone else, which in turn led that someone else to react with negativity towards us.  We were both shocked and hurt at what happened.  We considered defending ourselves, but in the end we just backed away.  After all, of those that were turning against us, NOT.A.SINGLE.ONE bothered to ask for our side of the story.  Had they really cared about us instead of lashing against us based on the words of someone else, they would have approached us with an attitude of openness and love, e.g. "So-and-so said this about you, and it really bothered me, but I wanted to get your side of the story before I made any judgements against you."

Our family is way too precious to let negativity have a place in our lives.  It hurts when those we love and care about us cause us pain, but in order to keep the happiness in our family we have to let them go, no matter whether they are a friend we cared deeply for or a family member for whom we have an unconditional love.  We will continue to pray for them and pray for a restoration of our relationship with them, we'll continue to love them, but we will love them from a distance.  In the end, it's not that we're keeping certain people out of our lives.  It's that we're keeping negativity out of our lives.
These kids, and their siblings, are way too precious and wonderful to waste our time dealing with negativity!

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