A Personal Commandment for Happiness: Dig Deep.

I have my Twelve Personal Commandments that I try to live by, and I love hearing what other people have chosen for their commandments. On the Happiness Project Toolbox, it’s possible to read what other people have listed, and I spend far too much time reading what’s posted there.

I also like hearing what my friends have chosen for their personal commandments. A good friend has a terrific list of her own four commandments, and the one that struck a chord with me was to “Dig deep.” One of the interesting things about commandments is that I usually don’t have to ask someone to explain what it means. It means something to me, even if that might be different from what the creator meant.

The minute I heard “Dig deep,” I knew what it meant for me. I needed to dig deep with my children.

Take the other morning. It started out well, and I kept my resolution to Sing in the morning. I woke up an hour early so I’d have time to myself before everyone else got up. I did the evening tidy-up the night before.

But in the morning, my ten-year-old started fussing, telling me that she didn’t have anything to wear – and we bought a few things less than a week ago! Eventually she got dressed, and we left the house to walk to school. She had cheered up, but then my four-year-old acted crabby and whiny, for no good reason.

I did NOT handle this well. My fuse is especially short in the morning; it also seems like my children are at their least charming in the morning.

I kept reminding myself, “Dig deep, dig deep!” I’d take a deep breath, and say something cheerful, but then I’d snap again. But everything worked out eventually. We dropped my older daughter off at school, my younger daughter saw a dog dressed in a sweater, and peace was restored.

But it was rough there for a while. Controlling my quick irritation and my sharp tongue is something I struggle to do every day – but I know that if can’t yell and snap my way toward the loving, peaceful, tender atmosphere that I want. Dig deep, dig deep.

The days are long, but the years are short.