Second Verse, Same as the First

May 7, 2017

I know some extraordinarily happy people and some who are perpetually grouchy and out of sorts. Both groups are comprised of folks who have had their hearts broken, experienced financial ups and downs, worried over the health of someone they love, and been treated unfairly. None have been immune to the discomfort of second-guessing some of their most important life decisions. All have experienced loss of one kind or another. None were raised by perfect parents. And all have been disappointed by somebody and have been the source of someone else’s disappointment.

Despite their shared difficult human experiences, the people in the first group live mostly joyfully while the others seem willfully mired in muck. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

My take on the difference between Jilly Joyful and Debbie Downer is that JJ understands her happiness is in her own hands. She gets that for better or worse, she’s actively creating her reality. She knows to listen to and honor her Voice Within and trusts it will unwaveringly lead her in the right direction. She also understands that her Voice Within speaks most clearly through her emotions, so she not only trusts what she feels, but purposefully reaches for the very best feelings. Finally, she understands her vibration, whether high or low, will attract its matches, so she welcomes and celebrates all the good she draws, which then multiplies exponentially and lifts her even further upward.

DD, on the other hand, runs a continuous loop of her most difficult moments in her head and submerges herself in the pool of their pain. She’s mentally catalogued every slight, every misstep, and every hurt feeling from childhood to the present. Decades after the event, she holds onto the anger and humiliation she felt when her high school boyfriend dumped her at their prom. She’ll tell you about the coworkers just itching to stab her in the back. She sees danger and hatred everywhere and if you point out the good stuff, she’ll swear you’re delusional or are simply not paying attention. She believes herself to be unlucky, maybe even unlovable, and regularly cites what she sees as proof. She simultaneously clings to and resents these beliefs. As bad as they make her feel, to let them go would be, in her view, to misrepresent her life, to let her offenders off the hook, and to deny reality.

Observation of both JJ and DD shows us some pretty fabulous things: They are both getting lots and lots of exactly what they dwell on, of exactly what they reach for, what they expect. For both, the second verse is the same as the first. The stories they tell themselves about life and love and happiness become their realities, and the more those stories are repeated, the more deeply ingrained they become in the operating systems of their tellers. This continues unless they change it.

None of us live positively all the time. We gripe and worry, place blame and point fingers. Our human experiences can feel so real that we forget the truth of who we are and begin to act as though we are these vessels of flesh.

Kids love to dress in costumes and play make-believe games. They sometimes get so carried away in their creative play that they feel they are tigers or princesses or fire-breathing dragons. What we do when we get lost in our humanness is much the same. We lose sight of who we are—spirit or source or whatever word you’re comfortable with—and instead believe ourselves to be these bodies we’re wearing.

So how do we make the very best of our human experience? To enjoy our time on this creativity playground? We remember that we’re free to think whatever thoughts we want. We’re free to use our wonderful guidance system—our feelings—to lead us to the thoughts that feel good. Then we follow the trail of happy feelings, hopping from one to the next, and fill our days with love and fun and connectedness. And we remember that our playtime here is limited. Sooner or later dusk will come and it’ll be time to go home, so we’d be wise to make the most of every delicious minute.

So go on, now. Scoot. Go out and play.





~*~ Today’s image courtesy of pexels ~ Free and fabulous. ~*~




  1. Reply


    Another winner my friend. I truly hope that once the dust settled on my darker times, I have tried to put the hurt and anger aside and move on. Not always easy…but as you wrote, our happiness is up to us to either embrace or stay in that rut. I much prefer laughter and love over anger and wearing the sash and crown for Queen of the Pity Party Patrol! This was wonderful my friend!
    BTW…if you feel that I am doing a DD, you have my permission to kick my butt!

    1. Reply


      Tai, I’ve known you for a very long time, through lots of joy and plenty of pain. I’ve told you this before, but one of the (many!) wonderful things about you is your ability to focus forward. You meet your challenges with courage and faith and when something is behind you, you leave it there. More than that, I’ve seen you cherry-pick the good parts of painful times and relationships and consciously choose to carry just those parts forward, which isn’t always easy to do. You’re all sorts of fabulous, but you have my word, if you turn into a DD, I’ll issue the but-kicking. 😀

      Oh, and please do the same for me.

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    Very well done! Totally agree, I would be a JJ myself, feel bad for those that are DD is really sad. Love you lady <3

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      You’re definitely a JJ, Jul! You are one of the most positive people I’ve ever seen, despite having reasons to get all DD if you wanted to. You pretty much never complain and you see and celebrate the beauty in yourself, in others, and in all of life. You really do rock! Sending you lots of love.

  3. Reply


    So true!

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  4. Reply

    Malcolm R. Campbell

    I suspect DD gets more of the same by looking long and hard at what she’s already gotten.

    1. Reply


      For sure. I always want to suggest to the DDs to try reaching for a feeling just a smidge above wherever they normally dwell. Not some rosy-posy joyful positivity since that would surely be beyond their current ability, but maybe the teeniest drop of better feeling. Even that could change their trajectory, were they willing to give it a try.

  5. Reply


    This was a home run after the past week I had with my sisters all being DDs. I get so tired of them raining on my parade that I am rethinking many things and decisions that I had made; they may possibly need to be rearranged. I’m thinking now that a cabin in the woods sounds pretty damn good. Great thoughts from a wonderful writer.

    1. Reply


      Thanks, Deb. Funny you mentioned the possibility of rearranging some of your plans. I believe I know what plans you’re referring to and when you mentioned them to me before, I actually wondered if going in that direction would be wise. I’ve seen you truly happy and I’ve seen you frustrated–and there seems to be certain elements always present in the frustrating times. You’re a joyful soul, loving and enormously creative. Don’t let anything or anyone squash that. Ever.

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    Jo Heroux

    Love these comparisons. I am, like most, a combo. I live as JJand DD steps all over my sunshine to keep me grounded in reality. I’ve said before that I fully trust that my DD times are important and unavoidable. Great loss brings great pain. Great pain requires time to absorb the reality and believe you can move forward. Seeking the JJ part of me has brought me out of the depths everytime so far, given enough time and attention.
    You said it all so eloquently.

    1. Reply


      Thanks, Jo. I so agree with you that pain and loss require and deserve time and tenderness. Ignoring our feelings is never a good idea. What baffles me is why some people seem determined to carry anger, resentment, and grief as though those things were badges of honor. There’s a big difference between allowing ourselves to process our difficult feelings/experiences and choosing to stay locked in them. I know you know this–despite the losses you’ve experienced in the past few years, you’ve actively taken steps to build a life that makes you happy. When painful moments bubble back up, you feel and honor them, then you return to the present and all the blessings in your life. Very wise!

  7. Reply

    Keri Donovan

    It is nice to share a slice of your words with you again. This little bit gave us a big taste of the power our choices offer us.
    Great to read you again Beth.

    1. Reply


      It’s so good to see you, Keri! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. I’ve missed the really wonderful community we had.

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