And They Lived Happily Ever After…

This weekend I woke up to warmth and sunshine. I grabbed my cup of coffee and stayed as far away from my office as possible. I proceeded to spend some much needed family time together with my husband and kids. I even stayed up late to watch a movie…

The same type of movie I always watch. (My poor husband.) Here, let me explain…

Do you believe in happily ever after?

I often refer to dramatic, tear jerking movies as “Bette Midler Movies.” This name was derived by me from the string of dramatic movies Bette Midler acted in during the late 1980’s such as Beaches and Wind Beneath My Wings.

Remember those two movies? I do. (Behind a wall of tears.)

It was these two movies that single-handedly converted me into a strict, happily-ever-after-ending-ONLY movie watcher – with the occasional exception of documentaries or historically-based movies* such as Schindler’s List (1993) and Titanic (1997).

* These movies also often put me behind a significant wall of tears. So much so, that I have committed to watching most documentary and historical movies only once. That is ALL I can take.  (And I will subsequently dwell on those movies for a very. long. time.)

Here’s my issue: there are too many things in life that are sad and which can cause one to cry – and when I have the rare chance to sit, relax and watch a movie, I don’t want to cry. Period.

And before you go there…

  • I understand that happily-ever-after-movies are not necessarily a true reflection of everyday life.
  • I get that many things do not end “happily ever after.”
  • And I surely know that things don’t always happen in the order you want them to (or in the way in which you want them to) and that life is not always a “bed of roses.”

But for me, these type of movies (as unrealistic as they can be) help me to surround myself with a more positive energy. I will even go as far as to research a movie’s ending prior to watching it. (I’ve been surprised by some not-so-happily-ever-after endings and it is not a pretty sight.)

And I realize now that this concept tends to mirror the way I step through my own life.

My Defense Mechanism: Avoiding the Negativity

I am not always a positive person – but I would say that I strive to remain positive.

I think that I accomplish more and stay happier when I have a positive outlook in life. Anything that I can do to avoid falling into an unhappy state is always welcome.

When possible, I like to surround myself with others (and movies!) who have a more positive attitude. (This is especially helpful when – on occasion – my attitude leans in the wrong direction or when I am having a bad day.)

Yet the flip side of my “defense mechanism” is: Avoidance.

I tend to avoid most things that add negativity to my life. When “real life drama” happens – I like to stay (and try my hardest to stay) as FAR away from it as possible.

Idealism vs. Realism

Focusing on the positive and avoiding the negative, is this always a good solution?

I’m not sure, but this often tends to be my solution to better maintaining a personal feeling of happiness and balance in my own life.

Oprah Winfrey once said:

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person
can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”

What do you think?

Lets face it – life is far from 100% happy, 100% of the time. Yet, just because you know that life doesn’t always turn out happily ever after, doesn’t mean that you still shouldn’t strive for happiness (or at least try to be surrounded by happiness) a majority of the time, right?

Right?

Leave a Comment? Do you have a defense mechanism to protect your happiness? Do you think that you can change your future by changing your attitude and what effects your attitude?

*And on a lighter note, do you have a favorite happily-ever-after movie? Mine is The Holiday.

This week I am excited to be linking up with LoveLinks, a weekly link up that introduces smaller, personal blogs to new readers and commenters. Visit LoveLinks starting Wednesday and vote for your three favorite posts! Maybe mine???

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54 Responses to And They Lived Happily Ever After…

  1. I absolutely get that. I tend to gravitate toward the dark and twisty (I do not know why – I firmly believe it’s not the best thing for me), so I have to make a conscious effort to choose lighter, happier things when I can. Life is so very… real. It does help to escape to a less real place now and then!

    Before I stop rambling, let me recommend The Big Year. Don’t walk away when you see it’s about birding! We watched it last night, and it’s such a sweet, uplifting story with plenty of quirk thrown in. Well worth your time, and will not leave you in tears!
    Missy @ Wonder, Friend recently posted..I’m Pretty Sure I’m Right

    • Kate says:

      I used to be OK with the “dark and twisty” stuff too… but now that I have kids, for some reason even those movies are harder. (Movies AND books! I used to be an avid Dean Koontz reader!) Maybe it is because I truly know that the “dark and twisty” stuff can happen? With that being said – I absolutely love CSI on TV. :) Probably about the only television show that I still DVR and actually watch!

      P.S. Can’t wait to check out “The Big Year.” Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Christin says:

    *sigh* so THIS is why you won’t go see Titanic 3D with me. Lol!! I get it….and I agree! I have cut all the drama tv shows out of my DVR list and only half hour sitcoms and cooking shows now dwell there. I can read the news if I want to be depressed and cry! Great post!! :-)

  3. Susi says:

    I feel very much the same way as you do. I try to surround myself with happy things and maintain a mostly positive attitude. Not always possible when groucho max is your husband!!! :) But we balance each other out. There are a lot of happily ever after movies I like and I can’t think of one that stands out at the moment. Oh, how about “Enchanted”?…that one was very cute and happy.
    Susi recently posted..You’re the best

    • Kate says:

      Do you think that your attitude of positivity is starting to “rub off” on your husband? I’ve noticed that when I am more positive my kids are more positive. My guess would be that over the long run this positive attitude would spread? But, just a guess!

      P.S. LOVED Enchanted!

  4. I totally have a defense mechanism. And it’s to the largest extent possible, that I avoid negative people. It’s hard, but I’m getting better at putting those boundaries into place.
    Missy | The Literal Mom recently posted..The Great Blogging Anniversary Linkup Starts NOW

  5. Janice says:

    I tend to expect the worst, then when something wonderful happens, I’m pleasantly surprised! (This is the attitude of a professional pessimist.)

    I always get bummed out by movies where the good guys die at the end. I think that’s why I secretly like watching rom coms, just because they always have the happy ending. Much less emotionally exhausting.

    Great post!
    Janice recently posted..Not So Qualified

    • Kate says:

      Yes! Romantic Comedies (Rom-coms :)) can be VERY emotionally exhausting. AGREED!

      I too used to be more of a “professional pessimist.” One thing adding more optimism has done for me is that it has allowed me to focus on bigger goals with the understanding that having the goals is sometimes more important then successfully completing them. Optimism has also taught me that success doesn’t always come in the way you dreamed it would…

  6. Alison@Mama Wants This
    Twitter: AlisonSWLee
    says:

    I tend to stay away from drama, and try not to get involved. I can’t stand whiners, complaining etc, because I just don’t like the negativity.

    So I guess in a way, I’m an avoider too. I just feel that I can’t handle all that, I need my life to be positive as much as possible.
    Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..Kisses

    • Kate says:

      I’m glad to know that there are others out there who are also “negativity avoiders.” I really DO think that avoiding the negative situations helps keep my attitude more positive. Every time I let myself get caught up in others’ negativity – it always, always seems to bring me down. (Kind of the same thing as watching the evening news :()

  7. Emily says:

    I definitely believe we soak up some of the energy we expose ourselves to, so surrounding yourself with happiness seems like a step in the right direction!

    • Kate says:

      Love it –> “Soak up some of the energy we expose ourselves to..” That perfectly describes my thinking. We are like sponges… “soaking up” the water (aka energy) we surround ourselves with.

  8. Mayor Gia
    Twitter: mayorgia
    says:

    So what do you think about a movie like Love Actually? It’s…mostly happy. (I LOVE it)
    Mayor Gia recently posted..St. Patrick’s Day Allie

  9. heidi
    Twitter: heidicave
    says:

    I’m definitely a realist with optimistic tendencies. I tend to be a worrier, so I try not to let that get the better of me. I agree with you – we can’t be 100% happy 100% of the time but we can certainly lean toward that and strive for it.
    As for feel-good movies…I love the new-ish Crazy, Stupid, Love. The Notebook makes me happy like many other women out there I’m sure. I like The Holiday too. :)
    heidi recently posted..what not to say

  10. Justin says:

    Interesting post!

    You may not be able to avoid all of the bad things in life, but generally speaking, I think the more positive you are and the more hopeful you are, the easier it is to get through those things and come out on the other side to a happy ending. In other words, you can’t expect life to be peachy-keen all of the time because it just isn’t, but you can know that even at its worse, there is a better day, another day, a second shot. “Happy Ever After” teaches hope, and that’s a very strong sidekick.

    • Kate says:

      Interesting response! One of my favorite yet Justin. Love that you referred to “Happy Ever After” as a sidekick! I also like your words of hope: “there is a better day, another day, a second shot.” They are very strong and such a great thing to remember!

  11. Katie E
    Twitter: euregirlsandboy
    says:

    I do believe it makes a difference to approach things with a positive attitude. Where I get in trouble is if I try to completely ignore the negative, even when I really need to confront it and deal with it. I still think positivity makes a big difference overall.

    I do however sometimes enjoy watching something that makes me cry. It’s not real life. And it’s cathartic.
    Katie E recently posted..Tasty Tuesday: Bubble Up Pizza

    • Kate says:

      I do think this is where the problems begin to arise – when negativity is completely ignored and not dealt with as it needs to be. We have to pick and choose our battles, but completely ignoring something that needs to be solved or taken care of is never a good solution too. I relate it to the comment that Kim left on this post when she spoke about having a hard time going to funerals because of the sadness (totally paraphrasing here but…) I’ve noticed that if I skip out of a funeral, if I avoid it, I never fully “resolve” my sadness…

      Excellent comment Katie!

  12. Kim Pugliano
    Twitter: GisSilent
    says:

    Years ago a doctor I worked for died and my co-worker/friend said to me, “Are you ready for this? It’s a funeral Kimmie. People will be crying. You can’t just run away.” I am so fight or flight. I am so, “Too much emotion, I’m outta here!” “I can’t take the drama!”
    Kim Pugliano recently posted..Comment on Mama Drama by Bruce Hotmer

    • Kate says:

      Wow do I relate with your comment. I am the Exact. Same. Way.

      And I agree: Funerals are hard. Yet, over the years I have started to feel a sense of closure with funerals. A sense of closure that I don’t often get when I can’t attend them. The nice thing about funerals is everyone is in the same boat as you… so you have support while you sad.

  13. Ado says:

    I feel the same way you do and try to stay positive even with the movies we watch (minus my husband’s solo viewing of WW II films and spaghetti Westerns…)
    I do love a good noir film now and then, with subtitles, though I have to watch these without my kids, or my husband. (-:
    Ado recently posted..Other People’s Parenting

    • Kate says:

      Might not go as far as noir, however, I actually really love a good suspense film every once in a while! (Sleeping with the Enemy is one of my all time favorites!) I still like it to have a happy ending though… (Does that defeat the purpose of a suspense film????)

  14. Robbie says:

    The tearjerker movies and books…those are the ones I love. Happily ever after just isn’t realistic but ppl find happiness and strength in their struggles.
    Robbie recently posted..SOC: Almost Time

    • Kate says:

      Very interesting perspective Robbi. Thanks for your comment! I always find strength in my struggles… yet not always happiness. I agree that happily ever after is definitely NOT realistic… but I also feel like I face struggles and reality on a daily basis and just can’t find the strength in me to also face it when I want to be entertained.

  15. Jamie says:

    I am not a fan of drama but I am a sucker for a movie that &-l … Steel Magnolias is a favorite for that reason.
    Jamie recently posted..death of a dembanger

    • Kate says:

      Ugh. I would wake up so puffy and red the next day from crying! Steel Magnolia’s is a HARD one! (Maybe another reason why I don’t like sad movies? They really are not good for my complexion and overall outer appearance :) hehe!) Thanks for stopping over Jamie!

  16. Andi Brown says:

    I am with you and believe 100% that attitude drives the happiness and future of our lives. I’m not saying mine is pristine by any means, but when things aren’t awesome sometimes it’s up to me to turn it around.

    • Kate says:

      Yes… it is up to only us. That is the part I sometime forget too, that I shouldn’t relay on others for my happiness… yet others do often effect my happiness.

  17. Delilah
    Twitter: iamnotthemaid
    says:

    I avoid. I am the master of avoidance. I avoid confrontation whenever possible because it just stresses me out. I avoid negative, whiny people because I tend to want to punch them in the face. I’m still trying to find a better defense mechanism for myself. I hate when a bad mood leads to a string of days where I’m down in the dumps.

    • Kate says:

      Confrontation stresses me out too! Ugh! Avoiding it seems to be my only answer… but avoidance, doesn’t always solve the problem at hand. And sometimes a problem simply just needs solved. I have to work at finding a better happy medium I think.

  18. Jennifer
    Twitter: jlweinberg
    says:

    This is interesting! It was a good reminder to me think again about if I’m being positive or negative. I find I have to remind myself pretty frequently to keep it positive, keep it positive. I like what you said about choosing your battles wisely, too. Sometimes it’s just best to walk away from the drama & keep a clear head. :)
    Jennifer recently posted..Signed, Sealed, Delivered

    • Kate says:

      As easy as avoiding the drama and negativity can be, it is just as easy (if not easier at times!) to get wrapped up in the drama… You really have to think about which battles are worth picking.

  19. tara pohlkotte
    Twitter: tarapohlkotte
    says:

    oh, see – I love them all. But I totally get you! There is too much that is real to worry about….I do believe in the energy that surrounds us. loved this :)
    tara pohlkotte recently posted..A Letter To My Daughter

    • Kate says:

      Trying to keep the energy that surrounds us positive – can be exhausted though! And watching happily ever after movies is SO easy (hehe). With that being said, there is never an easy out. And avoiding the negativity completely is also never the perfect solution… it is all a balancing act if you ask me!

  20. Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms
    Twitter: SensibleMoms
    says:

    I’m glad I’m reading this early in the day. You’ve reminded me to look on the positive and I’m going to try! I too often get bogged down in minutiae.

    And I will one up you on the movies. I like my movies stupid. Goofy comedies entertain me. If I want drama or plot twists, I read a book because I definitely run from drama in my real life. Ellen
    Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms recently posted..Hope Springs

  21. Stacey says:

    They’re my favorites too – esp romantic comedies. I can’t help it! It’s who I am!
    Stacey recently posted..Casanova

  22. Susan says:

    I refuse to watch shows that make me cry, which drives my husband absolutely bonkers and relegates us to movies like, oh “Thor” and “The Green Lantern.” I think happiness is in so many ways a choice we make… and it’s not that I’m burying my head in the sand, but there are so many real-life reasons to be sad! Why take that on in a movie? Anyway, what I’m trying (badly) to say is I’m completely on your side!
    Susan recently posted..Here Comes the Roar

    • Kate says:

      Yes! You definitely sound like you understand my thoughts to a T. Funny, my husband still complains when I make him watch a romantic comedy, but I actually think (even under the complaints) that he too is beginning to like them – for the exact same reason as I do: They often bring a simple smile to his face in the end.

  23. stephanie
    Twitter: B4Steph
    says:

    I agree our attitudes affect everything about our lives. Even in yoga class my teacher is always saying to us, watch your attitude, if we’re attempting a difficult pose. I try to stay away from negative people (my neighbor! yikes). But, when we talk of movies… bring it on! The darker the better. I’m drawn to the psychological twists. Why people do what they do. I just watched The Skin I Live In. Very dark but very good. Was the punishment too severe, just right? How do we define gender? Good stuff. Nice post. Gets us thinking.. and that’s always a good thing.
    stephanie recently posted..Confidence is Sexy..

    • Kate says:

      To clarify :) I still love a good thriller (as long as it ends well!) LOL. In all seriousness though, sometimes I do feel like I am missing out by somewhat limiting my pool of movies … it is why I will still watch a documentary here and there. I just have to mentally prepare myself.

      P.S. Yuk! Negative neighbors that you have to live by day after day are NO fun :(

  24. Kristin
    Twitter: kdwald
    says:

    I love it all. I love cheese, Terms of Endearment or Beaches tears, Contagion horror, All of Me goofiness, The Princess Bride perfection…all. The only thing I don’t tend to like is over-the-top stupid violence. Or even just gratuitous. Fight Club came close for me because I was unimpressed with the premise.

    I get what you’re saying, and I fully support your efforts! I just also love my cathartic films. :)
    Kristin recently posted..Willing Cost of a Clean Mind

  25. Lenore says:

    This is tough – I love escaping in movies and books, I suppose I don’t really care what the genre is that is distracting me. I tend to lean towards dramas, though.
    I look for the positive, and I do my best to gravitate to the positive people – life is too short to be cranky, and I find day to day can get me cranky. :)
    Lenore recently posted..The Healing House :: A Work of Fiction

    • Kate says:

      I get especially cranky when I am around cranky people! I find that my emotions tend to often mimic my surroundings – which is probably why I tend to veer away from sad drama’s. Thanks for your comment Lenore!

  26. Stasha says:

    I like european movies. So happily ever after is not really my thing. But I watch a lot of stand up comedy :) And I NEVER watch the news. That is my way of protecting happiness. If it wasn’t for twitter I would not know about any current events.
    Stasha recently posted..I do not like eggs with my ham

    • Kate says:

      I am the same way with the news Stasha. I actually used to be somewhat of a news addict and then 9/11 happened. And then I became a mother. And slowly but surely the news became too real, too depressing and it hardly was ever balanced out by all the good things that are also happening. I need to find a happy medium, because sometimes I feel like I am becoming news “ignorant” due to this whole complex of mine about not wanting to be sad…

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