I lead a nice life. My husband is my best friend and I currently live in a place many consider paradise. I have many loved ones, near and far. Believe me, I completely understand that I am a very blessed girl. I have known heartache though. I have bad days, where I can’t find anything good to talk about. I am frequently appalled by the things I see in the media, social media or even the news on TV. This world confuses me and makes me cry. So why am I so happy?
Because I CHOSE to be. I firmly believe that happiness is a conscious choice you have to make for yourself because so often the world will try to make the opposite choice for you.
Several years ago, before my sweetheart and I were hardly friends, I was in a relationship with a soul-sucker. I won’t go into details, more on why in a minute, but suffice it to say that I was a different person towards the end of the 4-year relationship than I had been at the beginning. I had pushed many friends away and my family tried to tell me how depressed they thought I had become. It took one long weekend with members of my family that I don’t get to see often for me to realise the depths of my unhappiness. It surprised the hell out of me, I can tell you. It wasn’t the sort of black and white situation where there’s a beginning and an end, but I finally started an uphill climb. It felt like I was making my own choices, rather than having them made for me.
I started doing the things that made me happy. I started dance classes again and then I reconnected with the friends that I pushed away (and they were gracious enough to forgive me, and incidentally, this was when I reconnected with the Sir who would become My Sir) and then I moved from FL to DC and just generally made decisions to be happy. Things weren’t rosy all the time. I struggled often in my new life, but I look back now and it is a time that was still tinged with light and joy. The struggles were things that I had to overcome and I did and now we don’t dwell on them anymore.
Now, I try very hard to see the good things in my life and I focus on them. I say that I try “very hard” because like I said before, life isn’t easy and sometimes bad things happen. But if you CHOOSE to see the good, over time, you will have an easier and easier time seeing it. If you look for bad things, negative things, things to complain about, you will find them. But if you train yourself to notice good things, beautiful things, kind things, you will find those too.
It sounds a bit like I’m telling you that I’m always optimistic and happy, doesn’t it? Well last night, I got about 3 hours of sleep and missed meeting up with family to go to the beach because I slept through my alarm and when I finally did wake up, I had the telltale signs of a migraine, deep in the back of my neck and on upward to behind my eyes. My Sir is working on a Saturday so I don’t have him to comfort me and I read a news report about the tiger cubs that were found in the freezer at a temple in Thailand and I cried because I couldn’t avoid seeing the graphic images the journalist included in their report. I can’t stop my feelings about the things that happen to me over which I have no control. BUT. I CAN control my response to them.
I try not to let negative things dwell in my thoughts. That’s the difference I see between me and negative people. Yes, there are many things that get me down, but I refuse to dwell on them. It is why I rarely talk about the things that upset me once I’ve processed through them. I don’t claim to be happy all the time every day, but I am a happy person and that’s the difference. What is the point of telling you the details of that sad relationship I was in, since I’m in one now with the person who was meant for me? Occasionally, if I think a friend could benefit from hearing my experiences, I’ll share, but generally, it stays shut up in a corner of my memory that I rarely access.
I’m the kind of person that just can’t help but share the things that make me happy. Empathy is a real thing; some people truly feel the pain of others when they receive bad news. It is worse when they have to give bad news. Imagine, if you can, how it would feel to have your own tragic feelings and then to deal with the grief and sadness of others once you give them the news of that tragedy. It compounds emotionally until you’re overwhelmed. I dislike even watching movies that are too emotionally intense because then I feel the same things as the characters and that gets overwhelming too. So I choose to mitigate this by sharing happy things with my loved ones. If I find something as simple as a comic that made me laugh, I’ll send that to someone, in the hopes that they find it as funny as I did.
You deal with the world around you as best you can and that’s life. It’s the relationships you build and the experience you have. But you can choose to see them as mostly good or mostly bad. And I firmly believe you’ll be happier for it if you choose to see the good.