Choose To Be Happy

Posted under Ramblings by Jennifer A. Ray

You may think that your own happiness is out of your control.  You might feel lost, your emotional state subject to the various events in your life and maybe even the whims of those people around you.

But for the most part, you can choose to be happy.  Sounds easy for me to say, doesn’t it?  But it is true – I’m living proof.

If you wrote my life story, it would read like one of the most depressing Lifetime movies.  I was switched at birth, run over by a car when I was a child, abandoned by both my biological father and later the father who adopted me, gave my only child up for adoption when she was born, lost my home and everything in it during Hurricane Opal, etc., etc.

That’s some sob story, huh?  But I don’t remember every feeling like I had a bad life, even during the worst of times.  While certain events may have made me sad at the time or even perhaps depressed, those emotions were fleeting, never consuming my life.

I come from a family of people who laugh in the face of adversity.  Truly.  We probably aren’t the most politically correct family, but we find it cathartic to laugh together through the worst of times – especially when the only other option seems to be crying.

I’ve learned to look for the good things in my life, count the blessings – especially when the bad stuff threatens to overload me.  You know what?  I’ve never had trouble finding something positive in my life.  It may be something small, but that one thing may be the touchstone I need in that moment to keep me from immersing into the sadness and reaffirm that God loves me.

Some people think that I am always happy, and while that is true a lot of the time, I do have my moments. 

This week, for instance, is my daughter’s birthday.  I knew before she was born that God intended her for another family who couldn’t have a baby themselves, and I have never doubted that decision.  That doesn’t mean I don’t wish that circumstances hadn’t been considerably different at the time.  I miss my daughter terribly, even if I never saw her.  I have always loved her.

So the week of her birthday is an emotional one for me, although I think of her every day.  The day of her birth reminds me of everything in her life that I have missed, makes me wonder what her life is like now, hoping that she had every advantage I couldn’t have given her.

And if something happens to make me upset right now, it is harder than normal for me to pull out of that funk.  It’s easy for me to spiral into a depression during this time.

How do I deal with that?  I plan things during this time that keep me occupied.  I surround myself with people I love and trust to deliver positivity and cheer.  That positive energy does wonders to counter any bad feelings that I may have and helps me through what is the toughest week of the year for me.

It makes me absolutely heartbroken when I see people who don’t know how to grab happiness for themselves.  I want everyone to understand how easy it is to find it – they just have to look for it and choose it.  Count the small blessings – you would be surprised how many of them you have in your life.  Don’t depend on big events to make you happy – those can be few and far between.  It’s those small daily miracles that are really the fabric of life.

Another thing that helps is to do things for others.  It always makes me feel good to do something for someone else with no expectations of reciprocation. 

Smile at a stranger – you never know when a simple smile will change that person’s day.  Compliment someone on something – earrings, hair style, the color they are wearing, whatever.  Perform a random act of kindness somehow, no matter how small.  The good energy you send out will come back to you.  Maybe not in that exact moment, but it will be returned. 

And if you know that you are acting from a place of goodness and love, then how can you regret any kindness?

I wish all of you the best.  I hope you find joy and peace in your life – enough at least that it helps balance those hard times when they roll around, because they are bound to.

Remember that the trials in our lives are for a reason.  They make us stronger, they set us on a path, whatever.  If you have faith, then you know there is a plan and we don’t always know what that plan is.  We just have to trust God and make the most of the blessings in our lives.

  1. Renee Said,

    Oh Jennifer, I agree 100%. I think a lot of people want to blame the whole world on their problems when they have so many things going for them. I am not money rich and I never will be but I have so many things that are wonderful in my life. My family, my health, my friends, I have a wonderful life and I remember that every day.


  2. Roni Said,

    Incredible Jennifer! What a wonderfully refreshing reminder. I’m so happy for all my blessings and including my amazing friends.

    Love you!

  3. Christina Said,

    I’m humbled and amazed. You have a beautiful heart and a giving spirit. I will give my children and husband extra hugs and kisses today, just so they know how much I truly love them thru the good and the bad.


  4. Terri Said,

    Jennifer, you are an amazing woman. I love your heart, spirit, and kindness. I’m thankful I can call you friend.

    Love you beautiful lady!

  5. Janice Maynard Said,

    Jennifer – What a lovely blog! And you have hit it “spot on” as they say across the pond. The quality of our lives is based on how we handle adversity, and you have made a case for that beautifully!

    Janice M.

  6. jantien Said,

    dear Jennifer,
    I don’t have the right words in Englsh to express how inspirational I think you are.


  7. Jaci Burton Said,


    I know this is always a hard time of year for you, but you always handle it with such grace and beauty, showing what a strong, wonderful person you are.

    Those of us who know you are very lucky. :smile:

  8. Karin Tabke Said,

    Jen you are 100% correct!!

    Life is all about choices. We chose how to feel. We chose, well, most everything. And the stuff life throws at us? We chose how to react. We all have our moments of fear, doubt, anger and depression, but the key is not allowing it to control. So we must chose not to.

    Great post! I’m glad I popped in.


  9. Naughty Nikki D Said,

    Everything you said is true, both in how you’ve chosen to handle things and how everyone else can do the same.

    You are a treasure to know and area always an inspiration.

  10. stacy Said,

    Thank you for sharing moments of your life with us. You are a wonderful women Jennifer, and a dear friend to those of us lucky enough to know you. And even though you didn’t raise your daughter, you are an incredible Mother. Because sometimes mommies have to love them enough to let them go, whether its at there birth, or off to collage, or to fight for this country.


  11. Reba Said,

    You are truly amazing Jennifer…I have a saying in this New Year..Let Go and Let God..We forget to cherish the little things and always get hung up on what we can’t do or afford..forgetting that we are blessed every day that we wake up. Thank you for sharing you journey


  12. Lindsey Said,

    You’re always such an inspiration, Jennifer. This is so true. I know some people who chose to be unhappy about everything, and I just can’t understand why.

  13. Larry Said,

    :grin: I’ve been really down these last few days; even with my Birthday coming up on January the 30th. After reading your blog entry, I realize that I never really had a legitimate reason to be gloomy about and my spirits are so uplifted now because of you Jennifer.
    Your yondering or advice that you shared with us came to me at the most perfect time in my life; and I really mean that. Thank You So Much!

  14. Amy Knupp Said,

    Jennifer, awesome post. Hugs to you during this difficult week, but it sounds like you have a wonderful outlook.

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