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.