Sunday, January 18, 2009

Don't worry, be happy

Is it possible to will yourself to be happy? Is the power of positive thinking real? Yes, I think so. I know this post will ramble, but will hopefully make sense. And this is not to say that happy pills don't work, because they do. And sometimes you need help, but sometimes you can help yourself too.
Something I don't talk about much is a journey of self-discovery I took between 8th grade and freshman year in high school, but I think it is something important to share. I had a miserable time in school (school was fine, but the kids were awful. It's amazing how cruel kids can be.) So, I spent a summer really learning to like myself and decided not to care what others thought. I decided to see things positively rather than negatively. And that makes it sound really easy, but it's actually something I am still working on, 20 years later. It's a lifelong journey, and something that needs to be practiced every day.
I think if I hadn't, I could have been a statistic, but that's just not my style. I prefer to solve problems rather than create more. 
Anyway, here are a few things I think are a good place to start if you want to try to embrace happiness:
1) Can you look at yourself in a mirror and really say, "I like the person I see"? Try it. Try to become the person you want to see in the mirror. It may take a long time or it may be easy, but you have to like yourself.
2) Maybe it's the scientist in me, but the glass is full, half just happens to be air. There is always a way to look at something, even the worst thing, and find something good. Even if that something good is simply that you survived. I truly do believe that what doesn't kill us does make us stronger. 
3) The power of positive thought really does work; just give it a try. When you look in the mirror, tell yourself that you are happy and eventually you will believe it and eventually it will be true.
4) When you can either laugh or cry, laugh. Crying just makes your eyes red. 
5) Although sometimes you need to cry. I read in a book once that people are like radiators: sometimes you have to let off steam or you explode. It's ok to be angry or sad or whatever, but then you have to get over it. Seriously, being unhappy is depressing. It feels bad. I'd much rather be happy. It took a lot of years, but I'm getting pretty good at it.
6) One of my mother-in-law's sayings is, "It is what it is." When you can really learn to accept that things are what they are, it is very freeing. Sometimes you can do something about it, and sometimes you can't, but accepting the way things are is the first step. 
Do I know all the answers? No. Do I have my days where I get depressed or feel angry or whatever? Absolutely. Can I get past that and not let it control my life? I think so. I've done a pretty good job so far. But, it's a never ending quest and it takes a lot of practice.
So what's great in my life? I have a wonderful husband (who isn't perfect, but does a pretty good job of making me happy, so is perfect for me). We have 2 great sons. We have a nice house, in a great neighborhood, that suits us. We can pay our bills. I have some really wonderful friends.

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