Tuesday, March 5

Actively Choosing to Be Happy

The difficult conversations are usually the most important ones we should be having. I recently had two and while I think there was a mutual understanding with one person, I'm more than positive the other is upset with me. In an effort to refocus and better align with my true purpose, I had to make some tough decisions. Since it looks effortless to others [because I don't process my difficult choices out loud on social networks], I am often viewed as callous, trying to be perfect, and a bunch of other stuff that has nothing to do with positive movement forward.

I often use the example of an addict trying to free themselves of the burden of their addiction. The minute they make the decision that they don't want to do drugs, drink excessively, etc. it is suggested they limit/cut off interaction with users. What I would like to know is, why this is viewed differently when someone limits their interaction with those they know aren't mentally healthy for them at the moment?. Surely our mental health is just as important as our physical so why the exception?

If someone makes the decision to remove themselves from underneath a dark cloud, shouldn't we be happy for them? Instead, the responses I've had to contend with are accusations that I'm being self-righteous, I think I'm perfect and have it all figured out when I don't know shit about shit. Nice, right? Of course this is abusive speech targeted at people to get them to do what you want. Fortunately, it doesn't work on me. It has become motivation to keep traveling down my road and further distance myself from people like this.

When someone makes the decision to not let life get the best of them EVERY DAY THEY WAKE UP, it isn't about ignoring things that aren't right in their world. It is impossible for me to not think about the following:

  • in the last 6 months, I've had 3 family members pass away, 1 being my mothers mom and another being my father's dad ; my husband has had 3, as well, one being a suicide
  • I had pneumonia and was laid up in the hospital for half a day
  • my daughter developed asthma and has an ongoing condition called rhinitis [which gives her a sinus infection twice a month]; she's been sick for a year; not off and on, literally not well for an entire year
  • I had a stressful job where I was undergoing harassment during the time our family members were passing, which the EEOC confirmed but I can't press charges because it wasn't within the parameters of their guidelines 
  • the employee that was harassing me happened to be my supervisor; she created a full letter of lies in order to fire me, even though we live in a right to work state so attempting to tarnish my character added insult to injury
  • during all of the above, our cars turbo goes out and we have to purchase another car
  • the car we just purchased, engine fell out a couple weeks ago
This list can continue for another 2 pages because that's life, something is ALWAYS going on. Does it help to sit around feeling sorry for myself because of this? No. Me talking about it to anyone who will listen doesn't make it go away either. If we are truly striving to make the best of things, it's always best to focus on the good things happening around us anyway. For me, it has been the following:
  • we were able to find a more spacious, less expensive place in a neighborhood 10 times better, after leaving a black mold infested house
  • my husband still has his job; one income is better than none
  • we've been fortunate enough to still be able to afford my daughter's daycare so I can write while she's at school
  • our daughter's health has drastically improved since we changed her doctor
  • my stress levels are amazingly low due to not being on edge everyday
  • we live in a neighborhood where basic necessities are within a miles reach so no car isn't as bad as it sounds
  • I have an opportunity to work on doing what I love, not what appears to provide security
I can list more but the point is made. Actively choosing to be happy isn't about forgetting the things we have to deal with. It's about not letting the downers in life keep us in a place that affects our positivity. I'm further uplifted by those who subscribe to the same belief. My friends and I discuss things that go wrong in life but we also encourage each other not to complain incessantly about things that are out of our control. The things we can change, we remind each other to work on them diligently. This doesn't free up much time to negatively fixate in a "Woe is me" manner.

So the next time someone gets upset with you for not stooping to their level of negativity, take comfort that you are doing something right. There is a quote that says "You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully". If those 5 people want nothing but the best for you and encourage you to stay positive, choosing to be happy can become as easy as breathing...


  1. You know I'm in your corner no matter what! Love you!

  2. Syn, I came across this post through Triberr, and it strengthens my belief that sometimes things happen when they need to happen. I'm in somewhat the same position and have allowed myself to pull too far away from the path to happiness. But that's me behind you, waving and smiling. Don't know if I'll catch up, I'm re-learning how to enjoy the journey.

  3. Kenya - Love you too!

    Mona - Thank you :-) I hope things get better for you soon. I know how it can be when it seems like everything is crashing down around you. I'm not a fan of telling people to just be grateful they're alive but whatever you can grasp onto that gives you some joy, go for it!

  4. THIS! My number one Personal Commandment is "Happy Is a Choice" and operating under that principle I try as hard as possible to concentrate on the positive. As a result I'm much less angry and depressed than I used to be (although it's still a constant, daily decision-making process, because negativity and cynicism has become a long-abused habit for me). Although I feel better, and sure that I am moving the right direction, my mom and sister swear I'm more filled with anger than ever, and that I have a superiority complex, and that I am smug and think I'm better than they are. I cannot convince them that I really am gripped with a more upbeat mentality, and that I still think I'm a dumb-dumb even as I continue working toward bettering myself. The more I protest, the more they put words in my mouth and accuse me of feeling "enlightened". I've had to limit contact with my own extended family... because they are not supportive of me in seeking better mental health. I don't want to be unhappy anymore. It's as simple as that. But not having them around as often has been depressing in and of itself. THIS piece you've written has given me strength. Thank you so much. I'm so relieved to know I'm not alone. Happy is a choice. A difficult one, yes, but manageable if we are just willing to put in the effort and pay the price, which apparently comes in the form of those who don't want what's best for you. *blah*


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