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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Choosing To Be Happy

Smile every chance you get.  Not because life has been easy, perfect or exactly the way you anticipated, but because you choose to be happy and grateful for all the good things you do have and all the problems you know you don't have.

No one has a perfect life.  I don't.  Although I know some people look at my life from the outside and think that it is perfect.  My family is definitely one of those "old-fashioned" families.  My parents have been married for 38 years and are still each other's best friend.  I have an older brother and a younger sister who mean the world to me.  Growing up, we were involved in sports, did things in the community, my parents were involved in and proud supporters of our schools.  I wouldn't be surprised if some people would think we were like the Cleavers and nothing ever went wrong.  

I can honestly say that is not true.  Not in a bad way, just in a normal, everyday life kind of way.  My parents struggled with our growing pains as we went through our teenage years (okay, mostly mine) but, kudos to them, we all graduated from high school and went on to college.  My entire extended family is scattered all over the east coast.  It's hard for me to imagine how difficult that must have been on my parents (and probably still is at times).  They couldn't just drop us off at Grandma's when they needed a break.  They were there for us 24/7.  And they still are.  They are the best examples of what people in our society should be that I could ever conjure up.

So, why would I call this "Choosing to Be Happy"?  Well, because I believe every day we make a choice on what our attitude is going to be which translates into how our day will more than likely go.  For a long time, I chose to be sad.  I chose to focus on all the bad things in my life.  Or, what I thought were bad things.  Looking back now, and in reality, a lot of these so called bad things were really just negative aspects of events that I chose to focus on for one reason or another.  

My life hasn't always been easy and, at 33, I can't say that I am exactly where I thought I would be with my life.  But, I know I am right where I am supposed to be.  It's been a daily struggle for the last 10 months but I can honestly say that every day when I wake up I make a choice to be happy.  I can only imagine how many people suffered right along with me with my depression, sadness and bad attitude.  I was lost.  

A smile can make someone's day.  Every time I walk into a store and someone greets me, I smile and say hello.  I figure that might be the only friendly interaction they've had all day.  I used to work in retail.  I know what it's like.  

When I wake up in the morning, I am the last person that wants to get out of bed.  I love to sleep and my bed is super comfy.  However, by making a choice to be happy, I am willing to get up, get moving and make a positive difference in someone's day.  It's very rare that you'll see me frustrated or mad about something anymore.  That used to happen all the time.  Throughout the soul searching I've done this year, I realized that, not only does that affect me, it affects everyone around me.  The students know if I'm frustrated.  So, I try to not show that side of myself anymore.  I never purposely showed them my frustration.  But, when you aren't happy, that comes through in so many more ways than anyone would ever guess.  

While my life may not be perfect, I have so many good things in my life.  And I know life could be so much worse.  I am so thankful to live in a place where I have freedom, to be in a job that I love surrounded by awesome people and to have the most amazing family and friends I could ever ask for!  

And, to top it off, I'm 94 pounds lighter than I was on January 24th, 2013.  Yes, that 94 pounds is a physical weight loss.  I don't even know what the number would be if I could add up my emotional weight loss.  

It's important to make someone happy, and it's important to start with yourself.  

If you aren't happy, how can you make someone else happy?