The Decision To Be Happy

Today, I decided to try a different approach.  It suddenly dawned on me that I’m spending so much time reacting to circumstances, there’s no time left to create circumstances.  As I had this epiphany, I started my morning ritual of flipping through my favorite websites and came across this article from Hello Giggles.  Serendipity!

I’ve had a hard time being optimistic lately.  Being struck by illness when I’d just set some lofty goals completely rocked my world.  My confidence took a nose-dive that I still haven’t recovered from.  It’s been almost a year now, and I continue to struggle to find purpose on many days.  I understand the power of positive thinking–it’s just easier said than done for me right now.

I almost didn’t even read the article.  The title alone: The Perks of Being an Optimist, sort of gave me the gag-reflex.  Yeelcgh, I don’t want to read an article about some happy-go-lucky person who glides through life without even noticing problems.  Then I thought, why not?  Maybe there will be a tip or two I can learn from.  It was exactly what I needed.  The writer shares her personal motto, and it’s so unbelievably simple, I can’t believe it hasn’t occurred to me before:

You Are More Than This Moment.

If this is true, then I am not defined by either my best days or my worst days.  This gives me the freedom to enjoy the peaks in life without having to worry that I’m going to be swept away into fantasy-land and forget how to make smart decisions.  More importantly, especially right now, this means that I am more than the frustrated, angry, sick and disabled girl who can barely find the energy to empty the dishwasher most days.  I can get so clouded in the Right Now (and not in a healthy “being present” way) that I just react to the balls life is throwing at me instead of being open to opportunities.  Bitterness and frustration can kill creativity and flexibility.

It’s like… being backed into a dead-end hallway and being pelted with water balloons and not seeing the open door to your left because you’re so freaked out about getting wet.

So today has been different.  I decided that I had to try choosing happiness, even if it was forced at times.  It was an experiment, and I have to say that it has been relatively successful.  If I’m honest, I still feel like total crap, and I am really scared about a lot (my future, my finances, my health, my… do I need to keep going?).  Today just feels a little less draining.

It’s small, but I’ll take it.  And I’ll probably try it again tomorrow.

Ironically, I read another article today about how studies have shown that pessimists live longer… but I’m just going to ignore that one for now.

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