Learning To Choose Happiness

In the last 18 years I lost both my parents, one to cancer, the other to a pulmonary embolism. My Dad died in 1998 and my Mom just about 5 ½ years ago and although my Dad passed away first, it was the passing of my Mom that impacted me severely and set grief in motion, so painful I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

Both of my parents were hardworking individuals leaving behind a legacy of determination and crazy ambition, these coupled with my own sense of independence gave me a solid foundation to start out life.

People have talked about my strength, my resilience, my resolve and although there was a time when I could not see what they were talking about, today I acknowledge it. I still do miss both my parents very much but I have found happiness.

After wallowing in the depths of self pity and pain for several months I had a rude awakening that almost pushed me over the edge and I was forced to choose — do I get stuck and allow this denial, guilt and pain to bury me or do I seek happiness?

The point at which I hit an all time low was the point I had to make a decision to choose happiness rather than continue to salve this pain that was threatening to eat me alive. What did I do? I wrote…everything I felt, wanted, did not want. I purged all over those pages and it felt good!

It felt even better to look back at previous entries and see that perhaps I was making progress. I trusted this process more than I trusted myself because I knew where my mind was destined to lead me, had I not gotten it under control.

I know from my own experience and from talking to others that happiness is a choice not related to our life circumstances and conditions. I know happiness is there for me to choose at any time and so I have created an almost daily practice to help keep me conscious.

No Negativity— This means ridding myself of negative friends, random situations, even burdensome family. It was and still is necessary! There was a time during my painful days when I could not and would not entertain negativity. It weighed me down and made me more depressed and anxious than I already was, so I allowed myself to feel my pain but rejected anyone else’s. I think in hindsight that was a really good decision because it helped me to empathize more than sympathize and not get wrapped up in another pity party. I am still the same today. Zero tolerance!

I live my truth — For a time I thought I needed to stop talking about how I felt for fear that people would find me redundant and aggravating. However, the more I let out this truth, the more it felt right. Seeking truth means acknowledging that I am not in a place to deal today, but knowing that maybe tomorrow I can give it a fair chance.

Lifestyle change — I made drastic changes to my lifestyle, I have become a serious minimalist. Things no longer hold the same meaning they once did because I understand the importance of relationships. Every encounter is important. Besides, time lost is never regained and I never want to have regrets of knowing I had enough time to impact another’s life but fell short on achieving it.

I build my spirituality because being connected to something bigger than me reinforces my purpose.

I trust the process — Learning this was not without its scrapes and bruises, reliving the same lessons two and three times before finally getting it. Eventually, I understood that everything had to be demolished in order for it to be rebuilt. The best part is now that I am choosing happiness I have the freedom and ability to build it back better than it was before. I now carry this legacy my parents started and I have made the choice to hold the helm and walk towards the light.

Living out loud and owning my feelings has given me a new voice. This voice attracts me to people and projects that add meaning to my life and that of others. It is building time now. However, on the days I feel low I have patience with myself, because I know this state is not permanent. I allow the emotions to process, think of all the things I am grateful for, then make up for time lost on the days when I am not challenged.

I choose to be happy everyday and I take it one day at a time.

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