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.