The title of this blog is one of my favorite sayings which I developed for myself some years in the past.
I had been questioning the levels of unhappiness that I always seemed to find myself mired in, no matter what the circumstances. No matter what happened, good, bad or indifferent, I ultimately managed to become unhappy. After much introspection I realized this was the case because I always found something to worry about, didn’t feel appreciation for the things I have in my life, good and bad, and ultimately would become unhappy.
I began to question myself profusely about this situation, because truly it is my desire to be happy! I finally came to the realization that I was not choosing to be happy, but lamenting and worrying about everything. With this in mind I started to monitor my thought patterns, my words and my actions. Believe me when I tell you that it has been a long and hard road to choose happiness over unhappiness everytime.
I find that I always begin to look at the possible negative consequences in every situation. This is a direct result of all of the traumatic experiences which I have had in life. It always appeared that as soon as something good happened it was immediately followed by a worse trauma than any previously. This pattern conditioned me to look for the negative. Of course with this mindset I unconsciously began manifesting self-fulfilling prophesies. That is, without being aware of it, I began setting the patterns for unhappiness. It took me quite some time to realize that I was doing this.
With much alertness to my thoughts, words and actions, I began to slowly change my thought processes. Most interestingly I have the reputation of finding the good in every set of circumstances, no matter how bad they are, no matter how lacking in character the persons are around me; I always find the good. Yet, I did exactly the opposite when it came to me and my reactions.
I began implementing this knowledge into an active response to seeking the positive in every situation and rejoicing over these experiences, rather than lamenting them. I immediately noticed that my “depressive” states became shorter. Whereas in the past I would stay “depressed” for years at a time, this pattern shortened to months, than weeks, than days, then mere hours as I regrouped and developed a positive perspective. Instead of whining for an eternity about all the bad things that were happening to me, I started to focus more on the positive aspects of those experiences.
But it didn’t end there. I meet so many people who are unhappy, so I would share my worse experiences, the lessons I learned from them and how I got over them. The problem with this is that I also shared those experiences with my friends and well wishers. I had a pattern of “see I’m not as screwed up as you think I am because I have undergone all of these horrid things and look, I’m not crazy!” The problem with this is those good friends and well wishers would become unhappy for me. I was creating the opposite effect that I had intended. Instead of their rejoicing in my victories, respecting me for my fortitude and courage, they were feeling sorry for me. Sympathy was never my goal!
In relating some of my horror to a warm and loving friend one day, I became aware that she was actually crying in empathy for me. I was horrified! This was my friend; I know the pain of my experiences, I would not wish it on my worse enemy, yet still, here I was the cause of a friend feeling some of that pain.
I was mortified! At this point, I apologized profusely for her and stated that I did not want her to suffer for my experiences. I realized how quick I was to share the more ugly aspects of my life and determined to be as ready to share the good and fun things of my life. Strangely, I couldn’t think of any.
Now the mind is a very funny thing. It’s like an overgrown forest with all the ideas, memories of everything and the experiences we have. If we visit the same ones all of the time, than there is a well worn path to get get to those places easily; the same as in a forest that has a lot of traffic in a particular area. I wasn’t able to find those positive memories, because the paths to them had become overgrown from lack of use. So taking my machete of determination, I began to slowly cut paths through my forest of mind toward my positive experiences. Little by little, things in the environment, words people say, a picture, and other tiny things, started to become the catalyst for me to remember the happier experiences of my life. I was finally blazing a trail toward happy.
Over the past year, I find myself laughing for no reason. Appreciating things that I had heretofore missed in my wallowing in the mire of the darkness of my life. I could now see the sunbeams brilliantly shining through my forest of memories and the path to happier things has grown clearer, much larger and more easily reached. I have also noticed that the pathway to unhappiness is becoming a little bit more weedy and harder to traverse.
In making the choice to become happy, to share happy memories, to neglect those negative memories, I learned to choose happiness better than I ever could before.
I hope that what I have shared here is the information needed for others to start weeding their happy paths and neglecting the well worn paths of unhappiness, because after all happiness IS a choice.