The principal at my school reads the morning announcements at the beginning of 2nd period every day. And every day he ends with a similar message to the students. His closing line is usually something along the lines of “remember, you have the choice every day to be excellent. Make today great. The choice is your’s.”
I’ve heard this message pretty much 5 times/week since the middle of August. For some reason, the words really hit me today. I don’t know if I was just paying closer attention to the announcements than I usually do, but 2.5 hours later I find myself still thinking about them. Is it really that simple? Can I just decide that I’m going to have a great day and POOF! it happens?
Was wishing for happiness against one of Genie’s rules?
The more I’ve thought about, the more I think there may be some truth to Mr. Principal’s message. I’m not entirely certain it’s quite as easy as he makes it sound, for sometimes bad things happen and we have no control over them. But I do think we have a choice as to how we respond to situations, and that can have a pretty major impact on the happiness we feel throughout the day.
Maybe this isn’t making much sense. Let me provide an example. A couple of weeks ago I was feeling really sad about ending my engagement and losing what I thought was the love of my life. I felt bad talking to my friends and family (I know they would have gladly supported me, I just feel like I’ve taken too much of their attention with my problems) so I turned to the internet for support. I first went to a Nar-Anon site and read board posts from other people who have family/loved ones with addiction problems. Reading these posts made me feel much worse. As I read, I found myself reliving every bad memory of finding out about my ex’s drug use. It made the sorrow grow rather than making me feel better.
Next I came to WordPress. I wanted to find blogs that were written by people that I could empathize with. I ended up searching for pretty negative tags like “break-up,” “addiction,” “anger,” “sadness,” and “depression.” Not surprisingly, the resulting posts I read did very little to make me feel better. It was at this point that I realized something. While it would be nice to find someone who can empathize with my situation, do I really expect this person to make me feel better? If someone came to me and told me she had just gone through the same thing that I did, I wouldn’t have words of comfort to offer. I would probably be pretty negative and cynical. Instead of helping her, I would spend my time reliving what I went through, complaining about how men/relationships suck, and basically throwing a major pity party. It would be like the blind leading the blind.
I completely shifted gears and started searching for blogs with tags like “hope” and “empowered” and “single.” I’m trying to surround myself with people who realize that life can be hard but are not defeated or bitter; instead, they can see the hope for tomorrow.
I chose happiness that day. Of course, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There is still some hurt and pain (and I assume there will be for awhile) but I can make choices to actively fight those negative emotions.
Like I mentioned at the beginning, we can’t always control when bad things happen. We can, however, always control our response to those situations. It won’t be easy all the time. Hell, I can’t even promise that it will be easy even half of the time. But it is possible. It’s all about attitude. I have the power to make choices that will make me a happier person, and so do you. Life’s tough enough the way it is, so my advice on this Wednesday morning is to choose happiness. It makes things a little bit easier 🙂