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Choosing Happy after Not-So-Happy Endings

choosing happyThis week 3 people sent me messages on Facebook to say that they were unfriending me.

Why?

I’m too happy. (Apparently they don’t like that.)

I really just had to laugh. (Which may have proved their point!) This isn’t the first time I’ve been told that. It makes me laugh because actually, I’m not really a very naturally happy person.

Because people often see me as a happy person, those who haven’t known me very long or very well are often surprised to learn that I struggled with severe depression and several suicide attempts in my teens and twenties.

Or to learn that I had a fiancé who died. And that our daughter was born still. And that I had another daughter who died by miscarriage.

For much of my life I wasn’t a very happy person. I’m actually a bit of a pessimist and cynic by nature.

I made a conscious choice to be happy. And I’ve worked my ass off for my happiness.

I think the biggest misunderstanding about happiness is that everything in one’s life has to be going “right” or perfectly for them to be happy.

That’s hooey.

If that were true, no one would be happy. Life is a work in progress and mine’s no different.

Lots of pieces of my life aren’t how I want them yet. They are perfectly in process. And clearly, given the losses in my life, I’ve had a number of not-so-happy endings.

I still choose happiness, even after my not-so-happy endings.

Happiness doesn’t mean you don’t experience other feelings too. I still get sad and angry and scared and confused.  Part of happiness is experiencing the fullness and complexity of life. So, I allow myself to feel all of these emotions when they arise.

For a while. Then I choose to find something that brings me back to happy. I find a new way to look at the painful situation. Or make up a new story about it. I look for the simple pleasures of life – a vase of tulips, the way the sun comes through the trees, laughing with a friend, the funny expressions my cat makes, or a good piece of chocolate.

I choose this over and over and over every single day.

Happiness isn’t a gift bestowed upon the rare and few. It’s something to look for, work for, and choose. Choosing happiness isn’t a one-time event. It’s a daily practice. Hour by hour. A minute by minute choices.

It can take work to train oneself to be happy oriented. There were times I didn’t think I’d ever really be able to do it consistently. It can be exhausting.

But misery is exhausting too. And it’s a lot more fun to be happy and tired then miserable and tired!

So, yes, I am happy. I’d love you, and everyone else, to be happy, too.

And if that feels like too much, you’re free to unfriend me, too 🙂

I’ll be happy either way.

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