Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Secrets" to Happiness

A question that I receive often is: How can you always be such an upbeat, optimistic person? This is seen as happiness. To say I'm not happy with life, and that I don't want to spread that happiness to the world would be a lie, I am quite a happy person. And it truly isn't as hard as it seems.

In conversation with a good friend yesterday, we brought it down to a decision. You can decide to be happy. Overall, you can decide to just be happy. It's the decisions that you make in your life in general that allow you to make the large decision to be happy. 

But I didn't wake up one morning and decide to be happy. No, it was more of a subconscious effort on my part. I started to smile more. I found things that interested me. I surrounded myself with people who make me laugh and smile often, and when tears cloud my eyes, they listen patiently and help me make it through until the sun shines once more. These friends that I have, the ones that in essence, I chose to put there, are some of the main reason I am happy. I say I chose them because if I didn't see that they were amazing people, if I didn't realize that they were good, strong individuals, then I would have chosen to remove them from my life. There are friends I once had, that I no longer have...because they just weren't the kind of people that I wanted and needed to surround myself with. There are also people in my life, that didn't make much of an impact in it whatsoever a year ago. An afterthought. Someone I knew from the past. 

I know, it seems selfish, but at the same time, that is human nature. We are all selfish, and that's okay. No one is pure at heart, there is something in their life that they are "selfish" about. Mine is who I surround myself with. These people help make me happy. They bring joy into my life. These friends are the family I have chosen for myself.

"For the first time you can open up your eyes, and see the world without your sorrow. No one knows the pain you left behind. And all the peace you could never find, is waiting there to hold and keep you. Welcome to the first day of your life, just open up your eyes." Open Up Your Eyes- Daughtry

And love. Oh my, love. Love is such an interesting topic because it comes in different forms. The form of love I have for some of my family members is different to the love I have for Kevin which is different to the love I have for my friends. Heck, there are different kinds and degrees of love I have for each of my friends. Spread love. Tell people they look nice. Smile. Laugh! I think my purpose here on Earth is just to spread the love I have for everything. I have a love for life. Every morning when I awake and feel the air moving in and out of my lungs, I place my hand over my heart for a second and feel it beat. Then I thank God for another day on this planet. And I spread some love. I feel as if people are drawn to me just because of the fact that I give off love and joy. It's not that hard to give off positive energy, you just have to find it within yourself. If you don't love yourself, then you won't be able to love others. Find yourself. I spent a while finding myself, my true self, and well, I can't be happier. I am not the same person I was in high school. I am not the same person I was in 2009 with Sam, and I am not the same person I was a year ago. But I have found myself. I am happy with myself. And I can spread the love I have for everything.

But that isn't all that supplies my happiness. It may be a big part, but it isn't everything. There are the decisions I make almost everyday in my life. We all have good and bad parts of the day, no matter how big or small. We all get yelled at by our boss, we all have days where we are tired, where we are cranky, where we lock our keys in our car, where we make mistakes. We all make mistakes. Another thing that is human nature. It's learning from these mistakes, admitting them, apologizing where needed and moving on that makes someone strong...and happy. Yes, I say that now. Because once you get that monkey off your back, once you no longer have negative feelings about something you did in the past, a mistake, you are happier. You move on and find more joy in your life with less worries. And then when I have those bad moments in my life, I make the decision to find the best in every situation. Yes, my boss yells at me, but at the end of the day, I'm going to go home and spend time with my family. Move past that moment, and find something positive to focus your mind on, you'll be happier for it! 

I realized how well I do this a couple weekends ago. I was sitting in my car up in Birch Run, waiting for my friends Abijah and Tanisha to show up, and had my keys in the ignition, but not in all the way. So when I got out, my car's alarm that tells me something didn't go off. So I left my keys in the ignition and locked them in there. I didn't realize it until I was done with my meal, and ended up having to call a towing service to break into my car for me. And I laughed. I laughed! Why? For many, that would tick them off, ruin their day. But I laughed, at myself. You have to have a sense of humor about yourself. I am not a God, I am only human. And letting small things like that ruin my day would be no good. I had had lunch with some of my close friends, the food was good, the talk was even better. Why ruin that with a simple mistake (that cost me $30, but was okay.) I could laugh at myself because it can just happen to anyone. I didn't let it ruin the fact that I was still going to see some of my friends from camp. No, that simple locking the keys in the car and having to wait a half hour for a tow service to break in was not going to ruin my day.

And I do that everyday. When something goes wrong, I find something positive to focus on, even if it means laughing at myself. Being able to laugh at yourself is such a great tool...because we all make mistakes and instead of denying them, laughing at yourself allows you to acknowledge them and move on.

"It's my life and it's no or never. I ain't gonna live forever. I just want to live while I'm alive. My heart is like an open highway. Like Frankie said, I did it my way. I just want to live while I'm alive. It's my life." It's My Life- Bon Jovi

Last thing that's thrown in this mix of being happy, is admitting that you don't know everything. As human beings, we make decisions on the known. Why? Because we fear the unknown. We don't like gray areas. We don't like going into something without knowing how the end is going to come out. We want to at least believe that whatever we are trying to achieve, whatever decision that we making, that we will be successful. We want to feel in control of the situation. But we don't know everything. And you know what, that is okay. I admitted a long time ago to myself, that I don't know everything. Yes, as an adolescent, I learned this fact early. But, I don't ward my life on the known, which for me isn't as much as someone older than me. No, I go into the unknown. I make leaps of faith. Why? Because I learn from them. If they fail, they fail. It's a mistake, and remember what I said about making mistakes? I laugh at myself, I apologize to those who I may need to and I move on. But there's that chance that it's going to be successful, and just as if it was a failure, I learn from it. Why? Because it was unknown territory. If you don't make decisions that have gray area, if you just lead your life by what you don't learn. You don't grow. You stagnate. And we all know that stagnated water starts to reek after a few weeks.

Last night, Zac shared with me a wonderful article that all got these gears grinding. It was from a player of Magic (a game that I have watched, but have not played). And he mentioned several of these things. We have to make leaps into the unknown to learn new things. We have to admit that we don't know everything, and that's okay! It was quite enlightening. But one of the things things that really hit me is when he compared life to a game. We are all playing a game in essence. But we are all playing a different game. Don't be quick to judge others, learn from them, get to know them and grow

" What you don't have, you don't need it now. What you don't know, you can feel it somehow." Beautiful Day- U2 

And be happy. It's a lot easier than it seems. Stop focusing on the negative. When negative emotions come into your life, find a positive emotion to change it to, even if you have to focus on something that hasn't happened yet (but has the possibility to!) I will admit this right here, I have been free of my antidepressants for over a month now. I just got to the point where I didn't feel the need to take them again, and I got rid of them. Yes, I have mornings where I don't want to get out of bed, have no motivation at all. But then I remember that I'm thankful for these breaths and the sheer willpower of that fact rises me from my bed and gets me going on my day. Depression can be beat, it takes a lot of time, and I've spent over 2 years on antidepressants to find the strength and willpower to make it out of the darkness on my own. And I'm winning. Yes, I have bad days. We all do. But the love I have, the friends I surround myself with, the decisions I make in my life, finding the light in each situation, laughing at myself...these help move me out of the dark place that depression attempted to put me.

It's an ongoing journey. Remember when I had the rant on journeys? Well, this is another one I'm still living and breathing. We all have journeys. Don't fear them. Let the gray areas happen. LEARN, my word live, learn and grow!

You'll be a much better person because of it. And happier. This, this is "my" key to happiness.

Happiness is just outside my window. Would it crash blowing 80-miles an hour? Or is happiness a little more like knocking on your door, and you just let it in. Happiness- The Fray

....And now I have the 21st birthday of my boyfriend to celebrate. And celebrate we shall. Oh life, you make everything so so so worthwhile!

Music that I'm in Love With Right Now
1. First of the Year (Equinox)- Skrillex
2. Raise Your Weapon (Noisia Remix)- Deadmau5
3. The Dance- Garth Brooks
4. Open Up Your Eyes- Daughtry
5. Happiness- The Fray
6. Dig- Incubus
7. No Light, No Light- Florence + The Machine
8. Eulogy- Ben Kenney
9. Dreaming With a Broken Heart- John Mayer
10. Bangarand (ft. Sirah)- Skrillex

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