It’s Monday, and it’s time to re-energize. The start of the week is always a time to set weekly goals, start something new, and reflect on the past. We all need some motivation from time to time, and sometimes it’s best when it comes from a complete stranger with a new perspective you may not have considered.
This week I wish to focus on “getting to happy.” We all go through trying times, and it can often be hard to smell the flowers. To be honest, I was compelled to write this piece because I have been in a place of anger and disappointment because I am uncomfortable with where I am at this moment in life. It seems that nothing is going the way I would like it to go. Lately, I find myself getting upset with the simplest things, like someone cutting me off and pulling into a parking space I was waiting on, or someone taking a long time to order food in the drive-thru. None of these things I have control over, and normally they wouldn’t even bother me. Yet I find my personal frustration level at an all-time high.
We can allow these simple frustrations to consume us, but mental dysfunctions have a way of playing out. These distractions can often affect your physical well-being, and you may even start to feel your body changing. Not only that, you may start to hurt the people around you that you love; whether it be emotionally, mentally or physically. It is at that point that you have to make a decision: do I continue to be angry all the time to the point that my body is aching and no one wants to be around me, or do I stop and smell the roses.
You realize that truthfully you’re angry because you want to be happy. However, happiness is not a result of things going right; happiness it is a result of a choice that one makes in his or her life. Happiness is something chosen in spite of. In spite of situations not panning out as you thought or planned, you choose to look on the bright side. And there is always a bright side because there is always someone in a much more difficult situation. The bright side is that you are alive and capable of making better decisions, trying again, and making changes.
Life is a journey and the terrain is mixed; it will have its hills and valleys, and you must learn to delight yourself in the beauty of climbing and crossing both. As actor Denzel Washington said in one of my favorite movies, Fences, “You got to take the crooked with the straights.”
So “getting to happy” is a choice. In happiness, you find a sense of relief and fulfillment because in happiness there is control. This makes me think of one of the most iconic, fictional characters, Celie from The Color Purple. She had dilemma after dilemma in her traumatic life, incidents happening to her out of her locus of control, yet she somehow found time to stop and enjoy a child’s hand game in an overlooked field of purple flowers. I remember one of her famous quotes, “I may be black, I might even be ugly, but I’m here, I’m here.”
When you feel life is getting overwhelming, and that hill is actually a mountain, and that valley is actually a deep underground cave, there’s a quote by author Charles R. Swindoll that I recite to keep me level: “Life is ten percent what happens to you and 90 percent of how you react to it.”
Choose to be happy today, for it is your choice, not a coincidence. It is not privileged, everyone can experience it.