Happiness is a choice. Not for all, but for those of us who are fortunate enough to be in full control of our emotional well-being, it is a choice that we make the moment we open our eyes each morning. For the most part, I’ve always considered myself a persistently positive person but as of late, I’m feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders and realize the strength to lift it cannot be found through toying with dumbbells or equipment at the gym. The power to break through comes from within. It often requires taking a difficult and critical look at yourself and opening your eyes to the toxins that have the ability to bring you down.
I realize that I am incredibly blessed with abundant love and opportunity, but yet sometimes, I let life’s stressors get in the way of recognizing those blessings. Strangely enough it was my dermatologist, who typically rambles on and on about nothing of importance, that made me stop and think about the changes I needed to make in life. Without any prompting, he went into a lecture on how we are the only ones to blame if we’re unhappy. If someone constantly gets under your skin, you’re the one that keeps interacting with them and giving them the power to do so. If work is wearing on you, you’re the one preventing yourself from finding new opportunities. If someone cuts you off on the road, it’s up to you to decide if it’s necessary to blare your horn at them in range or to just keep on driving along with a smile on your face. He explained that we are the only ones that can control whether the little things, or actions of others, get to us.
That conversation is the only one I’ve had with the wacky doctor that ever made any sense at all, but it was a message than dug far deeper than the skin he specializes in. In a month where we celebrate the things we’re grateful for, I’m taking a new approach to recognizing and realizing those gifts.
I’m in no way shape or form a morning person (or a night person, really), but I’m forcing myself out of bed an hour early each morning for a period of reflection. With a cup of coffee in hand, I’ll begin each day reading devotion from Joel Osteen’s Every Day a Friday, along with the associated Bible scripture. Then, I’ll take a moment to think about something that took place on the previous day for which I’m thankful. While we can’t let the little things the kooky doctor described get to us, we mustn’t also forget about the positive little things because sometimes, they can have the biggest impact on our happiness.
The holidays are a perfect reminder of the things that propel us forward in life. If you’ve been feeling down or disconnected, I encourage you to make time to rediscover the things that make you whole. Feel free to come along with me on this journey and share your experience!