Monday, May 11, 2015

Don't (Choose) Worry, Be (Choose) Happy!

I used to be a pinball.

Now I choose to be happy.

Once upon a time, I was at the whim of whatever feelings wafted their way through my heart.  This meant that if someone was mean to me or cut me off on the freeway I'd have a 'bad day'.  If I spent a day with my friends and we had a good time I'd have a 'good day'.  It all depended on how the universe was aligned, how much attention was paid to me or not, what the weather was like... and it was horrible.  I learned way too late in life that this is no way to live.

Until I had you guys.  Then it occurred to me that if I was being a Gloomy Gus too often you might get the impression that this was a viable way to be an adult.  Conversely, if I chose happy, upbeat, optimistic then maybe you would grow up to be such an adult.  Life is just better when you are upbeat, no matter what is going on around you. 

I am not saying this is all that easy.  But I would guess a far sight easier if you start now than when you are well into adulthood.  Misery is a well worn groove and once you get stuck in it, getting out takes tremendous effort.  There is a physiological reason for this - whatever thoughts are running around in your brain, your brain will seek to make true.  So, if you start with a thought "This is going to be a lousy day" your brain will filter out anything that might make the day good and focus instead on things that will make it lousy.  Because your brain wants to be right.  This is where fights come from.  It's really difficult to admit that what you thought was wrong, even to yourself.

I wish that someone had pointed this all out to me, that I made my mind up, that no one else did, and that I got to choose what that looked like.  I had to go searching for that understanding and it took years, which was a bummer because, and here is why being happy is important, you just get way more done when you are happy than when you are down.  And people take advantage of you when you're down.  That is a hard truth we will talk about at some other time, but being down, being depressed, sad - looks like uncertainty and weakness.  And all the predators out there are looking for people just like that. 

Not that happiness is the panacea for all of life's ills, not at all.  But it is a position of strength.  And, frankly, life is just better.  So, every day my loves, decide that you are going to be happy, that life is good, and that you want to be fully in it.

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