We live in a beautiful time, when artists at the Grammys describe finding success as soon as they decided to listen to their hearts. Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for her record-breaking Album of the Year Award was gracious and a sweet, as expected, but was also wholly empowering to young women who pursue their dreams. And stick with me on this one – Khloe Kardashian’s book encouraged strength of mind and body through persistent determination to work out, fuel your body right, and live an honest life, plus being kind to and forgiving of yourself. And to think I’ve been vapid enough to love her solely for her fiery attitude/teddy bear personality!
So why are we talking about celebrities? Well, because perspective is a beautiful thing. My two hardworking, strong and women-supporting-women examples demonstrate that even when you may have gotten everything you wanted, and at times suffered serious obstacles, choosing to pursue happiness is STILL the best thing around.
It’s certainly tempting at times to curl up in a pink-enrobed ball and bawl, and sometimes that’s exactly what we need. But not usually! We can choose happiness. Don’t get me wrong – life can be seriously overwhelming, anxiety-provoking, cluttered, messy, clumsy, awkward, uncomfortable, and HARD – but as Dumbledore said, “It is our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” For some, the serenity prayer resonates – I took a moment to create the graphic below with the prayer and two photos I took that help me get re-centered.
So whether you’re inspired by Dumbledore, God, or both, let’s admit something, right here, right now. We each have the power. (I GOT THE POWER! I’m picturing Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty and singing in my head, you keeping up?!) I can choose the high road – and not just because it’s the groovy thing to do, but because it’s what’s best for ME!
Nobody here is insisting life is anything remotely close to perfect or painless. In fact, right now two out of my absolutely beloved grandparents are under the weather, with varying degrees of age-related medical concerns. Both of them are, understandably, impatient and a little annoyed with those situations, and I know I’m not the only one who’s worried. But you know what I realized? We have them today. For the record, each of my grandparents are…how do I even describe them? Larger than life, one of a kind, and so awesome at being a grandparent. That includes the ones we’ve lost. And I don’t intend to lose any more of them for quite awhile. One plans to live to 103, and he’s only 89, so obviously he’s got awhile longer to stick around.
My point is that we all have stuff going on. Some of it’s larger than the rest, and some of it feels larger than the rest. But one of the ways I try to keep my cool is perspective. Watching the stars, having a quiet moment with my family, seeking gratitude within myself for what I consider basic – a roof, food, ten fingers and toes – it all makes me feel incredibly peaceful and calm. I choose perspective, because for me, that usually helps me choose happiness!
Warning: Don’t forget REALITY. You may laugh, but choosing happiness may temporarily and utterly without warning blind you to the reality others are experiencing. The key here (shocking as it may be) is balance.
I have been accused of being a Pollyanna and of ignoring the sadness in life, but I actually have been known to vent loudly and cry with the rest of ‘em. I choose to address what I’m feeling when I’m ready (which is usually pretty quickly after I realize what I’m feeling and why) and then I can move on with my life. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s a choice, it doesn’t come naturally – but I keep making the effort to choose happiness, whenever I realize that I need to.
I’m working on listening to myself, like T-Swift and Khloe, and what do you know – I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my live, I’m creating and I feel thoughtful, and I’m loving life. Plus I got a gorgeous new yoga mat and as we all know, shopping=joy sometimes – that’s how it’s been since the invention of shopping. How pretty is this?!
To summarize my soap-box of inspiration, here are my suggestions about how to choose happiness:
- Get some perspective. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, go back to the littlest things and remember what you’re most grateful for. If you’re angry, ask yourself if it will matter in a year; 5 years; 10? (thanks for the tip, Dad!) And if you’re sad, remember what you have today, and will have tomorrow – you will always have more chances to choose happiness, although they take awhile sometimes – just keep coming back to your choice and power to choose.
- Go for a walk. Or run, or bike ride, or do yoga. Do something physical, and as much as I love music sometimes, you get bonus happiness when you sometimes choose to be present with your thoughts and the world around you. Or boogie down, that’s always a good time 🙂
- Read Khloe Kardashian’s book. I’m serious, it’s good stuff. Go Khlo!
- Support others. You know the feeling when you do a good deed and expect nothing in return? I’ve experienced that through volunteering, but on a more personal level, I didn’t until recently. I read that advice and love it. It’s hard to not expect a thank you, especially when it comes to housework 🙂 but the beauty of the concept is that you actually perform that good deed for yourself. Want a cleaner house? Clean up and let it cheer you up (especially with Bruno Mars or Allman Brothers Pandora on), and let that be enough. Want to get ahead at work? Get involved and help others! It’s contagious, and until it catches on, it’s really an awesome feeling.
- Be creative. You had to know this was coming 🙂 This is still new to me, but man it feels great! Don’t you want to feel accomplished, satisfied, productive and happy? Try something that sounds fun to you! For me, as you may have picked up on from my super-subtle blog, those creative outlets are typically cooking, gardening, entertaining people I love, and crafting – coloring and drawing, making gifts, organizing, ahh! That’s my jam and it makes me feel great.
What inspires you to choose happiness? And what works best for you?
Thanks for riding along 🙂