Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Choosing Happiness

There is this blog I love to read. She posts a lot of things that I very strongly agree with, but have a lot of trouble putting into action in my daily life. She puts out ideas and suggestions that I really WANT to go along with, but are a big challenge for me.

I actually like that.

So lately, there have been these posts about traits that happy people have. The most recent post was that Happy People Learn to Cope.

This one struck a chord with me more than others because I am not always a happy person, but I am a much (much, much, much) happier person than I was when I was younger. Those times I am a happy person, it's because I have learned to (and am remembering to) cope.

Everyone has their stuff. Some people have big bad terrible stuff. Some people have smaller stuff. Whether someone's stuff is big or small does not make or break their life though. Some people seem to be drowning stuff. Every day there is a new thing dragging them down. Other people seem to skip through life and it appears they have no stuff at all.

But really, EVERYONE has stuff. You can't avoid the stuff. What you CAN do is choose what to do with your stuff. You can snuggle down and get cozy with it and wrap it around you like a badge of honor: "Hey! LOOK AT ALL MY STUFF! I have A LOT of STUFF! WAY MORE stuff than you!" You can pretend your stuff's not there even though it's piling up: "Stuff? I don't see any stuff? Nothing but unicorns farting rainbows around here. We are all perfectly perfect."

Or, you can learn to cope. You see the stuff, you accept the stuff. And you move on from the stuff. You don't deny that a sucky day--or year(s)--has descended upon you, but you find a way to CHOOSE happiness in spite of that. Coping will look different for everyone. From something as simple as taking the time to sit down outside alone to just breathe to something more complex like choosing to get professional help because your stuff is drowning you.

It's easy to look at happy people and think, "hmrph! they just don't have any real stuff to deal with! Look, they only have piddly stuff!" Challenge yourself to start from the assumption that their stuff is real and is big (because to them, it definitely is) and focus instead on how they're coping with it. Then work on ways that help YOU cope with YOUR stuff.

Personally, I always liked to wallow down in my stuff when I was younger. Really get in there and soak in it for a while. Build it up even bigger than it was and hold onto it as long as possible. Now, I try to cope. I'm not always successful, but I'm getting better with practice.

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