For the most part, and generally speaking, I am a joyful person. Not necessarily because I have some magical life, but because I choose to be such. People ask me all the time how come I am happy, bubbly, easy-going, laid-back, etc. The answer is easy. I decide to be such. I choose joy. And for the record, I don’t even like the word happy very much. I prefer the word JOY. Happy indicates it is a feeling related to happenings or that your circumstances/environment or events somehow determine your state of ‘happiness’. Joy is just pure joy, and an attitude. I also think of the word JOY as an acronym: Jesus. Others. Yourself. When I choose to live my life with this JOY attitude – and thus prioritize Jesus, then others, then myself .. this is when I am genuinely the ‘happiest’ or most full of JOY.
Don’t get me wrong. I am human. I get angry. I actually have a quick temper and sharp tongue and it can be a problem if I don’t pay attention to this fact. I get frustrated and annoyed just like everyone else. I get sad. I’ve experienced depression. I know what it is like to be in a room full of people and feel lonely. I’ve suffered great loss and experienced intense grief … just like most people on the planet. I’ve been a victim of a violent crime. I just choose not to STAY in those emotional states. Everyone is human. Everyone is going to feel these various emotions, and then some. But how long you stay there, well that is completely up to you. Over the years, I have mastered the art of ‘letting things go’.
Here’s the deal. At the end of your life, imagine there are two columns drawn on a piece of paper. One column is titled the ‘Happy Column’ and the other column is titled the ‘UN-Happy Column’. Every minute of your life that you spend in the UN-Happy column, takes a minute away from the Happy Column. We only get so many minutes on this Earth – and that number is unknown. I am not in the business of wasting my minutes. Unless of course, I’m on Facebook, those minutes are totally wasted, lol.
So get mad. Feel that frustration. Be sad. Steal a few minutes to just cry or scream or rant if you need to do that. Then move on. Let go, and Let God. Easier said than done, I know. Now for my disclaimer: I also completely recognize and realize that depression or anxiety is a very real thing, some people need medication, and some people have tried everything under the sun and nothing works. This is a physical issue, not a Faith issue, and not at all what I am talking about. Those people are not choosing their state of being. That, my friends, is a whole other conversation.
Meanwhile, beyond my ‘Happy Column Theory’ … here’s my unsolicited advice: Pray often. Forgive easily. Appreciate your blessings. Eliminate negative noise, even if that means people. Be picky about what media and input or thoughts/images you allow into your psyche. Laugh a lot, and hard, and I mean the belly gut laughs that make your ribs hurt. Hug people. Be kind. Give compliments. Give to charity. Volunteer. Practice random acts of generosity. Be proactive. Take care of yourself (Mind/Body/Soul). Manage your money wisely. Keep your word. Be responsible. Do what you love. Eliminate clutter. Teach somebody something. Make time to play. Turn off the t.v. Walk outside. And as cliche, as it may sound … take time to smell the flowers.
April 8, 2014