I lived in a dark, dark place for many years after losing my mom to cancer. It took a leap of faith for me to make happiness a priority in my life. I choose happiness with every decision I make, from the simplest (what to wear) to the most difficult (what direction I want my life to go). Yet, there are times when this commitment I made to myself seems impossible to fulfill. Like now.
With my mom’s birthday just around the corner, I find myself in a dark funk again. I’m poo-pooing my ability to choose happiness right now, even when it’s a mantra I genuinely believe. Anyone grieving will tell you that happiness is the LAST thing on their mind when their heart is wrenching with loss. It seems impossible.
Happiness isn’t just a feeling. It’s a lifelong journey. There are times when we’re going to feel deep grief, sadness, anger, fear…and that’s okay because all feelings are important. Denying those negative feelings isn’t helpful. Honoring our feelings, no matter what they are, does help, so long as we don’t get stuck in that dark place for too long.
Making the commitment to living my happiest life, something my mom would be doing for herself if she were here, and, of course, would want for me, is all about choices.
So in my grief-sadness-funk, my way of choosing happiness is to take care of myself. This looks like NOT putting my clean laundry away, letting it sit in the basket another day while I watch my favorite show. It’s eating that piece of chocolate, even though I’m watching my waistline because it brings me comfort. It’s buying my mom’s birthstone earrings to wear because it’s something I would have done for her, and it’s honoring her life in a small way. And it’s also working on finishing my happiness book because it’s a passion project from my heart that brings me joy.
Happiness is indeed a choice, but the way you choose it may not be what you think. You don’t just decide to be happy, and VOILA!, you’re happy! It doesn’t work that way. Choices come with intentions, and those intentions lead to actions that feed your feelings of happiness. These choices, in combination, keep you on your path to a happy life. It’s a process, over time, not instantaneous…nothing worth having is.
So take a deep breath, relax and know that your happiest life is possible – just give yourself a chance. One choice at a time!