“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” Abraham Lincoln
Growing up, I think we all heard the phrase “Happiness is a choice.” While we might have agreed with that statement, we were never taught happiness comes from within, so we spent most of our younger years looking for this “happiness” guy. We tried to find dude in friendships. We probably looked for him/her during recess every time we tried to play with the cool kids. Some even looked for him/her in their lunch kit, when they opted to give their favorite snack to their lunch partner. From the beginning, most people sought this feeling from other individuals.
For me, as I got older, validation became my new happy. It didn’t matter if the affirmation was coming from peers, adults or even younger kids that watched me do something great (in their eyes). Whether it was a compliment about my shoelaces being tied to perfection, being an awesome athlete or a highly intelligent student, every compliment received gave me pleasure. Unfortunately, my survival started to depend on someone else’s approval of me. And this led to a straight path to me becoming my worst enemy. I was very critical of myself, always looking for flaws to perfect, seeking the greatness in me…to show it off to others. My “happiness”…
During college, I met two of the most awkward but inspiring young ladies when we became roommates. One day, they came up with the genius idea to make a T-Chart and list all of our positive qualities on one side and our negative elements on the other side. The catch was, your positive characteristics had to outweigh your negative traits. We spent all day trying to complete this task. This opened our eyes to how badly we condemn ourselves. We ended this activity by sharing our lists and adding our very own positive thoughts to each person’s list.
Twenty two years later, I start every single year completing this task. I start my list off with physical distinctions because I think when you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you accomplish more. I am continuously learning things that are favorable about me. I have accepted that I am designed differently and that in itself has brought self satisfaction. Twenty two years ago, I found out my happiness had been stored away in the back of my mind. I had to bring “him” to fruition by changing my thoughts and feelings about myself. People often question how and why I do so many things alone. And my response is, “I am not alone. I am content and at peace with my “happiness.”