Happiness is a Choice

happiness is a choiceI try so hard not to allow myself to be sucked into the negativity that permeates our society. For whatever reason, I seem to be particularly vulnerable to it. I’ve never been prone to jumping out of bed with a smile, eager to greet the day. My mind tends to jump to the worst possible scenario most of the time. I partially blame my upbringing; my family is very negative. However, the fact is, I’m an adult now and only I have control of my thoughts, actions, and attitudes. Prior to my involvement with Mary Kay, I don’t even think I realized there was another way. My motto for as long as I could remember was “expect the worst and you’ll never be disappointed.” I enviously watched the “optimists,” fully aware that I was a “pessimist,” and came to the conclusion that it must be genetic; some people are just born happy and lucky. I am so thankful that I’ve since learned otherwise.

My favorite thing about Mary Kay (other than how perfect my skin always looks) is the women. The women who work with and around Mary Kay are the most positive, supportive, enthusiastic, Christian women on the planet. Never before Mary Kay had I ever been in an environment like that, barring a few weekend church retreats or whatnot. But these women aren’t just positive, supportive and enthusiastic at a retreat or on Sundays or at special times or events. That’s how they live their lives. That’s how they raise their kids. That’s how they manage their homes, careers and social relationships. These women are phenomenal and I am so blessed to have them in my life to learn from.

These women opened my eyes to what life is supposed to be like. They are the ones who introduced me to positive thinking. They taught me that “what you think about you bring about.” So my “expect the worst” philosophy was creating just that, the “worst” in most situations. They taught me how to feed my mind with positive books, cds and people. They taught me the importance of surrounding myself with “balcony people” and avoiding “basement people.” They helped me to see that I was a “basement person” and desperately needed to change if I had any hopes of being happy and passing on happiness to my children.

Never in my wildest dreams had I ever considered that happiness was a choice. I thought happiness or lack thereof was merely a result of the hand you’d been dealt in life. I knew there must be an exception, as I’d seen and heard of very poor or very sick people with very sunny dispositions. I didn’t know how they got that way. I thought maybe God just made them special so they could be an example of some kind to the rest of the world.

Thanks to meeting my MK mentors, I make every effort to expose myself only to positive people. I only read positive literature. I avoid negative programing on tv. My “friends” on facebook who only post status updates to complain are blocked from my newsfeed. I listen to uplifting music and inspirational speakers on cd. But, as I said earlier, I seem to be so vulnerable to getting sucked back into the negativity. It seems so easy to fall into a “woe is me” mentality. I make a conscious effort to curtail those thoughts with prayers of thanksgiving and praise.

I truly am blessed beyond measure. When looking at my life objectively, I know I have no room for complaint. I have been given so much and am so very fortunate. The fact is, most of us are. If you’re reading this, you most definitely are. Despite our daily struggles, our lives are a cakewalk. Why, then, is our society so negative? There’s evidence of it on it on tv, in the papers and in the general attitudes of most people. What do we have to be so darn unhappy about?

My first thought was, “If I knew the answer to that, I would probably become a very wealthy woman.” But upon further reflection, I think I do know the answer and, unfortunately, it will not make me a wealthy woman. It won’t even make me popular. In fact, upon reading my conclusion, I predict some will discredit this entire entry. What, then, is the reason we are so drawn toward negativity?

Satan.

Yes, Satan. He’s the father of lies. If keeps us convinced that our lives are terrible, awful, unlucky excuses for an existence, how much easier will it be for him to lead us to sin? It must be much harder to convince someone who praises God in good times and in bad to lead a sinful life. Obviously, being human, there will always be some sin in each of our lives, but living on purpose for God tends to rule out some of the bigger ones. That must really make him mad. Because of the materialistic, self-centered and often times negative world we live in, it must make his head reel to witness someone choose to be grateful and positive despite their daily circumstances.

No wonder that “woe is me” voice keeps creeping back in. I’ve deliberately chosen to live my life in a way that is harder for the devil to attack. If he could just get me back to that “expect the worse” place where I constantly make excuses for everything and accept responsibility for little, his job would be much easier. I don’t know about you, but that just makes me even more resolved to cling to positivity and gratefulness. It definitely feels better to live with a positive outlook, so I don’t know why I allow myself to be tempted to revert back to the negative. Somehow in the emotion of the moment, I seem to think it’s easier to just let go and expect the worst, but, clearly, that’s the work of the Father of Lies.

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