This I Believe

Anda - Sterling Heights, Michigan
Entered on March 26, 2007

I believe in being in control of your happiness. Yes, happiness is an emotion that fluctuates like a rollercoaster, but whether you’re at the peak or on your way down depends on you. But you may be thinking, “Anda, do you know how tough it is? Do you know how many factors are working against me when I’m trying to be in control of my happiness?” The answer I give you is yes. I know. I know the frustration of being enamored with your significant other and breaking up. I know the feeling that you’re never going to be happy again, because they were the reason you smiled. I am familiar with the rage you feel when some idiot doesn’t use their turn signal, or tailgates you. I also know that it’s easier to give a thumbs up in the rear view mirror than it is to flick them off. For me, this realization came in the form of small things, and because of it, I am a better person. When faced with a difficult situation, it’s just as draining to be kind than rude.

Now that you know why you should be in control of your happiness, you might be wondering “How do I do this?” First, think small. Don’t assume happiness is expensive or large. For me, it comes in the form of an unexpected nap, a post-it on my car door from my best friend, a heads up penny. I believe in laughing until your stomach hurts, in walking barefoot on cold grass in the summer, in finding comfort wearing your favorite sweatshirt.

Sometimes you encounter a person who impacts, or even changes your life. Naturally, their opinions and actions will affect you, some in positive ways, and others in not so positive ways. When this used to happen to me, it threw me off guard like you wouldn’t believe. One day I’d be self-confidant and sure of myself, the next I’d be a pathetic mess because of a conversation gone wrong with my boyfriend. Needless to say, this affected me negatively. My happiness was dependent on his. He came first, and somewhere in this liaison, I lost myself. Instead of complementing each other, I had tried to make us similar to the point of unhappiness. I couldn’t imagine feeling any worse than I already did- and then we broke up. I felt foolish that I was so “unhappy” before. This, this was unhappy. I had no desire to do anything. Friends coddled me, my parents said I’d get over it. It wasn’t until my cousin came home from college one weekend and talked to me that I got it. She was so blunt; it wasn’t like anything anyone had said to me before. She said I was dismal, that she felt sorry for me, but not that we broke up, that I was acting this way. Suddenly, I was ashamed. I’d rather be with someone who I let dictate my happiness? I want to be miserable almost always? I’m still, to this day, not sure why it took me so long to see clearly.

To me, being the keeper of my happiness means remembering you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, that the secret to happiness is having more good days than bad, and knowing you’re responsible for the number of each.