This I Believe

Lenora - Kennewick, Washington
Entered on April 14, 2007

This I Believe…

That I, and only I, am responsible for my happiness and that happiness is a choice.

I’m not sure when I began to understand that other people, or money, or fame, or clothes, or that special job, or any other external thing, would not make me happy, but that my happiness could only come from within me. Once I grasped that concept, my life began to change in remarkable ways.

The first thing I worked on was the ‘inner conversations’ I had with myself. When I became aware of negative thoughts, when I put myself down, when I called myself or anyone else ‘stupid’ or ‘dumb,’ I challenged my inner speaker. Like many journeys, this one began at a slow and plodding pace, but the longer I stayed true to the path, the easier the path became, and the faster I traveled it.

Where once anger was my reaction of choice, calmness began to take over, and then humor and outright laughter came to my aid. I chose to be happy.

One day, years ago, I had just put in 20 hours of work to finish off a 90-hour week. My frustration level was high. Then, I noticed tacked to someone’s cubicle wall a cartoon that said: “Thou shalt find joy in each new day, even if thou must search until sunset.” I stopped, I laughed, and I copied. It has been with me ever since. I choose to find the joy in each new day. I choose to find the happiness. Even on the days when I must search until bedtime.

Do I still get angry? Yes, but not like before. Anger hides fear, and I try to stop and figure out why I am afraid. Once I know what and why I fear, then I can deal with it. Do I still get sad? Yes, when sadness is an appropriate emotion. Do I still cry? Of course. But of all the emotions, I like being happy the best. I like finding the ‘happy’ in other people, and discovering how much ‘happy’ can be shared. I frequently sign my emails and letters with “Laugh Long and Often!”

I choose to be happy. It may not always be an easy choice, but it is a choice filled with goodness – like no-calorie cheesecake. It is a choice I can live with.