I believe in being happy. Each day I find something in that day to be grateful for and then I become happy.
I have been a successful artist and teacher for the last fifteen years. With the recent dramatic economic downturn, art sales have plummeted and I have been unable to pay my mortgage for the last 3 months. I can’t sell the house, because I’m “under water” — I owe more than what the house is worth.
First, I decided fear would not prevent foreclosure. I couldn’t control losing my job and possibly my house, but I could control how I felt. I decided to be grateful for what I had —my health, I still had my home, my friends and family.
Second, I knew I would be happy if I could find a way to pay my bills. I decided to be open to all possibilities.
My daughter has successful pet-sitting business and hired me occasionally as a fill-in sitter, so I started taking more jobs. Even though I wasn’t making what I needed, I was grateful and happy. One day while I was at a client’s house cleaning the kitty litter boxes, he was home and very busy working on his internet business. His partner was due home the next day and he had not had time to clean the house. He asked me if I would consider helping him and offered to pay me.
Now, six months later, I have developed a full-time house cleaning business which not only pays the bills with money left over each month, but found that I enjoy housecleaning! I realize how, in these stressful economic times, most people are overworked and it’s therapeutic for them to come home to a nice clean house. It makes me feel like I am doing something really worthwhile and brings out the artist in me, creating beauty for my client!
At first, I was embarrassed to tell people what I now do for a living. But being embarrassed doesn’t make me happy, so I changed my attitude and now am proud to tell people what I do because I know how important it is. The funny thing is, some of those people I tell have lost their jobs and now want to work for me!
My house problem got solved, too! I investigated the possibility of a loan modification, and hired a company to get the high interest rates on my first and second mortgages reduced for the next five years.
Being happy changes my attitude, keeps me out of fear, helps me find creative solutions to problems, and keeps my grateful. It inspires my priorities about spending, doing what keeps me healthy, my behavior in relationships, and my response to life’s events. Happiness is a choice and it makes all the difference in everything! As the wise song goes, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”!
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.