I have been reminded of something I learned years ago this week. Happiness is a choice. Now I don’t mean this flippantly but I do believe it. We are allowed to feel sad, to wallow, to indulge in self-pity; in fact I would argue that it is healthy to do so from time to time, to remind us of what is important, but we shouldn’t take up residence there.
In 2008 I planned my demise, right up to how I would do it. The only thing that stopped me was guilt. Guilt that I would be impacting someone else’s life in a way that they truly didn’t deserve. And so I pulled myself out of what was a very deep and very dark hole, and I built my life forward. And for the most part I have never been back into the bottom of that hole. I occasionally put my head in to make sure everything is alright, but my whole self has not been there since.
And I think that’s okay.
And so in the last week or so, as I have felt a deep sadness, an entrapment in my own choices, the universe conspired to shake my life up. At first I sobbed piteously on my lounge but was reminded quite quickly that I wasn’t alone. The failure I had been feeling, the belief that I was disappointing every one around me, was diminished by a timely reminder from one of my closest friends who listed everything that I was succeeding at. The list was beautiful and given in such a pure way.
It becomes so easy to listen only to the negative voices in our heads, to drown out anything positive, that it becomes coomfortable, like a second skin. But it is so important to shut those voices down when they no longer serve us. And in the last couple of weeks I had forgotten that. I stopped feeling grateful and felt just plain miserable, focusing only on what was wrong rather than what was right.
And then I started listening to the universe and the voices of love and genuine caring that were coming my way, the opportunities to change my life, shake it up literally from the foundation, and I decided to smile.
I decided to.
It was a choice.
After no real sleep on Tuesday night and lots of tears, I decided sadness was finished for this week and I needed to paste that smile on, open my heart and ‘smell the roses’ until it was real and it wasn’t an effort anymore.
And I feel better. Truly. Felt liberated for the first time in a month or so. And it was good.
I realised though that I have been training myself to feel the happy and the gratitude since 2008 because I had decided I was going to learn to control my depression, and I was never going to commit to suicide again, not even a whisper of a thought of it. And for the most part that has been successful.
The first episode of The Newsroom (cannot believe it was not renewed) is titled “We just decided to” and I think it is an apt philosophy for life. If we decide to do something, to achieve something, we shall succeed in some form. Commitment to the cause is vital for success. And we are all capable of that commitment and that success. We just need to lower the volume on the negative voices induced by fear and do it anyway.
It is possible.