Article by Wendy McCance
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself the question, who is in charge of my happiness? have you ever felt that your work environment decides how happy you are? What about your husband, wife or kids? Maybe the way your friends treat you alters how you feel about yourself. If this sounds familiar, please read on.
No matter what is going on around you, there is only one person who can decide how happy you will be, that person is you.
My daughter got into a fight with a friend over the weekend. She is part of a close-knit group of girls. If any of the girls are at odds with each other, the girls will decide who they feel is right and who is wrong and go about picking sides. Sounds awful, but it’s typical middle school behavior unfortunately.
My daughter had some real anxiety about going to school on Monday. She didn’t want to have to see her friends. She felt that they would make her feel miserable and she wanted to avoid that feeling of being isolated and lonely.
I spoke with her about how she couldn’t hide from her problems and that throughout her life there would be conflict that she would have to face head on. I then mentioned that she could decide how she felt about what she would be facing. She could choose to allow those girls to take charge of her happiness, or she could grab control and decide how she was going to feel..
There are two types of people. The first type of person is guided by emotion. They absorb all that is around them and allow other people and the situations they face to decide the fate of their happiness. If a boss yells at them, they have a rotten day. If their car breaks down, they are miserable because of their bad luck.
The second type of person understands that they are in control of how they choose to feel each day. Bad things happen, but these people choose to deal with those bad moments rationally without allow themselves to breakdown over those bad moments.
When I spoke with my daughter, we went through different scenarios. What was the worst thing that could happen when she went back to school? For her, it was that she would be confronted by the girls and that they would say mean things to her. I asked her if she was comfortable allowing those girls to decide how bad she would feel? Did she want them to control how she felt at school?
I explained that they might say bad things, but unless there was truth to their words that she should face and work through, there was no need to take a second more to give them any type of attention.
My daughter’s job was to go to school to learn, not socialize. Socializing was just a perk of her educational experience. Allowing anyone to interrupt why she needed to be at school and disrupted her thoughts with negative ones were choices she could choose to block out.
As it turned out, it wasn’t her best day ever. My daughter came home from school annoyed with the girls. She wasn’t in a bad mood and she didn’t break down in tears. She had decided to mainly ignore the girls. She put into practice what we discussed and sat with other kids she was friends with at lunch. At one point she went down to the office with one of the girls she was at odds with and they worked through their disagreement with the school counselor. She paid attention in class and had minimal homework because she was able to get most of her work done at school. She took control.
Everyday, challenges are faced by everyone. There will always be some disagreement or some unfortunate event that could bring down your day. All you can do is take responsibility for yourself. You alone can decide the outcome of your day. You can turn bad moments around by looking at them rationally, dealing with them, but not internalizing them. Allowing your emotions to play into those bad moments only makes you feel out of control, and with good reason, you are allowing factors outside of yourself to dictate your feelings. Happiness in life comes from our own doing. Each experience is a change to learn and grow stronger. Sure everyone will have a bad day. No one is able to completely block out their feelings and stay happy all of the time. You can increase your happiness though by remembering that you control your own thoughts. You alone have the power to decide the fate of your happiness. No one can take that away from you unless you give it up yourself.
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