Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Choosing happiness over fear

The other day I realized that I'm beginning to see the good in every situation, instead of worrying about the bad. I've always tried to do that, but lately it's been effortless, and it's made me happier. My boyfriend's family has been going through a rough time. There's been a lot of pain and a complete lack of communication, and it's been hard watching him struggle through it. But when they were pulling together and trying to deal with the death of the family's patriarch, all I could think was, "There is so much strength here, among all these people who deep down really love each other. Why are they getting lost in pain?" And I realized, you have the choice to choose to see the good, no matter how overwhelming the bad may be.
When it comes right down to it, all "bad" situations come down to fear. A loved one dies, and there is an instant sadness. But there is also an instant fear, that you won't be able to cope, that you won't be able to handle all the things that suddenly need to be handled, and there is a sense that the tasks before you are insurmountable. But when everyone around you is in pain including yourself, stop and look. Everyone is around you. You are all dealing with the same loss, the same pain, the same fear. It will be months or years before the loss doesn't sting quite so much. But there is a sense of unity, of love, that strikes up almost instantly. Thrive on that unity. Choose to see the strength around you, rather than being overwhelmed by fear. A drop of water is hardly enough to survive, but an ocean can create life itself.
The same principle applies to every situation, no matter how small. I'm sitting here today, alone, in a quiet house and somewhat afraid to go for a walk. SAD strikes again. But, rather than sitting on the couch and decomposing like I would have done a scant year ago, I've chosen to see the productivity that can be created by my situation. I have a house that desperately needs to be cleaned, and a whole world's worth of time to do it in. Rather than choosing the ease and comfort of laziness, I plan to choose the momentary discomfort of doing something about it. The payoff is enormous. And when I'm finished, I realize that the discomfort wasn't nearly as uncomfortable as I imagined it'd be. Recognize the exaggerations your mind plays out. Will it really be that hard to get up and do the dishes? And how great will it feel when it's done? Choose to see the advantage, not the struggle.
Every situation has two sides, positive and negative. Sometimes one is vastly outweighed by the other, but they are both still there. You can't ignore the negative, and you can't only have the positive. But you can choose which one influences you. Take the lessons the situation has to offer, and move on. Choose happiness, love, productivity, positivity. Accept the negative, but recognize your ability to choose what stays with you.

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