Monday, September 14, 2015

Practicing Positivity: Happiness is a Choice (A Short Tale)

Okay so I feel like I must be living under a cloud.  Within the last 24 hours I lost my wedding band, been treated like a secretary because of my gender, and now when I am headed to my first ever blogging conference (Blogalicious), it seems like the fates are against me.  The Story:  So I leave the house this morning still some what demoralized because I can't find my ring, (thank god my husband has such a positive attitude about it), realized the gas tank was only half full, and that I need to get cash.  So I decide to go to a gas station near to the place where I have to get on the highway.  I get there and as I am filling up the tank I realize one of my back taillights is literally hanging out and needs to be taped, at a minimum.  I go inside to get cash and to inquire if they have any  tape.  They don't, so now I am in front of the ATM and the attendant tells me the ATM doesn't work.  Mind you, I am trying to do all of this really quickly so I can get ahead of traffic, like that is even possible on a work day in the DMV, but nonetheless I tried.  Thankfully across the street is another gas station, so I decide to try my luck at gas station #2 in terms of getting cash and seeking tape.  Again no tape but at least I got some cash and I am off again, taillight still hanging out.   A little more behind schedule than I want to be, but I will try to make time up on the road.  I head down the road to the place where you begin to merge onto the highway, and my GPS says "moderate traffic up ahead" This moderate traffic added another 10 minutes to my trip, but I am undeterred.  I've already called the hubby a few times at this point to check in, vent, and to keep him apprised of the situation, mostly just to tell him about the taillight and my fear that it will fly off when I am en-route to the conference.  I am finally out of VA and heading around DC via the beltway and am into Maryland at this point when the car starts sputtering, surging, racing and all of the lights on the dashboard are flashing on and off, I know this isn't good.  I'm thinking it might be battery related, so I pull out the car charger, I have my phone plugged into, thinking it might be doing something to the battery.  When I do, the car's functionality seems to improve.  I then keep going saying in my head "I just want to get there, I just want to get there" and I am on the verge of tears due to frustration.  I drive another five minutes with everything turned off, no radio, no car charger, no ac, and the sputtering, surging and racing starts happening again.  I decided to get off the road at that point and that is where I end up, pulled over at a random gas station in Silver Springs, MD, still 40ish miles from the conference, waiting for my hubby to get there to help me out.  Now there is a range of emotions I could justifiably be feeling at this point including anger, frustration and disappointment but oddly and incredibly, I feel blessed and grateful.
I strongly believe you are responsible for your own happiness, and that being happy is a choice.  This doesn't mean things can't be stressful, irritating, frustrating and overwhelming at times.  Negative emotions are easier to get sucked into than positive ones, at least that is the case for me.  I believe you have more control over how these external influences can affect you than you may initially be aware of.  For instance when I hit traffic the first time I used it as an opportunity to call my husband to vent about how despite my best laid plans, s*it was going sideways.  He heard me out, listened to me, and I felt better.  We hung up.  Five minutes later I called him back to apologize for being so negative and told him that I was going to choose to look at things differently.  

Instead of feeling upset about circumstances beyond my control that unfortunately impacted me negatively, I chose to feel blessed to be in a position to even have this type of problem, as in I have a car, I have a cell phone to call for help, I have someone who cares on the other end of the phone.  Everyone throws around the term "first world problems"  all the time, a missing wedding band and a messed up taillight certainly qualify as such.  In that moment I decided to choose happiness and acknowledge the good amidst the bad and not let the setbacks "steal my joy".

In that situation, thinking in a positive way was contagious, once I shook off the stresses of the morning's ordeal, I began to realize even more positives that I was unaware of until I shifted my mindset, like the fact that I was not at work that day, had gotten into a pair of skinny jeans I haven't been able to fit for some time, was going to see some old friends I hadn't seen in a while, the fact that my gel manicure looked really good.  These little positive things are blessings and my ability to turn around the negative thoughts and emotions I was feeling into positive ones was something I hope to make a practice.  As soon as I stopped thinking negatively and shifted my mindset I felt an immediate change in my body as well.  My shoulders went down, I stopped frowning and started smiling, that pent-up frustrated feeling I had inside went away and I just felt better, more relaxed, clear, open and ready.

I am going to pledge to myself that I will "practice positivity" and conscious gratitude for 30 days from this point so that it becomes my new habit, will you join me?  Let's be happy, life is too short to live in any other way.

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