This post is inspired by my cousin Shelly who asked me if I had been following Shawn Achor, because a lot of my Facebook posts remind her of his advice on reprogramming your brain for happiness. I had not heard of him prior to her asking. Since she asked, I thought I would share my thoughts on happiness with the interwebs.
Looking back on my childhood, I think I was a fairly happy child. I was raised by a single mother. At one point she married and later divorced. From that marriage I got a brother. I remember tough times, but I don't have feelings of negativity towards those tough times. There is a span of one or two years (when I was about 14) that I thought were terrible, but otherwise life felt pretty good. Part of why I felt happy as a child is because of the awesome support system my mom had. I had good people take care of me while she was working. After her divorce, I spent my evenings taking care of my brother while she worked two jobs. Yes, it did stink, but I have a great relationship with my brother who is about ten years younger than me.
I think most of my life, I have generally been happy and kept a positive attitude. I know there have been circumstances in the past few years that may have derailed me a bit, but I didn't let them keep me down. Life is too short to be miserable and feel weighed down. We all have stuff that can and (will if you let it) hold you back from happiness. It is all in how you choose to handle the situation. I realize that being unhappy got me nowhere fast. It was a sinkhole of negativity. When I came to grips with this, I started retraining my brain for positivity. Things started to change. Yes, it was only my outlook at first, but soon it was the things around me as well.
I did have to consciously rid myself of the negativity and anything that was holding me back. It was a slow but worthwhile process. And with each step, I attracted more positivity around me. Do I think my life is perfect now? It is far from it, but I am choosing to be happy with what I have. Happiness has gotten me farther in life than being unhappy. It is when I am happy that I am able to drive successfully towards my goals.