I decided to be happy. I made this decision a couple of years back after hearing Dr. Phil say to a guest: “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Although the doctor was not talking to me, I was intrigued by his inquiry. So much so that I repeatedly mulled his question over in my mind; do I want to be right or happy? Well, if you read the first sentence of this post, you already know that I chose the latter. Choosing to be happy is easy enough, right? All you have to do is start being happy. NOT! The fact of the matter was choosing happiness, for me, meant changing my perceptions about others. To be more specific, I would need to stop worrying about what other people thought about me. Better yet, I would need to stop worrying about what I thought other people thought about me. Sound convoluted? Don’t worry; I’ll simplify it, just stay with me.
Basically, I used to be easily offended. I would analyze every little thing that someone said or didn’t say. I strongly studied a person’s facial expressions looking for the slightest physical cue that he or she disapproved of me. Believe this; I could detect a person’s ‘disdain’ a thousand miles away. Then, suddenly, the shoe jumped onto the other foot! No seriously, one day a casual friend approached me and told me that I had offended her. Before I responded, I immediately scanned my mind in an effort to mentally locate my last interaction with her. Ding, Ding! I found the scene in my mind but I couldn’t find my ‘offense.’ At any rate, my friend proceeded to say that she was offended because I ‘brushed her off’ when I told her that I needed to get someplace. In essence, she took umbrage at my need to cut our conversation short (Thanks to Mr. Marion Wash, I can use “umbrage” in a sentence :-)). Back to my point, truth be told, my first mind said to ask her if she had lost her damn mind (Thanks to Ms. Eva, I can also use “damn” in a sentence :-)). But instead, I listened to her vent and apologized for the ‘error’ that she had imagined. Do I sound salty?
Anyway, my friends, I had an epiphany that day. I instantly realized that I had spent most of my life finding offense where there was none-just like my friend had done.
After thinking more about my friend’s accusation and my own internal madness, I learned five valuable lessons:
Lesson 1: My friend’s issue with me was more about HER than it was about ME
Lesson 2: Analyzing and studying people is tiring as hell and I simply cannot
Lesson 3: Most people are NOT really thinking about me, her, him, them or you
Lesson 4: Even if I can prove that a person is thinking about me in a negative way, who gives a shit? (There’s Ms. Eva again!)
Lesson 5: I can be mature and grant any ‘offender’ a pass; but if they keep it up, I MUST banish them from my Queendom!
In short, I have come to realize that there’s no telling what factors might be influencing a person to act the way that he does. Maybe someone failed to offer a greeting because he was engaged in deep, serious thought-not because he doesn’t like me. One thing is for sure, while I can’t control the thoughts of others, I can control mine. Once I fully understood this, I was well on my way to happiness.
As an aside, if you are married, or in a relationship, the sooner you learn these lessons, the better. Also, phrases like “yes, honey!” and “You’re right baby!” can buy ten tons of peace and happiness in your home.
So, with all that said, I am into my happiness. How will you get into yours?