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?
I believe that each of us plays a specific role in our family. In my family, my role is ‘entertainer/storyteller.’ Even as a toddler, I would stand in the midst of a room full of people and babble incessantly! My uncle, the ‘bon vivant’ (life of the party), would cheerfully egg me on. My parents, who were relatively quiet, would watch in horror as I danced and sang my way all over the house. Now if you were to ask my mom and dad where I got this ‘talent’, they would say “Oh she got that from Leroy!” Surprise! Leroy is the uncle who was egging me on.
Anyway, let’s move our attention away from me, Uncle Leroy and all of our foolishness so that I can tell you about my cousin Ron, aka ‘The Professor.’ As a child, Ron was that cat who sat in the back of the room watching everything but saying nothing. That doesn’t sound like much of a professor, huh? Well, as they say, still waters run deep! Even though he wasn’t talking much, he was, most assuredly, thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking! So while I was running my mouth, he was quietly making observations and formulating theories.
As children, Ron and I really didn’t have much in common. Remember, I was Princess Running Mouth and he was…..NOT. There was also a bit of an age difference. In addition, we lived in different cities so we rarely saw each other. However, all of that would change for the better.
When I was twenty-something, Ron, who was in the U.S. Air Force, was stationed at a base about 30 miles south of where my parents and I lived. His mom, my dad’s sister, called to let us know that “Ronnie” was nearby so we immediately made the connection. By this time, Ron had traveled the world, having served tours in San Antonio, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Best believe that ‘The Professor’ was now in full swing! His work, education and travel experiences had helped him to develop a great deal of insight and knowledge on various topics. Now, let’s hit the ‘pause’ button! Our grandparents, Mrs. Annie Maude and Mr. Leroy, had five children-not one dummy in the bunch- grand and great-grandchildren included. Knowing this, I considered myself to be pretty sharp; I had a couple of degrees and had engaged in academic debates with some of the best of ‘em. BUT Ron took the cake and the bakery! Okay, so let’s hit the ‘play’ button and continue with the story! Seriously, Ron and I would have these long intellectual talks and I was right there with him…until I wasn’t. Homeboy would have to ‘drop back down’ to help me catch up. I wasn’t used to that but I loved it! Trust me, during those days, we were always together.
Unfortunately, my time with Ron came to a halt when he retired from the military and moved back to his hometown. I missed him so much! He had become more like a brother to me than a cousin. That said; whenever I got the chance, I told everyone I knew about Ron and how deep he was. Truth be known, I loved the way his mind worked but I failed miserably at trying to recall the things that he had taught me.
Today, we still live in different cities but technology has brought us closer. In fact, I recently asked him if he would start guest blogging here. He said yes! So with that said, I am so happy to introduce ‘The Professor’ to all of my readers while uniting them with his Facebook friends.
By the way, Ron’s ‘spot’ on this blog will be called “Ron’s Time Tunnel.” In his posts, which will appear on Fridays, Ron “will relate stories, memories, experiences, and anecdotes of the “older” generations, as well as (his) past experiences and memories; sprinkled with the occasional political, theological or social commentary.”
No doubt, he will include a deep message for all of us! I can hardly wait!