It’s a brand new week and one I am so looking forward to. It’s the last week of school! Woo hoo! School’s practically out for the summer. I see Popsicles, swimming and keeping my kids from annoying each other to tears in my very near future. Is there something you are looking forward to this summer?
I had an interesting conversation the other day. I was visiting with a person I had just met, a complete stranger. When he found out I had four children he was shocked. “Four! You have four children? Do you know we live in the 2,000’s?” I was a little surprised by his response but it was his next question that really surprised me. “I just have to ask, are you happy?” My immediate and genuine response was, “yes.”
This conversation has had me thinking about a lot of different things. I mean really, is having four kids so unheard of? But what I keep coming back to is “are you happy”. I was sincere when I said “yes”. I am absolutely happy. Well, honestly, I’m pretty grumpy this morning. It was a rough night. My patience today is pretty much non existent. But, that’s trivial and temporary. I really am deep down happy.
Now I ask, are you happy?
My follow up question is, “what do you do to stay happy?” Or “what can you do to bring happiness into your life?”
Like all good things I believe it takes effort to be happy. Sometimes it takes more work than others. Although I feel good now there have been times in my life when I have not been happy. At those times I would look around me and know that I have a home, my needs are being met, I have a family, I’m healthy, etc. I really had no reason not to be happy, but I was miserable. I was unable to feel joy. I was unable to laugh. I couldn’t get through my day without crying. It has taken much effort and work and help to get to a point where I can honestly answer “yes, I am happy.” And it takes continued effort on my part to keep myself from falling into that pit again. And the things I do to keep myself going are far more than listening to good music or eating healthy or going for a walk. Because really, when you are in that hard place you can be doing everything you’re “supposed” to be doing and still feel numb or angry or hurt. And when it’s deep and you can’t see the light and you feel so alone just getting up and brushing your teeth can take every ounce of effort you have. So doing something like exercising or preparing a good meal is completely unattainable.
Through years of trial and error, putting a smile on my face to hide the hurt, and taking every minute possible to escape through sleep I have found a few things that work for me. First, talking about it. Opening up. Reaching out. If I try to keep it in I crumble. Second, I’ve had to let go of the shame and admit that I need help. Third, I’ve found professional help. Fourth, I bit the bullet and have conceded that medication is a very needed and healthy part of my life. And last but not least I have humbled myself and turned to prayer. For me, prayer and faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ has been my light in the darkness. These are the things that when used together have created the ladder that has helped me climb out of that deep, dark pit and have helped me find my happy.
I ask again, what has worked for you? Where do you turn on those unhappy days? What do you find joy in?
My friends, I truly hope and pray for your happiness. I wish you to feel joy. I’m cheering you on.