When I was in high school, I was probably one of the most stressed-out, pessimistic people around. I would come home from cross country practice and hardly make it through the door of my home before I began venting to my mom.
“I have a Chemistry II assignment that might just be the death of me. As if that’s not bad enough, I also have a HUGE Physics exam tomorrow and I have no idea what we are even doing in that class. And don’t even get me started on my AP English paper on “Jane Eyre!" You might as well just lock me up in my room for a week.”
(I wasn’t dramatic or anything…)
My mom would stand their patiently, until I was finished with my rant and then ask, “Well, did anything good happen today?!”
Back then, I am sure I just stomped off and mumbled “nobody understands me” under my breath. However, looking back at my past attitude on life, I can’t help but imagine how different it could have been. This past year, I have developed a broader outlook on life—one that extends beyond the realms of a college classroom. I understand that my grades and activities are still important, but I have also started realizing how much our attitude molds the outcomes within our lives. Sure, I can sit and complain about my workload or a frustrating situation. It might lift some weight off my shoulders for the moment, but what happens after I stop venting? Am I going to feel any better?
Life throws all kinds of challenging curve balls our direction. That is just a part of life. However, how you react to those situations is a choice. You can choose to feel angry, jealous, frustrated, and hurt by those hard times you encounter…but have you ever considered how much more satisfying your life would be if you chose happiness? I realize that simply choosing happiness is not so easy. However, the more you begin to practice choosing a positive outlook, the more it becomes an instinctive reaction.
Martha Washington once said,
“I am still determined to be cheerful and to be happy in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learnt from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions and not upon our circumstances.”
You may not always be able to change your circumstances, but you can change your disposition—even if that means putting a smile on when you’d rather cry. The more you tell yourself to be happy, the more you will convince yourself that it is so.
Next time life tests you, you have a choice: What are you going to choose?