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My Happy

I know that I flew through 18 years of my life in just a few blogs, but you got the picture of what my home life was like. I lived through it and survived it, so I'm not very good today at making it sound as nightmarish as I did when I first started sharing my journey. I'll never deny that it wasn't good for any of us mentally, but I've healed, grown, and moved on. There's no going backwards for me, so hanging on to anger from it isn't my focus. That part of my life challenged me, pushed me, educated me, and made me who I am today - I'm thankful for it!

My Epiphany

It was in my twenties when I received my epiphany that I needed to work on my attitude about life. I had always told myself that the one thing that I would never be in life was my parents. But, one day as I was yelling about something senseless I knew that I was becoming what I didn't want to be. At that  moment I took ownership of what a shitty person I was. I was cynical, judgmental, and was kidding myself that I was happy. I knew that being overly bubbly, overly pleasing, having material items, the best job, and going with the flow was not my definition of happiness. I came to the conclusion that accepting and loving myself unconditionally would be a start for me. It wasn't about material things for me because  I knew too many people that thought if they got married, had a family, found the high paying job, bought the dream house and the expensive car, they would be happy. Those things didn't bring any of them happiness. I wanted to find the happy in my day to day life that wasn't material. So, I started looking at life differently and made myself appreciate something out of each day. I remember while I was in labor with my second child I started thinking during my labor pains that every woman no matter what race, social or economic status, feels this pain. That thought put me in the moment of being thankful that I was bringing a healthy life into the world in a sanitary and safe environment. That might not be the best example of how I directed my thinking, but I had trained my mind to generate positive feelings in every situation. I had no book or counseling directing me how to create change, but I know now that my guidance was God. I became more open to life, less critical of those around me, and truly a happy person.

Prefrontal and Neo Cortex

I learned many years later that we all have two prefrontal lobes in our neo cortex that creates the difference between pessimists and optimists. When the left is activated we have thoughts of peace and happiness, and when the right is activated we have more feelings of sadness,worry and become pessimistic. I'm pleased to say that my left stays activated. But, every once in awhile a thought slips in that works hard on breaking me. Remember my roots are deep so I have an occasion here and there where something triggers a thought that I buried long ago. I have to catch myself when my mind begins to go a little sideways and refocus my thinking to something positive. I know that if I don't redirect my thinking it's too easy to get stuck on the negative and lose my happy and peace for sometimes minutes, but other times days.

The Thoughts

A few years ago my oldest sister decided to do some therapy. She would call me after each session excited about her memories and how she was working through them. I listened week after week and carried each story in my thoughts losing sleep night after night. I was so happy that she was finding her peace finally, but I was slowly losing mine. I kept trying to walk beside her, trudging my way through the piles of garbage that she was carrying, and now that I was carrying. As I listened my thoughts always went to the question of who is going to pick me up when I'm in bed curled up in the fetal position. I couldn't shake the awful things that she had experienced from the hands of my father. The thoughts in my mind were stealing my sleep, joy, and inner peace. I had to redirect my thinking to thoughts of her strength, her honesty and loyalty when she shared her story. I focused on how she's such a forgiving person that truly loves people unconditionally. I had to find the positives in her negatives to keep my happy.

"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts, therefore guard accordingly; and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue, and reasonable nature."
- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Peace, love & hugs!

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