Monday, July 13, 2015

"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."- Groucho Marx

Everyone talks about wanting to be "happy", but no one knows the exact definition of personal happiness.  Some people are happy in their work, but not at home.  Others have great relationships with family and friends, but are unhappy at work. Some struggle with severe depression, sunk so low that they cannot even imagine being happy, and others who are bipolar know that mania and energy of the high will be followed by the crash landing into depression. The bad news is that we are all victims of our own brain chemistry; the good news is that pharmaceuticals have come a long way to help us with balancing our brain chemistry.  I don't think anyone is really "normal", whatever that word means today.

I have spent many hours reading about, discussing, and thinking about "happiness", and I have come to one conclusion: each person must rely on himself, not others, to find happiness.  On a personal note, when my husband Scott died, I thought I would never be happy again, but I know that he would want me to BE happy.  So each day, when I awaken, I make a conscious decision that I am going to make the day a happy one.  Of course, I still cry sometimes and feel sad, but I have come to realize that by "thinking happy", I am a happier person.  I am also more appreciative than I have ever been.  Although I had Scott for over 30 years, everything we were together was all gone in a moment.  I have learned to appreciate all of the small things in life that can cause smiles: a sunny day, a dog's head out a car window, a small child's wave and smile, taking a cart back for an elderly person at the grocery store, telling a stranger she looks great, complimenting a new hairdo.  All of these little things, crazy or not, touch my heart, and I am not afraid to wear my heart on my sleeve and share all of my feelings with you. 

One of the reasons I am happier is because I am back to contributing to the well-being of others. I missed teaching and the positive interaction with students every day, so I wrote a book for new teachers.  I am writing for several education online magazines, co-hosting a radio show for education (The Total Education Q and A) and sharing my viewpoints and experience with others. I am enjoying giving webinars about teaching, and helping others new to education.  I love being able to help to steer a person's thinking toward the greater good for all children in schools everywhere.

Are YOU feeling down?  May I make a suggestion?  Get out of your house and do something for someone else.  Love animals?  Volunteer at your local animal shelter.  Love clothes? Volunteer at a repurposing shop that helps men or women in crisis.  Love people? Volunteer at a soup kitchen.  Love kids? Volunteer at a playground summer program. The possibilities are endless! I promise that when you get busy doing something for others, you will feel much happier within yourself.  And what could be better than that?

Remember that each person is responsible for his own happiness, and it is so great to make yourself happy through service to others.

Rittman Publishing, LLC

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