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Finding the Keys to Your Happiness

“Maybe the key to happiness is to focus less on making moments last and more on making them count.” ~Lori Deschene

Over the years, I have had my fair share of trials, many having to do with being bipolar and having OCD and ADD.

These illnesses combined have made for a rough go. One day I might feel spontaneous and want to take a trip to Disney World, the next day I may want to end it all.

Going back and forth with happiness and despair is an emotionally draining process. Knowing that it’s all in my mind is the most frustrating thing to deal with.

It’s hard to describe an emotional illness that takes you up and down to those individuals who might not understand, but keeping your perspective in tune is the best solution. When I read Lori’s blog on focusing on making moments count, I knew I needed to write something in response.

So I want to share with you how I find my keys to happiness because we all know keys go missing from time to time.

1. Don’t get caught up with the negatives of the world.

When you are driving to work in a traffic jam, instead of slamming your hands on the dashboard, put on your favorite tune. Let it take you back to the moment when you first heard it.

2. Stuff happens.

Don’t let the stuff determine how your day is going to be. 

Just last night I let my computer literacy frustrations dictate how my day was going. I was slamming things about, and then my four-year-old daughter brought me one of her toys and said, “Maybe this will help.”

What a fool I was, letting something so menial take over how my day was going. When you feel like the world has turned against you, don’t react. Instead, reflect on when the world was by your side.  (Sometimes it makes you realize your four-year-old may have a better perspective than you do.)

3. Be the driving force.

Make the day go the way you want it to. If it seems bad, do something that makes you happy or remove yourself from the picture. It’s okay to wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Just know you can choose whether you want to keep your bunny slippers on and roll back over and wake up again a second time in a better mood.

4. Enjoy other’s joy.

Instead of sharing your unhappiness with someone else who isn’t having a bad day, let their happiness rub off on you.

5. Look for your keys.

When all else fails, remember your memories. I lost my mom to cancer in 2004 and I often catch myself saying, “If mom was here… it wouldn’t be this way.” That may be so, but her memory is one of the things I cherish the most.

When I think of all the napkins she drew little pictures on with the words “I love you” in my lunchbox for over twelve years, I may cry a little but I will never forget how much one napkin could change my perspective on the day.

Everyone has heard this before, but I swear to you it is the complete truth: “When one door closes another one opens.”

When I spent years in my early adulthood looking for a spouse I found nothing. When I had finally given up, I met someone who changed how I felt about myself. He was full of patience and made me realize my life has value—that I have value. Now I do what I can to share that value with others.

Remember earlier when I said I was so mad at my computer, I was frustrated with the world, and I had drama in my life? I forced myself to go to our SGI-USA Red Mountain planning meeting, where I received abundant support, and ultimately I left there happy.

It’s amazing how sharing your frustrations with others can help you find the keys to your own happiness.

Photo by Sabrina Campagna

About Jennifer Butler-Williams

Jennifer is the Red Mountain District Young Women's Division Leader in Soka Gakkai International - USA, Buddhist Association for Peace, Culture & Education. She is also a Professor of Communications and Humanities at five different Colleges/Universities. Her greatest success is her daughter Nina.

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