Happiness Isn’t a Pursuit, It’s a Choice.

Many don’t know it but it’s true. Happiness doesn’t just happen to a lucky few. It doesn’t fall into your lap and it isn’t magically given. We choose happiness.

Once upon a time, I was one of the most negative people you ever met. I soon grew tired of being miserable and begin doing a lot of reading. That’s when my eyes were opened and I finally put in the time and the work to change my thoughts and attitudes.

And in changing those things, I changed my life. This is not to say that everything is perfect. I still have days when things don’t go the way I want. The only difference is that I no longer see it as the end of the world.

There are even times I get angry or upset, but the difference is that I don’t set up shop and stay there. I usually bounce back pretty quickly.

But how do you attain happiness?

Here’s how:

1. By checking your thoughts – it starts with a single thought. Anytime a negative or depressing thought crosses our minds, and they will, we must catch it and replace it with one that is positive. Once we begin to do this, it’ll slowly become a habit. Keep it up long enough and it will become like second nature.

And you’ll be so surprised how your life will change when positive people and experiences will suddenly begin flowing into your life.

2. By not sweating the small stuff – the small stuff are what people think and say of us. You shouldn’t worry about it because these people don’t matter and either do their opinions and petty remarks. Forget about them and continue to do you.

3. By doing what you love and enjoy the most – Do what fulfills you. Engage in hobbies and interests. You must create opportunities to enjoy yourself.

4. By spending time with the people you love – Hold your family and closest friends close to your heart. Visit them often and don’t lose touch.

5. By learning something new every day – if you’re not learning, you’re stagnating. Reading and learning new things can be exciting and it helps you grow! So, grab a good book or read articles. I guarantee that it will pay off huge dividends!

6. By finding a hobby if you don’t already have one – hobbies are fun, and they keep your mind off the bad stuff. They also give you a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment!

7. By staying away from drama – Others’ moods have a way of rubbing off on you. So, stay far away from anyone who’s immersed in the drama. Otherwise, they’ll smother and kill your vibe!

Do these things and I promise you! You’ll be on your way to joy!

A Thirteenth Takeaway from Being Bullied

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When I posted “My 12 Takeaways from Being Bullied” a while back, perhaps it should’ve been titled with a thirteen instead of a twelve.

Later, another takeaway came to mind that I hadn’t thought of and failed to mention. But before I tell you what it is, allow me to elaborate a little first.

Many of my bullies in school were the most irresponsible and incompetent people I’d ever met. They were spoiled, coddled and babied which caused them to be self-entitled, demanding, arrogant and ignorant. Many of them would get into trouble with the school, juvenile authorities, or the police. And they would do these things repeatedly.

Any time they got themselves in a jam, here come Mom and Dad to the rescue. Their parents would either pull a few strings or pay through the nose to pry little junior’s butt out of the crack he’d gotten it stuck in.

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If they made a bad grade, the parents would come to the school and chew the teacher out for giving the grade. Or they would cheat their way to a passing grade.

Many of my female bullies would end up pregnant, some repeatedly, and their parents would swoop in to fund their abortions to keep her from bringing shame to the family. What’s even funnier is that some of these kids were those no one ever in a million years thought would end up in such predicaments.

This is not to say that I look down on anyone who goes to jail, who has gotten PG out of wedlock or has had an abortion because we all screw up- and screw up BIG- at some point in life. So, understand that I’m not judging anyone, nor am I expressing any views.

My point to this post is this: They never learned to take responsibility for their own lives. And why would they if they were never made to?

I look back now and realize that it’s no wonder most of these people had the attitudes they had.

With that said, here’s my 13th takeaway:

I learned early on that I was the only person responsible for my own safety, success, and future happiness and no one else! And I had to be willing to do whatever it took to bootstrap my way back up. And it was the same with my other siblings.

There were no freebies nor piggyback rides.

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If I screwed up (and I did many times), my parents didn’t bail me out. They stood back, let me fall flat on my tookus, then pick myself up afterward- all by myself! And they did it to teach me responsibility for my actions.

And when you’re a kid, you don’t realize the tough love and good intentions behind it. You don’t see the eventual payoff. You don’t think about how this will mold you into a much better person and make life much easier for you in the future.

All you’re looking at is the here and now. All you see is what’s in front of your face, which is every other kid getting to do whatever wrong they want and getting a pat on the head and a proverbial get-out-of-jail-free card while you’re having the book thrown at you. And no, it’s not fun. In fact, it downright sucks!

But! Though it may not have felt good nor seemed fair at the time, through it all, I learned independence. I learn self-control. I discovered my own strength and that I was unstoppable!

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And if I can go through six long years of brutal bullying and remain standing, then nothing is impossible, and there’s no limit to the heights I can achieve.

The majority of people who are bullied are those who come from families who’ve instilled morals, integrity and the importance of accountability in them. These people are often the brightest, most hard-working, decent, caring, and, most of all, bravest people around.

When you’re bullied, you learn to overcome so many obstacles and move on with life. And you learn by yourself. You learn to fight like the dickens for your safety, well-being, and your happiness. You also learn that if you want anything in life, it’s up to only you to put in the effort to get it.

In closing, I want to thank my bullies for showing me my own strength and for giving me the grit to stay in the fight, to adapt, to overcome, and to win!