Phoenix Art Museum; Photo Credit: RJS Photography
I was mostly born without the sadness gene.
Over the holidays, I saw some people posting about how they were sad or depressed , and it’s hard for me to grasp that. I’m a therapist; it should make sense to me. But it just doesn’t.
There’s so much cool stuff on this planet. I have my dogs and cats. I love looking at the stars, watching the sun rise, hiking in the desert. When I lived in PA, I walked in the woods and discovered the spring that ran through the mountain. I could spend an hour looking at the roots of a fallen tree. My life is endlessly fascinating. I’m seldom bored, and even less often depressed.
I don’t mean to say I never have a bad day or have never gone through a bad time; I have. It’s just that I don’t tend to get bogged down. I believe that in large part, we make our own luck. So, if I’m going to make good luck, I have to send positive vibes out into the universe. Which is usually why I try to see the positive in things and be happy where I am.
In 2006, my grandfather died. He was one of my favorite people in the world, and losing him was huge. My grandpa ran an antique shop, and was very close to his employees. One of them, a woman I didn’t know well, was helping do all the stuff that needs to be done when someone dies. No matter what I was assigned, my response was, “That’s okay. We’ll get it done.” At one point she exploded at me, “Don’t you ever say anything else?” I hadn’t realized before then how annoying my attitude could be.
The thing is, that is my attitude in most situations. I was sad that he’d died, and I still miss him, but being miserable wasn’t going to bring him back. I’m just grateful that I have so many wonderful memories of him, and that I had such a great relationship with him. In any situation, there are many choices. I generally choose to accept.
I’m not saying that everyone can do this. Like I said, I really believe that our ability to be happy is in part how we’re wired. For me, being positive comes easily. But I can’t read or follow directions (they get jumbled in my head). I don’t like exercise and can get so involved in books that I don’t do anything else for days on end. But, I think that differences are what make people interesting. I have to work harder than other people so I don’t gain weight. I also have to work harder to stay tuned in when I’m talking to people outside of work. But I do work at these things. Just like some people need to work harder than others to be happy. But I believe that happy and positive can be habits, just like anything else.
I had a nice interaction at work the other day that reminded me that we don’t have any idea of our impact on others. I was chatting with another woman and made a comment that was meaningless to me, but it touched her and made her feel that I cared. Her face relaxed (she had looked tense before) and said, “Thank you for being you.”
What a nice thing to be thanked for. My response should have been, “Thank you for noticing.”