2 Words Provide Perspective On Change

Hospital BedLast Thursday morning, I was called to deliver some items to her hospital room so her brief stay for a routine procedure would be more comfortable. My grandmother had a severe stroke in July of 2008 that robbed her of the ability to use her left arm and leg. Over the last 18+ months, her mind has oscillated between clarity and confusion, punctuated by spells of visits from her mother, husband and others who have passed on.

I sat beside the bed and gently rubbed her hand. We discussed the weather, my job search and her concerns about my youngest brother’s first child. As I stood to leave, I kissed her on the head and told her I loved her. She strained to return the affectionate words and unintentionally reminded me how much I have changed:

“Be happy.”

“I am,” I said reflexively with a grateful smile. It struck me how good it felt to speak that truth and, in doing so, to realize how far I’ve come for it to be more than a hollow statement to allay someone else’s worries. As I made my way home, I went over the keys to this shift.

Make the decision.
Yes, being happy starts with a choice. As a matter of fact, everything does. It’s just a matter of whether you do so by willful intention or unconscious commission. The knock-on effect of your selections leads to your circumstances.

Think constructively.
Paying your bills or raising your children isn’t made any easier–or more effective–by worrying. Be mindful of the possibilities within your control instead of blissfully ignorant of–or crushed under–a situation’s gravity. Understand what you can do instead of focusing on what you can’t.

Practice active hopefulness.
The growing popularity of The Secret has misled some that things fall together with a good dose of positive mental attitude. While mindset is important, the key is to realize your active role in your life. Don’t sit in traffic and hope cars miss you.

In the beginning, you’ll do small stuff. Maybe you’ll read books or seek out an education of some kind. Perhaps you’ll focus primarily on keeping your frame of mind right at first. These steps will probably seem inconsequential, but so does that first bit of snow that causes an avalanche.

Take a minute to think. What can you do today to get the ball rolling?

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