Choosing to be Unhappy

Yesterday was a miserable day.  I woke up determined to have an awful day and did everything in my power to make it so.  I succeeded.

Wait a minute?  Did I read that correctly?  I chose to have a miserable day?  Yep, that’s right.  If happiness is a choice, which I firmly believe, unhappiness is also a choice.  Let me be honest though … it wasn’t a miserable day … it just wasn’t one of my best days.  Throughout the day, I continued to be in a sour mood and my self talk was at negative end of the scale.  I realized  I was keeping myself down but didn’t seem to want to change my perception.  Am I alone?  Have you been there before?

It seemed like no matter what, one frustrating event after another would happen.  A car pulled out in front of me on my commute into work and maintained a steady 50 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone.  And of course, it was a two-lane road with heavy oncoming traffic, so I couldn’t pass.  As if that wasn’t enough, I managed to spill coffee on me and then when I got to work, the elevators were running slow and I was late for my first meeting of the morning.  I had recently been moved into a new role at work, away from one I really enjoyed, and as I engaged with others in this new role, I could sense that my input wasn’t valued… and that was all before 9 AM!

At any point in the day, I could have made a concerted effort to stop the negative self-talk (you’re not good enough, they don’t value you or you would still be in your old role, just keep quiet, nobody cares what you think, etc.) and chose to find the positive in the day … Maybe the slow vehicle saved me from getting sideswiped by a driver crossing the highway, the coffee tastes great, without elevators, I would be climbing 11 flights of stairs, my company trusts me enough to  let me make a difference in another area … etc.

But, I didn’t…

Today, I still had a sour attitude… see, that’s the thing I’ve learned about this double-edged sword called choice.  Sometimes, we knowingly make the wrong choice because we “want” misery… sounds foolish — right?  But, why else would I have continued down that path?  I know from first-hand experience that it is more difficult to turn the perspective around days later than it would have been just to interrupt the thought pattern at the time.

So, today, I am enjoying the rain, appreciating the traffic and the time it provides me to listen to a podcast, and choosing to focus on the positive rather than the negative.  Every day presents us with an opportunity to be positive or negative, it’s our choice.  Which one do you choose?

Jim

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