Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Choosing Happiness - Being a Light to Others

The lighting apparatus in lighthouses is measured in candle power. The strongest lighthouse is located off the coast of Florida and is 5,500,000 candle power. That's a lot of candles!

Each one of us have a light inside of us. Sometimes that light burns bright and sometimes our light is dim. When it's bright we are able to shine for others and help those who might be struggling because their light is dim.

I have a dear friend who has worked in the retail industry for most of her adult life, basically since she graduated from high school back in 1976. I met her in 1987. She told me how much she wanted to get out of retail and get into a medical career. I told her to go to college, even if she could only take one class a semester and it took her ten years to finish. Or, she could go to a trade school and learn how to be a medical assistant. That was twenty-two years ago. She's still in retail and she's still complaining about it.

Each and every day we make hundreds of choices, beginning with the minute the alarm goes off. Should I snooze or should I get up? What should I wear today? What should I eat today? The list goes on. One of those choices is whether or not we are going to react in a positive way or a negative way to things that happen to us and the people we interact with during the day. Are you going to let that jerk who cut you off on the freeway ruin your day? Are you going to be offended by the church member who tells you they didn't agree with the comment you made in Relief Society? Are you going to be cranky all day because someone at work ate your Hot Pocket?

Innately I'm a pretty upbeat and positive person, but there are some days that it's all I can do to not bite someone's head off because I'm tired, or something hasn't gone right, or . . . a thousand other reasons. But we do have a choice in how we react. Problems happen, things don't always go right. We don't have to let it ruin our day, and we certainly don't have to take it out on everyone around us.

Soon after I was married I was talking to our Bishop's wife. She was an incredible woman and I admired her greatly. She told me something very wise. You can't depend on someone else to make you happy. The comment rang true in my heart. This truth is powerful, especially in marriage. We cannot expect our spouses to make us happy. That is not their job.

You can choose your emotions. True happiness comes from within. It cannot be forced upon us by someone else, nor can we force it upon someone. It is a choice, just like choosing what outfit you wear each day or what to make for dinner.

When you buy a new dress, or a pair of new shoes or earrings, you buy the ones that make you feel good or happy. You wouldn't buy a new dress that didn't fit right or make you feel good, right? So why in the world would would you choose emotions and feelings that didn't make you feel good?

Guaranteed, you will have things happen that will make you angry or upset. And for a while, you will need to experience that emotion and feel angry and upset. But you need to let it go and move on. People who harbor anger and dwell on problems or past mistakes don't seem to be very happy people. If we let others get to us, influence our emotions - we are giving them power over us. When others cause us anger or pain, we are giving them our power.

I find that I am automatically drawn to people who are positive and upbeat. The women on this blog are perfect examples of this. I think LDS women especially need to cultivate these qualities so that they can have a positive influence on the people around them. The knowledge we have of the gospel gives us every reason to have hope and be positive. I truly, honestly believe that we are a force for good in this world and can be a light to others.

Just think about it, if all the wonderful LDS women everywhere would let their light shine we could make a powerful difference in the world around us. Never underestimate that light you have inside of you!


Jennie said...

I agree with you completely. Happy people are happy because they choose to be happy.

Jeri Gilchrist said...

Aw Michele, what a great uplifting post! Thank you so much! I needed this today.

I absolutely agree. People are happy because they choose to be and I too am drawn to positive upbeat people. They are "make you feel good" people.

Thank you for your positive influence on me, Michele-- you're one of those people that draw people in! You're a real bleesing to those of us that know you!

Jeri Gilchrist said...

Uh, that would be BLESSING and not bleesing. Sorry. :)