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Key to being happy is taking responsibility for self

If you're happy and you know it. . . .You won't have to stomp your feet.  Everybody will know it already. Whenever I'm in a particularly happy phase of my life, people notice. They see it in my smile, in my eyes, in my behavior and in my writing.

I get suspicious if no one thinks I'm happy. That probably means I need to do something because my life isn't as happy as it should be! And happiness is worth some thought. It doesn't often happen by accident, and it's not a bad idea to take stock every once in a while.

My life isn't perfect, but I do love my life, and that is because some years back I started living my life for myself rather than for other people.

This isn't as self-centered as it sounds. Pursuing happiness is a factor of self-interest, not of selfishness. Selfishness is not caring about how other people feel. Self-interest is caring about how other people feel then balancing that against caring about how you feel, too, and accepting that you're not responsible for anyone else's happiness, only your own. Women, in particular, can have a hard time with this concept.

There has been more than one period in my life when I was just putting one foot in front of the other, pushing the boulder of negativity off my chest every day to get up and keep going. Happiness is not always easily achieved.

But today, I am surrounded by the people, places, and things that feel good, down deep, that feel peaceful and positive and right, for me and for my family.

More than once I've made radical changes in my life to pursue happiness-and each time it started with opening my heart to a tough question: Are you happy?

This is a massively frightening question to face because if the answer is no, then what are you doing to do about it? Most likely, the answer to that question is going to involve a lot of trouble. And require putting yourself on a road with no map, letting your heart find the way on its own.  

It's true that nothing worth having comes easy, and it's possibly more true of happiness than anything else. But it's also true that it's worth having, so don't be afraid of the hard questions and the hard answers or letting your heart have its way.

Usually, it knows best anyway.

Writer Suzanne McMinn lives in Roane County, where she writes every day in her blog, Chickens in the Road, at www.chickens



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