It Takes A Village To Keep Me Happy

What's Your WheelchairRecently, one of my aides asked me how I maintain such a positive attitude and am always upbeat. She’s not the first person to have asked me this question since my injury occurred. I tell her what I always tell someone who asks. And she raised her eyebrows in surprise at my answer.

I told her I made myself a promise the moment I understood the severity of my injury and what it meant to live with a spinal cord injury. Every moment since, my life has revolved around that promise because  I am choosing to keep it.

I promised myself no matter what this crazy spinal cord injury journey brought my way, I was going to be happy. What terrified me more than anything was not living in a wheelchair, but looking back in the winter of my life and having only memories of bitter sadness because I lived life from the perspective of a wheelchair. What a pathetic waste of a life that would be.

I’ve shared this promise with you before. But what I wanted to share with you now was how surprised my aide was at my answer. She asked me how was it possible to force yourself to be happy?

Just to be clear, while my nature is generally upbeat and positive, I certainly have my not so fabulous times. Those times vary in severity. I have my so-so blah feeling times, and I have my falling flat on my face times.

Here’s the thing. Even the most positive person experience’s feelings of sadness, doubt, frustration, etc. It’s what you do about it that counts. And this is where your choice comes in. Are you going to stay sad, doubtful and frustrated, or are you going to make changes to get out of your funk?

First of all, un-funking takes tools. Emotional tools. Confidence is a biggie. Second, taking responsibility and accountability for your funk are two huge tools I’ve learned I can’t move forward without. Also, not doing it alone. It takes a village to keep me happy.

I’ve been talking about the importance of taking responsibility and accountability in my webinar workshop The Power Of Your Personal Development. There is such a stigma of blame and fault surrounding the words responsibility and accountability, while they are actually two of our biggest allies in being happy and living the life you wish.

Responsibility and accountability are about control… Taking control of your life. Why would you want to give that power away to someone else instead of using it for yourself?

Responsibility simply means you say yes, I created the circumstances I am in or the feelings I am having. Accountability is taking it a step further to choose to do something about it.

Accepting responsibility and accountability allows you to hold the reins of your life, and choose for yourself whatever you wish. To do whatever you wish. To feel whatever you wish. To create whatever you wish.

The more choices you make for yourself and the more accountable you hold yourself to them, the more your self confidence is going to soar off the charts. And you will feel a fire of motivation in your gut to create another piece of your wish puzzle that will grow each time you do this.

As with so many things in life, getting out of a challenging spot, regardless if it’s emotional or physical, can be easier said than done. That’s where our village comes in.

Life is better with company. People need people. If you are struggling with anything in life, reach out for help. No need to wait until you are hanging onto the bottom rung, either. Reach out sooner than later.

The way I reach out depends on the severity of what I’m experiencing that is challenging. Sometimes I call a loved one and never mention what I’m going through… I just need to hear their voice, reminding me how lucky I am to have them in my life. Other times, I need to spill my guts. I’m bothered enough that I need to talk about what I’m experiencing or I need advice on how to create a change.

Reaching out and doing something nice for someone helps me get through troubled times, too. It can be as simple as a compliment or asking how they are doing with a challenging experience you know they are going through.

They smile from a complement, which then makes me smile. Or they feel comfort from knowing someone cares enough to ask them how they’re doing. Reaching out doesn’t have to be about ourselves… The strength comes from interacting with another human being.

“No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities – always see them, for they’re always there.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale. My favorite quote, and one I use often. When I find myself in a challenging situation that has me feeling I’m between a rock and another rock, I close my eyes and picture myself lifting my head up from my dark haze and gazing out at the horizon, looking for a twinkling of possibility. I have yet to not find one.


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