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Blog Posts

it's your happiness. take control of it.

Christina Levy

 photograph by nathan dumlao

photograph by nathan dumlao

when we get to a place where our happiness is contingent upon people and things, we know that we are bound to run into trouble. the reason being is that we give an outside source the power to control what happens on the inside of us. as individuals with different paths to journey, we have to be in the business of cultivating our own happiness. we have to wake up in the morning and be purposeful in our pursuit of happiness. so, what does that kind of pursuit look like?

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one, it means being alert. it means recognizing when our moods are changing and picking up on what may be causing the change. i dwell too long on this topic as I have already written about it in a previous post titled, “a nuh every kin teet ah laff.” in that post, i was stressing the importance of taking the necessary steps to protect our space and hearts. i closed it by saying,

we’ve all been gifted with intuition and the feeling of empathy. when we listen to both of these things, we become more aware of the energy that we produce and send out as well as what is radiating around us… we are impressionable and susceptible to what we expose ourselves to the same way we are capable of causing the same ripple effects in others. living in harmony with ourselves and other requires a heightened level of awareness.

we are most definitely impressionable beings. being around people who seem to suck the life out of everything will dampen your mood no matter how much of a bubbly personality you have. well, if we can recognize those shifts, we can pick up on those who aren’t contributing to your happiness. perhaps a person always seems to have more critique than advice, or is always comparing their success to yours. on the other end of the spectrum, sometimes people come into our lives and bring a kind of fresh breeze. they force us to stand even in the midst of trials and tribulations. we aren’t blind, maybe naïve at times though and that’s what will get us into trouble. But hey, sometimes a snake is just a snake. it becomes your fault when you aren’t willing to open your eyes and see people for who they are.

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two, it means having the courage to just let them go. there’s this show that comes on TLC called “hoarding: buried alive.” it documents families who become so engrossed in holding on to things that their homes become the epitome of clutter. usually, it starts pretty innocently—a mother who wants to save her kids’ school projects so that they would have them to look back on when they grow up. all of a sudden, those memorable pieces do more to take up space than anything else and appliances run their course and are left somewhere in a corner. i’ve only seen a few episodes but every time, the question that comes to mind is how did they allow it to get this bad? like seriously, did they just not see that those things were no longer serving a purpose or what?

truth is though, it isn’t that hard to pass something as being purposeful even when it isn’t. writing this, I’m reminded of a “vintage” television that we had in our old house that stopped working. my dad was so bent on keeping it in the house because he figured that it would be a good stand for the new television. so here we are, watching the new television on top of a broken television. yea, true story. he’s a great guy though, promise. in any case, my point is that just like the people on the television series or my dad in that scenario, sometimes we find it difficult to get rid of people and things because we are forcing purpose to an already dead thing. of course that will affect our effectiveness of cultivating our own happiness because we are carrying around dead weight. a dead thing is just that—a dead thing. the danger in harboring that weight is that it becomes a hinderance. perhaps we start holding a toxic person at an arms length instead of closer to us because he or she still makes us laugh. the toxicity will still spread regardless because the person is still attached to us. we just have to let them go, there is no getting around the matter. if you want to be happy, you have to take control of your space and in doing so, you must know that it is okay to let some things go. you don’t have to put up with people who have run their course in your life. why? because a dead thing is simply just a dead thing.

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three, recognize and give power to the good. i was talking to a friend of mine the other day and in that conversation, i said something along the lines of, “god has been placing people in my life that I think are here to help me grow spiritually and you are definitely one of them.” i’m not sure what we were talking about that made me say that. all I know is that I wanted to let him know that i appreciated him for being a good friend. (in case you find this, don’t let it get to your head.)

we all need a reminder some time that we are appreciated. not only does it show others that we recognize the good they do for us, but it also helps boost our spirits. it’s kind of like the activity we do around thanksgiving at the dinner table when we say one thing we are grateful for. many times we don’t want to do it, but deep down, it makes us feel good inside. it helps us recognize that even though everything may not be going in our favor, it’s not all that bad. when we take the time to recognize those that bring a blessing to our lives, we see that we are truly blessed. that too, plays a huge role in our happiness.

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at the place I am right now, i can honestly say that I am very happy. it is by no means perfect. even at this very moment, there is chaos going on around me. however, I’ve grown in my ability to surrender to a will that is greater than my own. i trust that what is for me will be for me, so if that means that God has to remove a few people here and there, that’s fine.  at the end of the day, he knows what is best for me and i know that even those absent things and people can work for my good.