The child learning to accept disappointment as a way of life still lives within me. The feeling of disappointment about not having my way existed with the simultaneous sensation of growth. You might wonder how a child of 8 or even 11 might grasp that disappointment would be a life-long experience. Somehow, I just knew.
I also knew that the sooner I accepted that fact and made peace with it, the happier I would be. What I came to realize is that with each disappointment came a consolation prize of some sort. In other words, there was always a reason to be happy. If not this, something else.
For instance, we were visiting my aunt who had a pool in her apartment complex. I couldn’t wait to go swimming. I put on my bathing suit with tingly anticipation. But before we could get outside, the sky turned dark and opened up. As the rain came down so did my uncontrollable tears. It might as well have been the end of the world as I was living for this moment. All the adults around me couldn’t stand my sadness and said everything they could to console me. But nothing mattered. I wanted to swim! So you can imagine my joy when just as quickly as the sky had gone dark, it brightened up again and we were able to go. It taught me that things can change quickly and instead of fretting, to have faith and figure out how to enjoy life no matter what happens. Happiness is a choice.
Many years later, in 1998, the Secret Society of Happy People declared August 8 as Admit You're Happy Day, which eventually became Happiness Happens Day celebrated each August. The Society asked the governors in all 50 states for a proclamation and 19 of them agreed. Pamela Gail Johnson, the Society’s founder, is also the author of The Secret Society of Happy People’s Thirty-One Types of Happiness Guide and Don’t Even Think of Raining on My Parade: Adventures of the Secret Society of Happy People. When I visited the Secret Society’s Facebook page, which offers a 31-day happiness challenge, I was happy to discover that I automatically do many of the suggested activities, like holding the door for people, singing out loud, watching the sunset, taking daily walks, donating to local thrift stores and watching comedies. That might explain why I am happy.
I don’t wait around for good things to happen. Instead, I make them happen.
It sounds easy. So then why can’t people with chronic depression just decide to be happy? The sad fact, according to Healthline.com, is that more than 80 percent of those with symptoms of clinical depression aren’t receiving specific treatment. Each year, the numbers increase by 20 percent. Crisis situations, like unemployment and divorce, contribute to the statistics, which also states that depression is most prevalent among people ages 45 to 64.
Traditional counseling sometimes isn’t enough. Women in need of treatment can turn to Brookhaven Retreat, an individualized mental health program exclusively for women in Tennessee. They offer an individualized treatment plan with a team approach and many different kinds of therapy all with the goal of creating a life worth living. Brookhaven Retreat is a place where happiness happens.