Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 89 - Happiness is a Choice...and how I learned this life lesson.

I was 23 years old and in my first semester of graduate school.  It was a couple of weeks before finals and I was grumpy!  And, I had been for a few weeks. 

My graduate assistantship sucked.  My classes were a drag.  And, I had lots of opinions about why - and I was sure that all of it was someone else's fault!

One afternoon while having a meeting with my supervisor, whom I greatly respected, I bitched, and whined, and groaned about everything! 

She listened.  And, I thought that she was going to commiserate with me.

But, when I was done, she kindly, but plainly said "Kim, if you are this unhappy, you need to make a change.  Either leave school, or stay and figure out how to be happy."

It was like a splash of ice cold water.

I knew that she was right. 

Tears welled up in my eyes.  And, I remember saying "I know you are right.  But, I can not think about that until my finals are over."

Her words stayed with me, and when I finished my finals I began to think about what she said.  First I thought about leaving graduate school.  And, I seriously considered it as an option, but, pretty quickly I knew that wanted to continue my studies. 

So, then I thought, "OK, if I am staying, then how am I going to be happy?"  I began to wonder what, precisely made me unhappy.  I realized that there was a group of us graduate students who whined, moaned, and groaned about everything.  We had lots of complaints, but offered no solutions.  I had gotten sucked into a classic case of negative group think. And, my righteousness and indignant attitude was toxic to my soul.  I knew that it needed to end!

When I returned to school at the beginning of the next semester, my supervisor and I discussed the situation.  She helped me identify strategies for not being a part of negative conversations, while still maintaining friendships.   She was so encouraging and supportive!

And because of her support, I consciously made a decision that I would no longer engage in these bitch sessions.  I learned to say "I am sorry, but I am not interested in being a part of this conversation".  And, I became proficient at walking away from negativity.

And, guess what?!!!  I was happier!

It was the first time I really "got" that happiness is a choice!

And, this is a life lesson that I am SO incredibly grateful for!

So today, I am thankful for Anne - one of the best supervisors I have ever had!


Who helped you learn an important life lesson?

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