How I Learned to be so Happy it Hurts - Part 1 of 3

I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.
— Martha Washington
 Featured beauties:  Gemma Marin  and Ari

Featured beauties: Gemma Marin and Ari

This past week, the happiest woman on the planet 

BROKE THE INTERNET.

Unless you're living under a rock (and if you are, that's cool - just keep reading and I'll bring you up to speed real quick), then you know who I'm talking about. Candace Payne is your new best friend. This last week, her Chewbacca mask video became the most watched Facebook Live video ever. Why? Because she's adorable, sweet, and so happy it hurts to watch. 

Yes, it hurts to watch. Like, your cheeks and abs - literally. If you watch her videos, this amazing woman has a laugh that is so contagious you can't help but to share in her joy. Sure, we don't know her backstory and whether she is suffering or has suffered something tragic. But that's OK. You don't need to know her backstory to KNOW: that woman is happy. Really and truly happy.

Because happiness is a state of mind. 

IT IS A CHOICE YOU MAKE IN SPITE OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES.

This post is not meant to discredit the countless incurable psychological issues millions of people around the world suffer from. Instead, this post is for those that, at worst, walk the line between mentally healthy and batshit crazy. I walked that line for most of my teenage and adult life. In fact, I've often crossed that line into batshit crazy.

Although I didn't know it at the time, growing up, I was surrounded by mental illness - depression, bipolar disorder, addiction, you name it. By the time I hit my teens, in addition to the havoc that puberty wreaked on my body and mind, hating myself was all I knew. I was programmed to believe I wasn't good enough, that everything was my fault, that I could have done better, and that I wasn't worthy of being loved. Toss into the mix that I'm an introvert and didn't communicate these feelings to anyone, and it just wasn't pretty.

As a result, I suffered from depression for over a decade. It was a rare day when I didn't take the first opportunity to be alone and to cry. I hated myself and wished I was anyone else but me. Until one day I read one single sentence in a book that turned my world upside down. I don't recall the book or the quote, but it basically said this:

being unhappy is a BAD habit, 

and you have the power to break it.

What?! A HABIT?! That changed everything for me. It made so much sense I wanted to kick myself for not realizing it sooner. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that over the course of ten years, I had created more bad habits than I could count. 

So from that day forward, I set out to undo what I had allowed my mind to do to me. I was going to destroy each and every bad habit, one by one. I was going to be happy. 

And guess what? It was easier than I thought. 

Eventually, I'll put out Part 2 of 3 - what bad habits I set out to break; and Part 3 of 3 - how I broke them. Until then, just think about this: being happy is a good habit you can start developing right now. And don't you dare tell me that's not completely and utterly empowering.