As I was sitting during my quiet time today, I happened to look over at the window. I could see through the blinds that it was a sunny, beautiful day outside. I debated for a moment on whether I should open the blinds and let the sunshine in.
It then occurred to me that there are people who decide to keep their blinds closed all the time, in a metaphorical sense. They are constantly miserable and negative. They don’t take joy in things even when there are good opportunities to do so. They’ve lost their sense of wonder at the beauty in the world.
In a way, I can understand them. I have had low points in my life when I didn’t feel like opening the blinds either. Eventually, I came to a point where I said to myself, “I don’t want to be like this any more.” Sometimes it’s not as easy as making a simple decision like that. Sometimes it involves therapy, a doctor’s care, the advice or help of a family member or friend. The first step to letting the sunshine in again is to want to open your metaphorical blinds and then figuring out how best to go about it.
My mother always told me that happiness is a choice. At my lowest point and during my toughest of times, I didn’t believe her. You can’t just turn off your feelings and be happy. Some things are just devastating to deal with. It took me years to understand what she meant. She didn’t mean for me not to experience the pain and emotion I was feeling. She meant that if I wanted to be happy, I needed to take steps to get there. I had a choice. I could wallow in self-pity indefinitely or I could choose to find my way back to happiness by taking the steps necessary to get there. In my case, I chose to learn how to manage stress more effectively and take more time for the things that were important to me. For others, it may mean choosing to talk to a doctor, changing jobs, getting out of a negative relationship, or making other difficult but positive choices in their lives. Choosing to take steps to get out of your misery is choosing happiness. It’s choosing to open your blinds and let the sunshine in.
Sometimes I choose to leave the blinds closed for a while. A little darkness helps us appreciate the light so much more. But in case you’re wondering, today I did get up and open the blinds. I’m now enjoying the beautiful sunny day full of the sound of birds singing and children playing. I hope you’ll open your blinds and let the sunshine in too.