Don't Worry, Be Happy
Thursday, October 11, 2012
When my first son was born, I experienced a few minutes of complete, utter joy. Then the worry began. "Your son has Clubfoot." This meant 20 months of casts as well as surgery at age 6 months. Then at age 3: "Your son has Asperger's Syndrome (mild autism)." Oh, how desperately I wanted to fix that, to ensure that he could live a "normal" life... meaning, the life I had envisioned for him. None of these things were in my plan.
I spent a lot of those first few years worrying. Sometimes in the midst of my worries, I'd recall those first few minutes of his life, and try to remember what it felt like to be so full of happiness, without a shred of worry. I really could not remember what it felt like.
However, over the years, I've come to realize that I only had to look as far as my son's own example of how to achieve that state of mind. My son is pretty smart, and while he understands about making plans and taking care of responsibilities, he is never worried about it. He does what he needs to do, as best he can, and that's enough. He doesn't fret about grades or where he'll be in the future. He trusts that everything will work out all right, and so far, it has.
He doesn't worry about what anyone thinks of him. He is comfortable with himself. It's like it doesn't even occur to him that someone might not like him. He likes everybody; even those some of us might find to be, well, unlikeable. He takes them where they're at and they can tell there is no judgment coming from him. He is always smiling. Always. He is the happiest, most well-liked person I've ever known.
How many times have I heard over the course of my life, "Be kind to others. Don't worry what other people think of you. Be true to yourself." Well, observing my son, I realize that really is the secret to happiness. I can't change others, I can't change what happens to me and around me, but I can control how I react to things. I can change myself and my outlook.
I choose not to worry, but to be happy.