I Choose Joy—The Personal Side

I am a recovering pessimist. Sometime in middle school I realized I was a pessimist. I think it happened after hearing from more than a few friends and family members that I had a very negative outlook on life. But, to be fair, I had my reasons.

Nevertheless, once I realized that being a pessimist was not the fastest way to find and keep friends—something I desperately wanted in middle school—I decided to change. It is pretty weird now as a clinician to look back, but essentially, I did cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) on myself. I do not have time here to fully explain CBT (though I am skilled in it as a clinician and offer it to clients), but the short explanation is I decided to change my thoughts, which in turn changed my feelings and behaviors.

I did not know it back then, but I was training myself to choose joy. I would force myself to look for the good in a situation or say something nice to someone. This sounds easy, but when you naturally notice the bad AND try to be brutally authentic—meaning, I will not pretend something is good or say something nice unless I believe it—this becomes a difficult task.

I liken it to working out. When you start, it is most difficult. But over time, you get better. Once I started looking for the good it became easier to find. Fast forward to today. I now readily (and much more easily than I used to) choose joy. I find it in waking up earlier than everyone in my house and clutching a cup of hot coffee while I meditate. I find it in watching the sunset behind my house. And I choose joy in harder things too. When I have a big bill to pay for one of my children, I am grateful to have the money to pay it…and even more grateful to have kids in the first place. You get the gist.

This blog is certainly not meant to shame or disappoint you if you are a naturally negative person. I once was too and can relate. It is simply to show you that there is a better way. Like most good things it will take some work to get there, but the mental health counselors at Life Enhancement Counseling Services are here to help and the effort is worth the outcome. Our trained psychotherapists will help you learn tools to become the best you possible. Please contact us today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.


Yolanda Brailey