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Choosing Happiness!

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Q: I've noticed I am feeling overly sorry for myself. Frequently, when I meet others, I irritate them, and they do not want to spend much time with me. I understand why: I am not a happy camper and let everyone know it. Why would anyone want to spend time with me when I have such a negative attitude?

Knowing this about myself, I want to change. How can I switch gears and take on a more positive outlook on life?

A: According to expert Deepak Chopra, negative feelings are a dependency issue. His theory is: "Self-pity is the opposite of self-esteem."

The attitude we adopt for our life is our choice.

Many psychiatrists believe that up to 80 percent of our happiness in life is based on choosing a positive outlook. Choosing the negative approach usually causes "apathy," a word with many definitions. Some define it as meaning becoming disinterested in your peers, while others believe it is a devil-may-care attitude, being unsympathetic to others or even just a cry for help.

Because you want to regain your friendships and make new ones, you will require time and an attitude adjustment, both of which are possible.

Some successful ways to rekindle friendships is to convince yourself of how much happier you will be if you do, stand up for yourself, and explain to others you want to enjoy their friendships but need a little encouragement. Volunteer and help others, be more grateful, and take on responsibility.

Often, we are victims of our upbringings and need to rid ourselves of the rejections we have experienced. Beliefs can become internalized and a challenge to destroy. What is now isn't. Hiring a coach to help you get through this process can prove to be valuable.

The miracle of life is that we have options and can accomplish them if we see their benefits. The best time for your starting to do so is today!

Q: I am a 63-year-old bachelor. I've had two long-term relationships but chose not to marry for several reasons. After breaking up with the second lady, I found a new lady I love, who loves me back. And now, we are considering marrying. We have been together nearly six months. Are we making a mistake?

A: No, hopefully not. But slow down. It's wonderful you have discovered each other. Take more time to get to better know each other, work out your finances, determine your housing arrangements, meet each other's families, take a cruise or vacation to learn how you both think, meet each other's friends, learn what health issues each of you are facing, discuss your religious beliefs, and so on to prepare for marriage. Is either of you allergic to food that is the other's favorite?

We're aware that it's almost impossible to change one another. As Peter de Vries is quoted: "The bonds of matrimony are like any other bonds — they mature slowly!"

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California Retirement community. Contact him at deardoug@msn.com. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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