Dolly Parton Says Happiness Is a Choice
Dolly Parton is one of the few celebrities who manages to avoid most of the negative gossip that plagues the majority of famous artists. But while the 68-year-old definitely doesn't shy away from the spotlight, she says she just chooses to remain joyful regardless of the circumstances.
"People always say, 'You seem to always be so happy,'" she tells Southern Living magazine. "But I’m not always happy. Nobody is happy all the time. I’m a very sensitive person. I’m a songwriter, so I have to live with my feelings on my sleeve. I have to not harden my heart, because I want to stay open to feel things. So when I hurt, I hurt all over. And when I cry, I cry real hard. And when I’m mad, I’m mad all over. I’m just a person; I like to experience whatever the feeling is and whatever I’m going through. But I have a good attitude. And I was born with a happy heart. I’m always looking for things to be better."
Parton also credits her family heritage, including being raised in the hills of East Tennessee with her extended family, with her positive outlook.
"[I'm] grateful for the things that happen to [me]," she adds. "I think that also came from my childhood -- my grandfather was a preacher -- just having God, faith and all that instilled in us. But I like to make things happen if they’re not happening. I like to get involved. So I like to think of myself as a Girl of Many Colors, not just a coat, because I have all kinds of moods, and I experience them all. I think that’s what makes a human being."
The songstress says that it's important to differentiate between dreams and wishes, although both have their place in her life.
"That’s kind of a critical little thing to do," Parton explains. "But when you’re just wishing, that means you’re just sitting and thinking about things, but you’re not willing to get off your [tail] and do something about it. You can wish your life away. But if you’re going to dream, you’re going to have to get out and ... put some wings on them dreams and some feet and fingers and some hands -- they gotta get into some stuff. You can’t just sit around and think of all the things you want to do. You’ve got to think of what you want to do, and then you’ve got to get out and make that happen."
The actress and author says she relies on her spiritual side to accomplish her goals.
"I pray a lot," Parton acknowledges. "I pray that God will show me what to do and will guide me and lead me. And I try not to answer His prayers. I try to keep myself wide open to recognize what it is that I’m supposed to know and to see. I may not always like a route that something’s taken. I might prefer it to be something different. But I think, 'Well, this is what I’ve got.' So you gotta make the most with what you’re supposed to be doing."
The 'I Will Always Love You' singer hasn't always had it easy, but she says the trials gave her valuable life lessons that have sustained her through her 40-year career.
"Nothing’s ever lost with me," she maintains. "I’ve had a lot of things that I’ve wanted to do that didn’t exactly work out. But I applied it to something else, and it worked out twice as good as I thought. You’ve just got to keep your mind on your business. You gotta just know what it is you want."