There are some people who seem to think that happiness is the result of all the right wheels turning at just the right time. You’re walking down the street, find twenty dollars, get a compliment from a stranger, meet the perfect guy or girl (and don’t totally make a fool of yourself), go to your favorite store and get 50% off, etc., etc.
It’s easy to be happy when everything seems to be going your way, but I think that defining happiness that way reduces it to a by-product of luck, or an accident, which it is not. In fact, I might even argue that luck is a byproduct of happiness if I was in a particularly feisty mood.
Happiness doesn’t just happen.
Some days are good, but there are probably more days that are just mediocre or plain bad, and it’s on those days that the true nature of happiness is revealed. Have you ever met someone who stayed positive, even when they’re having a bad day, and everything that can go wrong seems to be going wrong? If you’re having a bad day, too, just being near someone like that can be uplifting (although for others it is annoying, but that usually just stems from jealousy).
People who are able to smile even through the worst of times have learned a very important lesson, the same lesson I stated above: Happiness doesn’t just happen.
Happiness is a choice.
That’s right, a choice. Not an accident, not a charitable gift from the universe. Of course, it’s nice to receive those gifts, and easy to be happy when you do, but happiness is about choosing to see the adventure in every moment, choosing to understand that there will always be a light after the dark, that there is always good in every situation and every person, no matter how grim things may seem.
That’s the key to happiness: choosing it. It’s not an easy choice all the time, and it very well may be the last thing you want to do sometimes. When grief strikes, or when you just can’t seem to catch a break, sometimes you just want to sulk and stay upset, perpetuate the sadness. It’s a natural response, but it isn’t a required behavior, it’s a choice. And choosing to be happy will make you a better, stronger, wiser, more longsuffering person.
We always have the choice to be happy. Learning to change our attitude is frustrating, but worth it in the end. When we choose to be happy, things tend to work in our favor, and luck seems to be on our side; and even if things don’t happen the way you want them to, if you choose to be happy, you can accept situations for what they are and make the most of life, no matter the hand it deals you.
Photo by Jack Batchelor