Happiness is a Choice?

I have heard this many times. It makes sense and it makes me feel hopeful for the future. I can choose to be happy! This statement always makes me feel empowered until I am unable to make that choice in my everyday life. Then the feeling of empowerment turns into disappointment in myself. I guess like everything else in life this is something that must be cultivated through practice.

I have observed and greatly admired those people that are able to smile when presented with tough situations. I have a friend who always seems to be happy. He has the ability to make a joke out of nearly everything. Contrary to him, I tend to get upset over the dumbest things. I stress myself out over everything because I have this thought in my head that the things I do must be how I planned them out in order for me to be happy.

I realized that I have this erroneous thought that happiness wont be a choice for me until I get my life the way I think it should be. Falling into the trap of expectations again, it is so easy because expectations disguise themselves as how things should be if you want to live a good life.

At the moment I am thinking that I will be able to choose to be happy once I finish this ten page paper that is due today and I have been putting off until this morning and once I get over this cold. But there is always something that seems to stand in the way of being happy. If it’s not a huge stack of homework to get done, it is a stressful day at work, or a stupid comment by some jerk you run into, or a pesky headache. There always seems to be 101 reasons standing in the way of happiness.

But now that I think about it, happy people are not free of their own 101 reasons not to be happy. They just choose to enjoy themselves despite what might not be going their way. They tend to know when to let go and give themselves a break when things aren’t working without needing to go through hours of feeling like a total and complete failure. This is something I know I am not very good at but can definitely improve on.

I am not done with this idea about happiness being a choice. I know there is a lot more I can learn from this, I just need to reflect on it deeper and to put it to practice. I will write more about this when I have gotten more insight on it.  I just wanted to share this because it’s been on my mind all day. I have been so annoyed by this essay I have to turn in tonight (the words just seem to evade me) and stressed out about all of the packing and planning that still needs to be done for a road trip I am taking tomorrow with my family.

Can you believe that? I can even turn something as fun as a road trip into a stressful chore because I go so overboard trying to plan every last thing that could possibly be planned to make sure everything goes well. I guess that is just part my perfectionism getting the best of me, but I will try to relax and just enjoy the fact that I am going on a trip tomorrow. I will accept the fact that I don’t need to control everything in order for things to go well. In fact, just by writing about it and identifying what is going on is already helping me. Writing never fails me 🙂

So for the rest of today, I will make an effort to choose to be happy. I will try to make things as enjoyable as possible. I will take my laptop out in my backyard and finish my essay there, listening to Ed Sheeran (his music tends to mellow me out).  It’s another beautiful day outside, so getting some fresh air will definitely do me well. And about the trip tomorrow, I will give it a try to see what it is like to go on a trip without planning everything out. I have done all the major planning that needed to be done, so I will back off (now that I know that I am giving into my anxiety and perfectionism) and trust that I am capable with dealing with things as they come on this trip. I will make it a goal to enjoy the rest of my day.

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5 thoughts on “Happiness is a Choice?

  1. I am not so sure if happiness is a choice, as much as it is a frame of mind. I am one of those people who are “always happy.” I’m happy because I surround myself with those who make me happy and if I don’t like an aspect of my life I change it. As far as we know you only get one shot at this life, and life is too short to not be happy! Identify the things in your life that DON’T make you happy and eliminate them. Don’t mistake the stress of homework for “unhappiness” keep in mind what you have to gain, the advantages you will have when you finish school.
    I like your positive attitude. choose to be happy today 🙂

    1. You are totally right. I tend to label different feelings like stress or discomfort as unhappiness but that is not the case. Reminding myself that in life you will experience all sorts of feelings and we should not label then and just let ourselves go through them. Thank you for reminding me of that! I will continue working on identifying what is causing me to feel “unhappy” and work on that. Thank you so much for your comment! 🙂

  2. In somewhat the same lines, I have recently learnt to separate out the happiness I feel from fulfilling my goals from the happiness I get from little pleasures or reasons to smile and laugh. Because the latter makes sure that I stay happy even if everything in life is not going the way I would have liked. It took me also a great deal of realisation to start letting go of the notion that if I don’t achieve my goals then I don’t deserve happiness. Allowing ourselves to be sad and worried, but acknowledging that we can still feel happy or smile about other things in life is where the choice lies. Since I ve learnt this very recently, I really relate to this post 🙂

    1. I really like what you mentioned about realizing that the happiness you feel from achieving your goals and from the happiness you feel from the life’s little pleasures, can be separated. That way it might be a bit easier to be able to focus on the things you already have that bring you joy, instead of frantically searching for it in the achievement of a new goal. Thank you for you comment! 🙂

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