Some say that happiness is a choice, that you can be happy just by choosing to be happy, but is it really that simple. Can you just turn off all the past hurts and pain, frustrations, disappointments, abuse, failures, and all the other circumstances of life that leads to unhappiness just by making a choice?
One thing that springs to mind is that, happiness tends to be short lived, I have often heard it said that happiness is determined by external factors, so when some external conditions are met you are happy, for example if you are broke and have no money - you are unhappy, but if you get some money - you become happy. Happiness then based on the example just shared, is based on the external factor and that factor is money. The moment you go back to being broke again, the unhappiness returns.
So with that in mind, is happiness then a choice or is happiness a state of certain conditions being met in our lives. There is a formula I once learnt at a Tony Robins event which says that when our present circumstance is equal to our blueprint for life, the result will be happiness. In other words when my present conditions are in line with where I expect to be in my life then I will be happy and when my present conditions aren't in line with where I expect to be in life and what I expected to have accomplished by this stage of my life etc, then I will be unhappy.
Are we then being honest with ourselves when we say happiness is a choice, when it's clear that we are only truly happy when certain ideals we hold about how our life should be are in place.
The person that was raped and taken against their will, can they really just choose to be happy and forget the pain of the past?
The man that has lost his Job and can't provide for his family and is on the verge of losing his home and feels like a failure, a let-down, and a disappointment to his family, can he really just choose to be happy despite the circumstances he finds himself in?
Does choosing to be happy really birth happiness or is it just a temporary measure we try to use to numb the pain but doesn't really deal with the root of the unhappiness.
I ponder on that statement "happiness is a choice" and think back to the times when I have been unhappy, what brought me out of that state of unhappiness, was it a choice I made or was it something else.
Here's what I feel, I feel happiness comes partly as a result of making a choice but not completely, making a choice not to let your
circumstances make you unhappy is only the beginning. I think there are other factors that help you to achieve happiness like:
Changing your focus from what is causing you to feel unhappy to the things you are thankful for.
Reaching out for help, admitting to yourself that your life isn't the way you want it to be and reaching out to those who are in a position to help you achieve the things that will make life more fulfilling, satisfying and meaningful for you so that you can become happier with yourself and your life.
Prayer and Faith - for me without my faith in God and the assurance I have that God hears me when I reach out to him in prayer and is ready to come to my aid and turn around the situation that is making me unhappy or at least give me the strength and courage to make it through the situation, choosing to be happy would be near impossible - but with God all things are possible, even happiness in the middle of crisis.
And making a decision to enjoy where you are on the way to where you are going, so it's not that you stop striving for your ideals but you don't allow the fact that you haven't yet reached those ideals make you unhappy to the point that you life becomes stagnant because you've lost the motivation to keep going.
I remember Tony Robins also saying that sometimes you have to change your blueprint (your expectations) in life so that you can be happy. I don't completely agree with that, I think you can keep your blueprint but not allow the fact that that blueprint isn't yet a reality become a barrier to your happiness - hard but possible.
For me, what works for me with regards to happiness is Gods promises towards me and my hope and faith in God. You are not defeated until you stop hoping and believing, so as long as there is hope there is still life and that's where I draw my happiness from. So I guess I could say happiness is a choice, I choose to remain happy knowing that Gods plans and promises towards me will be fulfilled.
I prefer to refer to it as joy though, because unlike happiness which is based on the acquisition or accomplishing or certain conditions being met, with Joy, even without those things you still manage to have peace and contentment and a smile - a genuine one for that matter on your face.
Might sound crazy but I guess maybe its a divine thing, it's a peace and joy that isn't from this world, I guess you can't really just choose to be happy when everything in your life isn't yet the way you want it, when your reality is so far from your dream, for me it takes God, the spirit of God, the nature, ability and power of God and the strength of God to be able to not just choose to be happy under those circumstances but also genuinely be happy.
That's my take on the whole happiness is a choice thing, to summarise all I've said I guess you can put it this way: Happiness is a choice you can make with the supernatural help and strength of God even when all hell is breaking lose in your life otherwise it will be almost impossible to be happy when there doesn't seem to be much to be happy about.
What do you think? Is happiness a choice? How do you choose happiness, how do you personally maintain your happiness when the circumstances of your life say otherwise? Please share your advice, thoughts, insights, experience and any other comments you have.
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