17 Apr

Everyone I know wants to be happy, but it seems like so few people truly are. I used to think of happiness in terms of the future. When I was a child I thought I’d be happier when I got old enough to make my own decisions and be in charge of my own life. I thought happiness would come with independence. When I was a teenager I thought I’d be happy if I could be skinnier, get my braces off, graduate from high school, etc. As a young adult I thought I’d be happier when I got married and had children of my own. But, sometime between then and now I realized that I was always waiting to be happy sometime in the future. Now, I think that happiness is a choice, a mindset. So, if happiness is a choice, why then does it seem like so many people are unhappy? If happiness is truly a choice, wouldn’t everyone choose it? I think people don’t choose happiness because they don’t think they can, they don’t think of it in terms of a choice, they need a paradigm shift.

People often try to obtain happiness by making changes in their life. I’m losing weight right now, and I always thought that would make me happy. But, I’ve realized that while I’m happy to be losing weight, it isn’t making me happy. There are material things I’d like to have, but I don’t want them so much that I’m willing to go into debt for them. I think I’ve always realized that stuff doesn’t make me happy. I’ve been both happily and unhappily married, but I’ve realized that I cannot rely on any relationship to make me happy.

Happiness is something you choose, day-by-day and hour-by-hour. It isn’t always the easy choice to make. Life gives us lots of reasons to be cranky, sad, stressed-out, and depressed. Sometimes a choice to be happy means you have to take care of yourself first. Sometimes it means you have to choose to see the cup as half-full. Sometimes it means you have to realize, this too shall pass. Sometimes you just have to give in to your emotions. No one can feel happy all the time, but like love happiness isn’t a feeling. Happiness is about finding the joy in the present, and delight in the small things.

When I look back on the times in my life when I’ve felt happiest, there are two situations which I recall bringing the most joy. The first is when I’ve spent quality and quantity time with my extended family and closest friends. Sometimes, especially when I find myself stressed out about work, I have to remind myself of my priorities. My family is my number one priority and dedicating time to what I consider my priority makes me happy. The second situation when I recall being tremendously happy is when I’ve given selflessly to those who need and appreciate what I have to give. The old adage—it is better to give than to receive—is so true. Giving things is fun, but giving my time and talents is even more exciting. Anyone who has the financial resources can give money or things, but giving your precious time show that you truly care and it has the power to change someone’s life. When I give of my time to those who need and appreciate what I have to offer, it makes me happy.

I choose to live my life in happiness. But, I still have one question, why do I constantly have to remind myself to make that choice?


One Response to “Happiness”

  1. Leanne April 18, 2011 at 12:39 PM #

    Love this, Debbie! It reminded me of a post I wrote exactly a year ago and inspired me to go back and read it again. Here’s the link if you want to read it, too: http://mywindowonthejourney.blogspot.com/2010/04/happy-days.html. I think this is something to really mull over every once in a while, at least once a year. Our happiness really is our responsibility. We’ve been given much, but what we do with it is up to us.

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