I Choose Happy
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Health and Wellness

I Choose Happy

Happiness is a choice, not a result. If we can change our mindset, we can change the way we see life.

I Choose Happy

"Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy, unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you." -Ralph Marston

Since I was a kid, I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Happy. I thought it was weird for me to think this, when all of the other kids around me dreamed of being an astronaut, pop artist, or doctor. I knew I wanted to be happy. I wanted to wake up each morning and feel the light in my lungs as I took my first morning breath. I wanted to go through each day and not let the things other people said or did bother me. I wanted to be the one people went to when they needed cheering up. I wanted vibrant, blue skies in my mind and a kaleidoscope heart.

But that's easier said than done, right? As I grew up, I was happy. I was so happy with the family I had, the friends I developed, my grades in school, and who I was. I wasn't particularly 'cool' in high school, but that never mattered to me. My friends kept me grounded and I was beyond lucky and ecstatic to have spent my time with people like them. I was happy, and I didn't care about labels or cliques.

As we age past adolescence and into adults, it becomes harder to stay happy, doesn't it? Things don't play out like you thought they would. Parents get divorced. Friends drift apart. You lose people to unfortunate accidents. Life always goes on, but sometimes it feels like it doesn't. You get stuck with certain situations you go through, and the worst part of it is those feelings stay with you.

I remember the first time I was truly unhappy. My childhood home got foreclosed on, and within 3 days I moved into a small, 2 bedroom apartment with my parents and brother. There wasn't enough space for us, so my brother slept on the couch. My parents weren't getting along and it made it horribly awkward. Then 3 weeks after we moved, my dad left while everyone was at work. We came home and all his belongings were gone, his wedding ring was the only thing he left.

That was a very dark time for me. I was never hurt like that in my life before, and I was unhappy. Nothing anyone did or said made me feel better. My dad tried reaching out to me multiple times in the following months, but I deliberately ignored him. I felt like a vessel of sadness, doing mundane daily tasks, trudging on day after day. I knew what would make me feel better in the grand scheme of things. It's the thing that makes everyone eventually feel better, but it's one of the hardest things to allow a troubled, hurt soul to allow. Forgiveness.

I eventually forgave my father, and we have a great relationship today. I wanted to continue to ignore him. I wanted him to hurt, to know he had lost me forever. I wanted to hurt him as badly as he had hurt me. In the end, I was only hurting myself. I didn't want to carry that burden and that heaviness in my heart. I wanted to be happy, free again. Fixing broken relationships is one of most direct ways to achieve that, but it also takes the most patience and courage. I didn't forgive him so he could feel better. I forgave him so I could.

I have gone through a lot of different situations since that period in my life. I went away to college, graduated, moved to Los Angeles, and fell in love with my life. However, we aren't meant to stay in a euphoric stage for long periods of time. It's not practical, and we need the low times to remind us to be grateful for the highs. If there has been anything consistent in my adult life it is that: what goes up, must come down.

I will confess, I have been in a low spot for some time now. I have been trying to think of ways to pull me out of my slump, different things I haven't tried in the past, as well as things I have done, like meditation. This low is different from the others though: I still feel like I have a light in me. I don't feel darkness around me and I don't feel hopeless. I still feel like I have a light bulb in my chest, illuminating my aura. It's allowed me to have insight and have clarity.

What is it that makes us unhappy? What triggers us into thinking what we have is not enough? Why do we crave what we can't have? Why can't we choose happiness in the face of difficult choices? What are we stuck on?

All these things have a common factor. All these things can be solved if we eliminate the one thing that joins these all together.

External factors.

We allow ourselves to be so affected by things in our lives that we can't look inside ourselves to find the happiness we crave, desire, and deserve.

How many of these situations have you allowed to make you feel a type of way? Being ghosted by someone you gave maybe a little too much of your time to? You told someone exciting (or sad) news and they didn't react the way you thought they would? Your expectations for someone or an event were not met, time after time. Well what about this? Not finding someone to connect with. Never finding a partner and declaring that you're going to die alone. Being at a job that brings you unhappiness and makes you feel daily tasks are too much to bear?

We are affected by all these things, because we allow ourselves to be. We have a choice. Someone cuts you off during traffic, what are you going to do? Blow your horn and give them the finger, or take a breath and carry on because nothing you can do will change what is? We all have a choice, in every decision we make, every day of our lives. How much time would we spend complaining, if what we were complaining about didn't bother us anymore? We cannot change the past, we cannot change people, and we cannot change the future. Whatever is meant to happen to us, will happen one way or another. Why do we have such a hard time making the right choice, the one that will give us peace?

We have to allow ourselves to realize we cannot expect others to make us happy. We cannot allow what other people do or don't do, say or don't say, to have such a hold over us that if they don't react the way we want them to or say what we want them to say, put us in such a rut that it makes us spiral and have us overthinking situations or decisions. Why can't we just be?

I think the Buddhists really hit it spot on when they say the cause of all suffering is from desire, if you take out desire, you remove suffering. We desire so much from what we want out of life, and while it is smart and strategic to have goals, it is important to be thankful and happy for what you have while you have it.

I truly believe removing unnecessary desires from our lives will make people happier and healthier. What if we no longer desired to please people? To have their approval? Their acceptance? We need to look inside ourselves first before we allow ourselves to dabble with these desires. We will never find happiness if we are looking for people to give it to us, or if we wait for something to fall onto our laps. We need to make sure we can be happy with who we are at our core.

I have always been a people pleaser. I feel so deeply for other people, and always think about my words or actions because I know I have power to make people feel something, good or bad. I can lift people up, or tear them down just as easily. If I did something to someone and I knew they were upset or disappointed with me, I feel like I took it harder than most people would or should. I know my actions have direct effect on people, everyone's do.

However, I have realized I cannot go through life tip toeing around people, not speaking my mind because it might upset someone or make them feel badly. We are all humans with feelings, and each one of us should be allowed to express these feelings. It's crazy that I have spent so much of my life looking out for other people. At the end of the day, I am not responsible for anyone else's happiness but my own. Just as I know I cannot let other people have an affect over my feelings, other people should not let me have such a hold over them.

This world is big and scary, and most of us are just trying to survive the best we can. Wouldn't it be nice if we could thrive, instead of just survive? To feel energy and positivity, instead of anxiety and unease? It all starts in our mind. We are the key to our own happiness, not anyone or anything else. If we want to be happy, we need to decide to be. This is the first step. It won't happen overnight, but you're always one decision away from a different life.

To the people that say happiness is not a choice, I have to disagree. Happiness isn't an on and off switch, it's not going to happen instantly because you now decide to be happy. Happiness will follow our mindset and our decisions. If we are truly unhappy, what steps do we take to help ourselves? What are we doing differently? Are we really trying to help ourselves, or are we looking for pity, looking to see if anyone cares we're upset? Every decision we make will help us either become happier, or not. We need to actively make decisions and take chances on things that have potential to make us smile, to help us connect, to really help us find what we're missing to make us feel unhappy. So yes, happiness is a choice. We need to choose the decisions that will give us results over and over again until we can finally come off our antidepressants, until we no longer feel the need to cry alone at night, until we are content with just being alive. It isn't easy, and it isn't quick. We have all the power we need in our minds and hearts.

I no longer expect people to cheer me up when I'm down, or comfort me when I'm sad. To be honest, I don't want them to. If I want to be happy, I cannot let mundane things get in the way of it. I meditate, journal, write; I do things to keep my mind happy. If I am unhappy with something in my life, I know I am the only one with the power to change it. I won't allow other people to make me sad or allow me to have negative emotions. I will let the things I cannot change be. I choose to be happy, not so it takes the burden off of other people having to check up on me, but I choose to be happy so I can smile when I wake up in the morning, so I can not get frustrated when something doesn't go my way, when I have no control over a situation, so I can live my life feeling the way I want to feel. If there was something you could change to make yourself happier, wouldn't you at least try?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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