Indeed! I think that happiness is a choice. Sure, there are circumstances that would challenge even the hardiest of souls, but that feeling of oneness with the universe, the rush of feeling good hormones, why wouldn’t you choose that on a daily basis if you could?
I’ve been getting these prompts from the Daily Prompt, on subjects to write about. Truthfully, I haven’t felt much like writing these last few weeks. There’s been a lot going on and I could not focus enough to really say what I wanted. Unfortunately, I am not one to just put a few lines together and publish. I like to have a good discussion on whatever topic is buzzing in my head.
So, why happiness as a topic? There’s already been so much written about happiness, how to obtain it, how to nurture it, medicate to reach it… but it really is elusive. It’s also an inside job. Nothing you can buy, sell, eat, or do will create it (although a well-mad apple fritter… comes pretty darn close). It’s about searching within to express it. Things start falling into place when you are humble and grateful, and willing to learn.
I am a firm believer that we are not in control of anything in our lives, but our own reaction to it. We can pray for something not to happen, or to happen, we can think about how we want our lives to be, and then try to manipulate it to happen that way, but really it is not up to us. The greatest thing I have learned about the quest for happiness is that you have to be completely divested from the outcome.
I applied for a job where I am now, because someone else thought I would be really good at it. I’m happy where I am now and wasn’t really looking to make a change. But I did it because I respect the person who told me I’d be good for it. What did I have to lose? I made a decision with my Higher Power that whatever the outcome, I’d go along with it as the correct one. Since I didn’t have any interest in the outcome, I was free to just be myself and answer the interview questions honestly and let my personality and experience come through, instead of worrying about the answers and second-guessing myself into wondering what the correct answer was that would get me the job.
Well, I got the job.
I was as surprised as anyone that in 2½ years here, I’ve been promoted, and extremely well-compensated. The last company I was with, I was there for 10 years, and hadn’t had a raise or a bump in position in 6 years. Not even a cost of living bump. And yet I was afraid to let go of the “tenure” I had there, and the perks of working there. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Something happens when you’re not afraid to be happy. You’re happy. And while some think that focusing on what you have and being grateful for it will do nothing but keep you at that level, I believe that being grateful every single day for what you have in your life keeps you open for more good things to happen.
Now, I am not saying that “bad” things will never happen, only that with a change in attitude and gratitude, they don’t seem as awful as they once did, and you can move forward from them a lot sooner than if you let it get to you. Last night, I nearly (probably) died. I’m certain that would have been the outcome. I was at a t-intersection, made my stop, and was continuing on to make a left turn, when a truck ran the stop sign, at about 50 mph. I literally almost blacked out from the anticipation of the crash, but somehow, managed to slam on the brakes and honk. The other driver didn’t even try to look like, “Oops! Sorry about that!” or anything showing that it was unintentional. He just didn’t give a shit. Meanwhile, I’ve got tears streaming down my face, my hands are shaking, and the driver of another car came up to me and asked if I was OK. I was. Shaken, but OK. Years ago, I would have ruminated on this whole experience for weeks! Brought it up, chewed on the cud for a while, swallowed it, and then brought it up again just to make sure I’d gotten all I could out of the experience, and repeated. Last night, instead, I went home, hugged my husband, kissed my Pug, related what happened, thanked my guardian angels, and went about preparing dinner. Then I got into gratitude for my wonderful home, my loving friends, the great weather, etc… I just didn’t let it go any further. I did not let it occupy any more of my time because there just isn’t that kind of time. I would rather spend it on those aforementioned things that are important.
So for today, just make a choice. Be happy. Even if the laundry’s not done, your boss is a jerk, you don’t have time for lunch, the dog just peed on the floor…whatever. Choose to not be angry, and reactive. Choose instead to laugh (inside or out) at the circumstance and move on. Don’t give it a moment’s more thought. Choose to spend your energy on things you have control over. Your reaction. Your helpfulness. Your smile.
I’m telling you, sometimes it IS just that easy. And if not, well…
Kind of. For now, anyway.