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Happiness as a choice

October 13, 2013

Happiness, I’m sure most people would agree is the ultimate goal in life. Whatever our dreams and aspirations for the future, surely we all hope that we’ll be happy. One day. This is what has suddenly struck me about my attitude towards happiness; I am always thinking about what will make me happy in the future. I seem to view happiness as a result of having achieved or attained something rather than what it actually is, a feeling in the present.

Today I sat down to re-watch the first episode of my all time favourite TV show, The West Wing, and it made me happy. I was excited to experience the same thrill I always get during that first episode of re-meeting characters that seem like old friends. I look forward to the things I know are going to come later in the series, the way the characters are going to change and develop, and I know that for the time in which I’m watching it, I will be happy.

Could I say this to anyone who didn’t know me? That watching a TV show brings happiness to my life? No, emphatically no. I know, because I’d probably think the same thing, that they would think that anyone who gets that excited by TV must lead a very sad life. But if that makes the person happy, how can their life be sad?

I once heard someone say that happiness is a choice. You can choose to focus on the things you don’t yet have, the things which you know could make you happy if you had them; or you can focus on the things which do make you happy, however momentary they may be.

I was talking to a friend about relationships yesterday, and she wanted us both to join a dating site. No thank you. I have nothing against online dating, I know that some people meet the love of their life through the internet, but right now, I don’t need a man to make me happy. I promise this isn’t turning into a feminist rant about being an empowered modern woman, it just got me thinking. People seem to think that if you’re not coupled up, or you don’t have an exciting job, or you don’t go travelling to foreign countries all the time you can’t be happy.

For all the people out there who, like me, are perfectly happy with their lives the way they are at the moment, I have this to say; let yourself be perfectly happy. I find myself re-evaluating my own happiness based on other people’s expectations, but no more. Instead of looking for reasons why I should be unhappy, I am going to simply let myself enjoy being content with my life.

Happiness is a choice. We can allow it or we can deny it. We can wait for something to happen to make us happy, or we can choose to be happy now. I choose now. From now on whenever I start to measure my own happiness by what someone else has, I’m going to remind myself that I am not them. Happiness comes from within, so all I really need to be happy is to be content with who I am today.

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  1. It is the little things | inspire4better

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