Choosing to Be Happy

“I think it’s brave to try to be happy. You’ve gotten so comfortable being unhappy. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to wake up in the morning and choose to be happy?”

This is a quote from one of my all-time favorite TV shows, Pushing Daisies. (It’s a beautiful and inspiring and clever show and I highly recommend it; it’s also very weird and quirky, so be warned if you decide to check it out.)

I have a question for you all: How often do you think of happiness as a choice? Sure, you can let the circumstances of your life determine your feelings. And if your life turns out perfectly just how you planned it and everything’s just like you thought it would be, and it’s raining star fruits and unicorns all the time (and also if you like star fruits and unicorns), then congratulations—you’ll probably be feeling pretty good.

But that’s pretty risky to leave your emotional wellbeing up to circumstance. What if your life doesn’t turn out the way you wanted? What if nobody is hiring you for your dream job? What if someone says something hurtful to you? What if your body is a different shape or size than you want it to be and the clothes you wish you could wear don’t fit?

Sure, if things go “wrong” it’s a whole lot easier to complain, to be frustrated, to feel hopeless, than to take action to make things better. But is taking the easy route really worth sacrificing your happiness? That’s up to you to decide.

Keyword: decide.

I’m not going to pretend I have this all figured out. I still get upset when things don’t go the way I was hoping they would. But more and more I am realizing that although outside circumstances definitely have an effect on how I’m feeling, it’s really my thoughts about the circumstance that’s creating the feeling.

I’m realizing that a trying situation is not determining my feelings but is instead challenging me to be a more grounded, peaceful, joyful, loving person, even when it is much harder to be one. And the more I realize this, the happier I am.

I promise you, friends, you have a choice. That choice gives you the power to feel the way you want to feel. So be aware of what you’re choosing.