All through our lives, we have the liberty of choice. Depending on culture, country and customs, some may have their choices limited but there are still choices. I read something that states happiness is a choice, it is something that we choose to be…or not! I’ve thought for a while now that happiness is intrinsic – that it’s not linked to material things or an event – anything external. Yes, granted that some material things or events will contribute to your happiness but they are not the cause of your happiness. I was having a conversation about this very topic with a work colleague which inspired me to write my thoughts down.
I referred a book to him, it is “The Top 5 regrets of the Dying” by Bronnie Ware. Bronnie Ware worked as a palliative care nurse and cared for people who had reached the end of their lives – I found it an interesting read and a great reminder that life is too short. My colleague said he was too afraid to read it because it might reflect his life at the moment. I replied by saying that I thought that it tells us something that we probably already know but need to be reminded. He agreed and said that it provides a structure to those thoughts. One of the top 5 regrets was “I wish I had let myself be happier”. I read this book a few years ago and I think it is what has contributed to me starting my journey to ensure my happiness, which I find then has a positive effect for my relationships with friends, family and colleagues.
I have often found that when I make the choice to be happy, then I will be happy. I have been told by someone that they admire my optimism, which is nice to hear because there are times when I have struggled with it. There is a saying that “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change”. I’ve applied this myself and felt the change in things around me at the time. I observed that if I chose to be angry or bothered by something then that is the mood I tend to carry, but if I chose to realise that it is something outside my control and chose how I react to the situation then it became more bearable. I’m sure that you have had the same realisation – sometimes in hindsight. Ah, hindsight – it is a wonderful thing! I feel that for every situation though, good or bad – you can always take away learnings from it. It’s about knowing when to pick your battles.
I am grateful that I live in a country where freedom of choice is a luxury, I empathise with those where it is not the case. I have read books where customs, religion or culture have dictated certain traditions which is not a choice for the individual and am saddened that this still happens in this day and age. I am grateful to be living where these things do not apply to me or my family. I feel awareness of the inequities in the world is one of the best ways to help us eradicate it. In this day and age, there is still a lot to be done especially for the sake of women and children whose choice is taken away regarding education, marriage, employment and basic human rights. Yet, they can sometimes (not always) be the happiest people because despite their situation, they have made the choice to be happy. Happy that they are alive, happy that they get to see another day, happy that they can take care of their family, happy that they have another opportunity to change things. What is your choice?
I thought I’d share some quotes I found about choosing to be happy to leave you with – they may empower and inspire you to make the choice to live your own ‘happy’ life. My favourite is John Lennon’s quote. My choice is to Laugh, Love, Live! Life’s too short to be anything but happy – do what makes you smile, be with people who make you laugh and be grateful for what you have because even if you think it may not be much, sometimes it is much more than what someone else may have! Do you agree?