I had a conversation last night with a friend that ended up turning into a discourse on happiness.
Mostly as I talked and thought out loud, it was a bit of a revelation to me on how impactful a person's attitude is on their happiness. Not only on whether they are a cheerful person and smile a lot- but on their ability to perceive happiness and their capacity to enjoy life- no matter what life throws at them.
I have discovered there are people who do in fact enjoy being miserable. They will adamantly deny it if you confront them about it; but the facts remain. They complain about life, whine and moan about every little wrong thing and act as though their life is so tough, or some experience in their past has radically tarnished their ability to be happy and cheerful for the rest of their lives.
Pardon my French, but 'Bull Shit'.
You are either a happy person or you are not. End of story. If you have cancer, get divorced, have a death in the family, get fired, have your heart broken, have a hard job, experience a tragedy, lose everything to a natural disaster, are the victim of a violent crime- WHATEVER- if you choose to be a cheerful, happy person you will find the silver lining, bounce back and come out smiling- no matter what!
If you are a unhappy person it doesn't matter how attractive you look, how much money is in your bank account, have an easy job- WHATEVER- you will find stuff to grumble about, problem to dwell on and misery to use as an excuse for every failure in your life.
In one of my older blogs I talked about how 'Love is a choice'. Well I want to revise that. Happiness is a choice too.
Everyone has the opportunity to experience pain and misery in life. Yes, I'm calling that an opportunity. Because without knowing the bad, you don't know to appreciate the good. We need to have some troubles and problems in life to help us keep perspective and stay focused on what is REALLY important.
We need to be reminded of people's lives being torn apart with war, grief, death and suffering. And we need to experience those things ourselves on a semi-regular basis. That way we don't waste our lives sleeping all weekend, playing video games all hours of the day or watching 'Married with Children' reruns till four in the morning.
Sure, it may be a cliché- but in spite of all the sadness, tragedy and suffering: Life can be a wonderful, glorious experience. NOT next year when you get that job promotion. NOT in five years when you take that dream vacation. NOT whenever you find a soul mate who 'completes you'. NOT in some determined or undetermined future. But NOW. TODAY.
You can snuggle up with negativity and douse yourself with gloom and throw yourself a pity party and stubbornly sit on your butt and lick your psychological wounds- but NONE of that will ever bring you happiness.
Situations do not make you happy. They just give you new reasons to rejoice or complain.
People do not make you happy. They just are either people you share your enjoyment of life with or people you share your depression for life with.
Locations do not make you happy. If you are miserable because you aren't trying to find good things to think about, focus on and work towards- you'd find a way to be miserable in Paradise too.
The fact is everyone's life sucks in some way. Everyone has a story that is laced with tragedy and pain. Everyone has hardships and problems. The difference between the Failure and the Successful is their attitude and how they USE those problems to get their life straightened out and reach for the stars or ALLOW those problems to engulf them in a stormy sea of endless misery and woe.
Happy people are not happy because they've had an easy life, loads of luck and nothing but good experiences. They are happy because they CHOOSE to be cheerful in spite of their problem and troubles.
So you've had your heart broken. So you've lost your job. So you got sick for a while. So you had a run of 'bad luck' with every major appliance in your possession from your car to your blender.
SO FREAKEN WHAT?!?!?!
You get off your butt and you make yourself a list of all the good things in your life. And if you look you'll see they're as numerous as the stars in the sky at night.
Start with the very, very basic stuff. Can you breath without a machine pumping air into your lungs? Can you move all the normal moving parts of your body at will? Can you poop in the bathroom without a team of medical specialist removing it for you? Can you speak? Can you open your eyes when you try? Do you have food, shelter and water?
If you said yes- then DANG- what the heck are you complaining about?? With a brain to think with and hands to use- the ONLY thing holding you back in life is yourself. Either it's your attitude or it's your choices. And really those are often one and the same thing.
Stop finding ways to victimize yourself. Take charge of yourself and your life- in WHATEVER capacity you are able and choose to be happy no matter what.
Of all the things in life that can be taken from you- the things that can never be taken away are your positive attitude, your determination and your happy spirit. Only YOU can throw those away or keep them strong.
I cannot decide for anyone else if they will be happy. I cannot MAKE anyone else happy and I will not LET anyone make me unhappy. Happiness comes from within yourself. If you choose happiness, you will surround yourself with it, it will project from your entire personality and you will attract it.
Every day I wake up, I'm going to tell myself: No matter what- Today- I WILL BE HAPPY~!
[Posted at MySpace Tuesday, August 7, 2007]