Today I’ve been pondering happiness. Some people say happiness is the purpose of life. Me, I don’t think so. Happiness is not the goal of life; it’s not something we acquire or reach. According to all those self-help books, it cannot depend on other people. So what is happiness? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, happiness is: a. a state of well-being and contentment. b. a pleasurable or satisfying experience.
Now… let us digest it. If happiness is a state of contentment, then we all know nobody can be happy all the time. Nobody is in a state of contentment 24/7. Nobody is having pleasurable and satisfying experiences 24/7. We all get to have sucky moments… Hey! That’s life! So then, happiness is not a perpetual state of existence. Happily ever after is a myth. Ew… this post is starting to seem a bit pessimistic. But hang with me. I’ll get to happy. I promise!
So what is happiness? How do we get it? When do we get it? Is it those moments when we feel exhilaration? Is it when we have a smile on our face? Is it doing what brings a smile to your face? Is it satisfaction? Some people consider themselves happy even though they can’t do what they love. Is it feeling loved by someone? Some people have everything others feel would bring happiness and yet they are not. We call it depression. It’s a bit elusive this happiness thing. What makes you content? What gives you pleasure? Everyone has a different answer for that. Some people feel happy when they dance. Others are happy when they see Mickey Mouse. Others feel joy when they see their children smile. It seems, there is no exact recipe for happiness. It’s not a combination of elements that come together to provide that everlasting smile. In fact, if we consider the definition, happiness is a rather temporary state.
And how could you even tell if you were happy unless at some point in your life, you weren’t? So what exactly am I asking when I say: Are you happy? Is it a question of right now or am I referring to a general state? Does that mean you aren’t happy unless you have a big, bright smile on your face? Hmmmm… There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer. Unless…
Unless happiness is a choice. We choose to smile in the face of adversity. We decide we won’t be put down by being overweight or having failing health. We decide to keep trying after every failed relationship. Yes. Happiness is your choice. Choose it. Choose it everyday. Because you don’t know if you will be alive tomorrow to choose it then. Happiness is what you feel when you choose not to be upset; not to be sad. No, the exhilarated pleasurable state won’t last forever, but the smile lingers inside, even if it fades from your face. Happiness is the natural consequence of a good choice. So choose well and be happy.