September 14, 2020
Happiness Is a Choice
Positivity is something that I talk about a lot. I speak about it so much because it has worked to help me through very dark times in my life. I recall a conversation with my surgeon in 2012 (before my cancer operation). He told me that the biggest determining factor between cancer survivors and those who do not survive, is an outlook of hopefulness and positivity. I survived, so I believe that it is a beneficial practice.
Being positive can lead you on a direct path to happiness; and by happiness I mean a general contentment with the here and now. To be happy does not mean that you must be ignorant to suffering; however, even in moments of loss, we can still appreciate and have gratitude for what remains.
Here are my…
5 Reasons why happiness is a choice
You see what you see
Your focus depends on the beliefs and thoughts you hold. Your inner narrative can put you on a broken record of despair if you get stuck in negative beliefs and thoughts about yourself. If the record is always playing the song: “I’m a victim, I’m a victim”, and it is your number one hit; it may be time to change the song that is playing. Perhaps even throw the record out of the window to escape those self-defeating thoughts.
If you are experiencing this, it is no wonder that your focus (in the external world) will be one that focuses on things that tend to make you feel unhappy. You are seeing what you are concentrating your mind on seeing. Change your focus, and you will see things differently.
Your experiences give insight
At some point, you should get some guidance for future actions from your past experiences. You may have made a poor decision in the past; however, after getting through it, you should now have the experience to do things differently if the same situation presents itself again.
If you are not learning from your past mistakes, you should examine why not. There may be some reasons that need to be examined that will give you insight into your mistakes. Learning from your mistakes is a choice that will clear a path toward happiness. That choice is one that only you can make.
At any moment…
One of my favourite quotes says something like: “At any moment you can turn everything around.” I think this is a great quote because it challenges the belief that our lives are in a “predetermined continuum”. I like to believe that there is no singular future for anyone; but infinite possibilities that are constantly flowing out from what we think, say, and do. If this is true, then there are infinite future timelines where YOU are happy, and YOU made choices that took you to that outcome. Equally, there are timelines where you are in the same place as you are now, as well as others where things have become much worse.
Either way, these ideas are not unique to me. I think that many people accept this, and those people are often living successfully happy lives.
Not choosing is also a choice
Sometimes people think that not making a decision will delay the outcome of what making a decision would bring. This is to say, that they sit on their hands and wait to see what will happen by doing nothing. Choosing nothing means that you have equally chosen to be happy, and not to be happy. These are cancelled out, and leaves you in the same spot you continue to be in.
Change your perspective
If you have no control or choice over your life decisions, you may need to look at your happiness in a gratitude centered way. Spend a day, or an entire week practicing gratitude. Use post it notes, a journal, or your cellphone to record things you are grateful for in your life. You will start seeing a difference in your happiness levels when you consciously take inventory of what you are grateful for.
Do you have more ideas for this list? Consider using a journal to reflect on topics like this from time to time, and you will notice a difference in the trajectory of the outlook of your life.