Happiness

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Saturday, December 28, 2013


HAPPINESS is a gift but it’s also a choice. One of the most common misconceptions I’ve heard is that you cannot choose to be happy.

It almost beats “you cannot choose who to love.”

Most unhappy people are too busy justifying their state of unhappiness that they completely lose perspective of everything else in life including the possibility of being happy. And the more you tell them that happiness is a choice, the more they get defensive about their all-important choice in life—the choice to be unhappy.

It would seem that the best thing to do would be to simply leave these people to their miseries. Unfortunately, the gloom of unhappy people can poison the well so that those in the happy place are compelled to take steps to halt the gloom from spreading.

I speak here not of depression because depression, clinical or psychological, is not to be toyed with. I refer here to plain, old unhappiness or what I would call a general dissatisfaction of life.

For instance, the dateless, childless or credit card-less state can often cause many people a lot of misery. Frankly, I think it’s a matter of perspective. I tend to see the blessing in everything. Being the poorest among my friends, I feel lucky not to have to worry about any of them attempting to borrow money from me.  

There are people who say they hate their jobs but they don’t do anything about it. There are people who whine about the status quo but refuse to make any changes in their lives. The status quo is not about to miraculously change if you don’t attempt to do anything differently in your life.

Do what you want. But if that doesn’t work, try something different. Open your mind. It is precisely your closed mind that is the root of your unhappiness. Your mind is so closed, you won’t even give happiness a chance. You are quick to mock because deep down, you are scared to death of being proven wrong. In fact, sometimes, I feel like you’re more concerned about being right than about being happy.

As a teacher, this is my constant refrain: This is my way. It doesn’t mean that it is the only way. But if your way doesn’t work, try mine. What have you got to lose if you’ve been doing it “your way” and that hasn’t worked? You have nothing to lose if you keep an open mind.  

It won’t be easy to try something else. We are all creatures of habit. For instance, if you wonder why you keep falling for the wrong men, you’ll realize it’s because you keep gravitating towards the same kind of men—the wrong kind. You can choose who to love.

Most unhappy people are so consumed by the circumstance of their lives that they miss the chance to be happy. Often, it is not solutions they seek but excuses for the status quo. But if for one moment, they would take some responsibility for their lives, they would realize that misery is a choice.

If they would stop obsessing about themselves, they would realize that there are so many other people in worse circumstances yet these people have found the courage to make the choice to be happy.

Happiness is a choice—a courageous choice which I hope everyone will take in 2014.  

(E-mail: sunstarcebucolumnist@yahoo.com,Twitter: http://twitter.com/melanietlim)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 29, 2013.

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