Happiness is not a choice.


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Seen in a meme:

“Happiness is a choice.”

No. Happiness is not a choice. Attitude is a choice.

Happiness is not just putting on a fake smile, acting cheerful, and pretending everything is OK.

Sometimes things are not OK. And that’s OK.

That’s life.

Stop for a moment and imagine you’re grieving over having just lost a loved one.

Now imagine someone comes up to you and says, “Happiness is a choice.”

Would you believe it? Would you be able to let go of your grief, shrug your shoulders and say, “Ok, I’ll be happy now” and actually be happy?

Unlikely.

What about depressed people or people who have suffered psychological trauma?

Would you tell a suicidal person that “happiness is a choice” and expect this superficial catchy catchphrase to solve the problem?

Of course not.

Even if attaining a state of happiness was as simple as making a choice, telling someone who isn’t happy that “happiness is a choice” is as about as helpful as teaching someone how to fish by telling them that “there are fish in the sea”.

It isn’t helpful.

Happiness is a byproduct of enjoying the journey of life.

You teach people to achieve happiness by providing them with the tools necessary to deal with life’s challenges in a positive and productive way.

You teach people to achieve happiness by showing them ways to navigate their mental & physical world in such a way that they can enjoy their journey.

And one of the most effective ways to enjoy one’s journey is to adopt a healthy attitude that allows one to appreciate life experiences regardless of one’s circumstances.

Suggesting that being anything but happy all the time isn’t a healthy way to view life.

Making people feel bad about feeling bad isn’t terribly effective at making people happy either.

The fact is, there is nothing inherently wrong with being unhappy.

“The ability to feel a full range of emotions and different states of being is an important part of the human experience.

It’s ok not to be happy. And in many cases, a large part of personal growth is dependent on recognizing when one is not happy and then actively working through it.”

Sometimes that journey will be difficult and life won’t be fair.

Again, that’s life.

It’s ok to have negative emotions. It’s ok to make mistakes. These are an essential part of life and how we learn. But it’s important to not let these things hold us back or lock us into a cycle of self-pity.

Instead, we can use negative emotions and feelings of discontent as the motivation to initiate positive changes in our lives.”

We may not like everything that happens to us in life and we may not always be happy as a result of what happens, but we can always choose our attitude when dealing with it.

A bad attitude inhibits happiness. And when we are happy, a positive attitude accentuates it.

It’s not happiness that’s a choice, it’s attitude.

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“We actually have as little choice about wanting to become happy as the heart does about pumping blood. We’re incapable of wanting not to become happy. The pursuit of happiness isn’t merely an inalienable right with which we’re endowed or an activity we’re capable of choosing; it’s psychological law we must obey. Even people who appear to want nothing to do with happiness, like those so immersed in self-hatred that their principle aim becomes self-sabotage, will say they haven’t lost their desire for happiness so much as ceased to believe they deserve it” — Alex Lickerman, MD (From: The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self)

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