I got a bit of disappointing news today.
On the one hand, it’s really not a big deal. Scratch that. It is a big deal. It’s not just not unexpected. I won’t go into details here. It’s a personal matter best left personal. However, in the most general terms, someone (or, this case, someones) made a decision that left me feeling crudy.
The thing is, I know these someones. The thing that happened today doesn’t surprise me in the least. Still, it hurts.
Earlier this week, one of my Facebook friends ask if anyone had suggestions for a word that means happiness in the sense of something more than fleeting joy. Something permanent and deep, something resilient and chosen. I gave a few suggestions, as did several others, but I’m not sure any of us nailed it. I don’t know what the right word for that is, but I know I’m choosing it.
There are all kinds of things that impact our joy in life. Mostly, we point to things outside ourselves, crediting them with our good times and blaming them for our bad. It’s the job we have, the relationship that eludes us, a surplus of unexpected funds, or unfair treatment at the hands of someone else. Ultimately, however, all those outside forces are little things compared to the internal choice we make to either embrace light or embrace darkness.
I know. It sounds all new-agey, but I’m completely serious. The decisions you make are what determine your joy in life. Not your job, your bank account statement, your marital status, your circle of friends, your level of success or your health.
Do those things matter? Of course they do! It’s harder, so much harder, to choose joy in the face of a series of unfortunate circumstances. But…take a deep breath…happiness is still a choice, no matter what’s going on around you.
Anne Frank said, “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” Anne Frank. If someone living through hell can make such a declaration, just what do we think constitutes a valid excuse for moping around, whining about all the reasons we can’t be happy?
Stop it. Stop it right now.
If you want to be happy, stop focusing on all the reasons you aren’t and focus on all the things you have to celebrate. Make a choice. Don’t be a victim of circumstance. Instead, be the master of your own mood.