“You can be happy every day. There is no secret formula. You simple have to do this one very simple and very difficult thing: choose.”
I love being around happy, positive people. I think most of us do.
Happy people have an aura about them that radiates even from a distance. You see it in their smiles or the way they walk. You hear it in their laughs. It’s the way their eyes are lit from within and the ways in which they always find the bright side to any given situation.
There is something about their energy that feels contagious. And it’s true. When we are around these happy people, and we are open to it, we often leave their presence feeling lighter and more optimistic about life.
Sometimes though, there are times when we just can’t bear the idea of being around happy people. We question what they are so happy about anyway and can’t seem to stomach too much positivity all at once.
I understand this as I have been both—the happy, positive person and the one who needs space to sulk and mope in a bubble of pessimism.
Being on both ends of the spectrum, I have realized something life altering.
We get to choose how we feel.
Happy, sad, grateful, angry… we choose.
I know that seems to be over simplified, but the thing is: it is that simple.
No matter what is occurring in our lives, what misfortunes, troubles, storms, and general maladies are presented to us, we always, always have a choice.
Now maybe we can’t go from helpless to grateful in sixty seconds or less. That can be a far leap when we are wallowing in the depths of despair.
But what we can do is keep choosing a slightly better frequency to be on. So maybe we go from helpless to hopeful. Then from hopeful we try determined. Determined turns into excited. Excited becomes motivated. Motivated turns into action which can eventually yield results that make us feel grateful.
We choose the story we repeat. We choose what to hold onto and what to let go of. We choose the energy we will carry. We choose what to do next, and how to react.
But so often we think certain people are just blessed with a happiness gene and that somehow we missed it and got the miserable-nothing-ever-goes-right-gene instead.
So we stay where we are.
After all, this must be our destiny. And those happy people? Well, we assume that nothing bad has ever happened to them or that their positivity is really just ignorance or naivety.
I know because I have seen students, acquaintances and colleagues time and again label me as this happy, upbeat, positive person who has never had a stress in her life.
Now of course that’s not true. I have endured tragedies, traumas and heartaches that people may not ever imagine. But it’s okay. I don’t mind being seen as this happy go lucky person. Because to me, it’s the ultimate form of personal success and growth to have people think that.
It means I am doing the work of constantly choosing to be at a higher frequency, rather than staying in a place that doesn’t serve me (or anyone else around me, for that matter).
Because it is work. Being positive or choosing a different energy, a different thought, a different action isn’t always easy. It can be a struggle at times. There are days when it feels impossible to shake off what’s bothering me.
Maybe I mediate or write or talk it out with a loved one. Maybe I have a good cry, pray, work out or read. Maybe I do all those things until something, finally helps shift and shake me out of my funk. Because the alternative?
The alternative quickly turns into a downward spiral of negativity, frustration and anger. I’ve been there and it’s not pretty.
I don’t think any of us want to be unhappy.
I think sometimes we just have been stuck in a negative path or a negative pattern for so long, it becomes the norm and we can’t see a way out of it. It’s okay. You don’t have to see your way out or know what the future holds.
You just have to choose something that feels a little more positive—and keep choosing something that feels better than the last emotion—and trust you are making that climb out of the dark valley and into brighter paths.
We get to choose.
And that is something no one else can prevent us from doing or take away from us.
The choice to better our thoughts is always ours and ours alone. (Tweet that!)