Happiness is a choice: Learn how to choose your own happiness

Let me begin by asking you a question: What makes you happy? Think long and hard about it. The truth is there has never been a solid answer to this question. If we were to take a survey and ask a group of people what they would like to do in order to be happy, then most of them would take out a long list and mention every single thing that they desire in their life that would make them happy. For instance: having affluent wealth, being famous, having a healthy life, travelling the world, the list goes on and on. Achieving our desires is how we generally define ‘being happy’. So, this brings us to a debatable conclusion that fulfilling our desires ultimately makes us happy. But how long does that last? Don’t we automatically add up new desires to our list as we fulfill old ones? And does everyone get whatever it is that they want in life? Even if they do, is everyone happy with what they have? Because if they’re not, what’s the point?

As long as we depend on external sources for happiness, we are also constantly exposing ourselves to unhappiness. Think of this as a 50-50 situation. Either you get what you want or you don’t. Either you’re happy or you’re not. Moreover, you may have noticed that every joyous moment is short-lived and once it’s gone, you’re back to your old self and in search of happiness in forms of wishes and desires once more. So, the question now is: How can we be happy all the time? The answer is simple. “Happiness comes from within.” How many times have you heard of this statement? A couple of times for sure. But often we fail to take this terse statement into a serious consideration. We humans have the ability to control our own minds. But in reality, it’s seems like the opposite.

We allow our minds to control us and not the other way round. Whenever we fail to achieve something in life that we really really wanted or whenever we are going through a tough time, our mind thinks that we are bound to be automatically unhappy and therefore, we become. Ultimately, this state of unhappiness leads to us outsourcing our inner tension to our surroundings.

On the contrary, if we are to practice on having a peaceful state of mind, we will learn how to be happy regardless of our circumstances; especially those circumstances that we do not have any control over. In other words, it’s not what is happening outside that is affecting our happiness. Rather, it’s how we are responding to our problems that determine whether we are happy or not. Let me elaborate with an example. If someone criticized you, try not to ruminate on it for hours. Instead, divert your mind to something else that you like to do; that would make you feel better about yourself. Maybe drawing, reading or even sleeping. By doing so, no matter how negative your surrounding is, you will have the power of not letting the negativity of the surrounding affect you right in your hands. And this is key to being truly happy.

Train your mind to take information from your surrounding, process that information, filter out the portions that you do not want to define your mental state, accept only what serves you the best and keep repeating this until it becomes your habit. Learn to do this in moderation; learn to distinguish constructive criticism from destructive criticism. This is crucial to maintain a positive attitude towards life, learn from your mistakes and keep your morals high. Let me ask you another question. If you had a rough day today, would you also like to have another bad day tomorrow? Would you want to be defined by your worst situations in life? Would you like to feel like you can never be happy in life? The answer is definitely a big NO! Tell the same to your mind.

Remember, happiness is a choice and you can always motivate yourself to make better choices in life. So, stay calm, stay positive, trust yourself and be happy.

Sahil Shakya