I am constantly amazed at the number of people that choose to be unhappy.
And I use the word “choose” deliberately.
It’s not that bad things don’t happen, and it’s not that we’re not justified in feeling bad about them.
It’s the rest of the time, which for most people is most of the time. Bad things aren’t happening constantly, and yet they choose to remain constantly unhappy.
They’ll seek out something to complain about, or feel miserable about, or find something negative to fixate all their attention on. Generally it’s something that’s completely out of their control, so they can side-step having to take any responsibility for its condition, other than to feel badly about it.
Even when it is in their control they often choose to leave it as-is so they can remain in what to them is a more comfortable, more familiar state of mind: negativity and unhappiness.
We are as happy as we choose to be, even in response to life’s tragedies. Again, while I understand being unhappy for some time after one of those tragedies, I remain surprised at how often people choose unhappiness as their default almost all the time.
They’re seemingly never happy. They lead what can only be termed miserable, unhappy lives.
This makes me sad. Unhappy even. I want more for them. I want more for everyone.
Yet it’s not in my power to make anyone happy. What they don’t realize, though, is that it’s totally within their own grasp.
We’ve all met that person who, to all outward appearances has nothing going for them. Perhaps someone who’s down on their luck and homeless. The stage four cancer patient. The oppressed. And yet in the face of whatever it is they’re experiencing, they’re unabashedly happy.
They made a choice to be happy.
They made a choice to not constantly complain about things out of their control.
They made a choice to make the best of whatever life throws at them.
We can all learn from them. We can all do a better job of being grateful for what we have, and truly appreciating this short time we’ll be here.
I know I can.
“The rational soul is stronger than any kind of fortune— from its own share it guides its affairs here or there, and is itself the cause of a happy or miserable life.” —SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 98.2b