I have shared previously that my parents are going through a very long and ugly divorce. And despite our best efforts, Mr. Pony and I are pretty much in the middle of it all.
The other day, I definitely felt that we were “in the middle of it all.” My parents are trying finalize their divorce, which means they are dividing up their massive amount of stuff, which is conveniently located where we are residing. (Please note the sarcasm.)
Seeing the epicenter of divorce lately reminds me of something I believe has a huge impact on my personal happiness as well as the health of my relationships:
Happiness is more than an emotion, it is a choice.
I know that situations are often more complex and emotionally driven to boil them down to a simplistic mantra, but I truly believe that the first step to living a happy life is making the conscious choice to be happy.
Sometimes, there are not a lot of things to be happy about in life. In those times choosing to be happy seems more like a burden or a lie, but it is something I choose because its worthwhile when I see and feel the effect it has on my everyday demeanor.
Choosing to be happy not only includes being accountable for my emotions, but also freeing myself from debilitating negative thoughts. Instead, I spend more time focusing on the things in life that make me happy instead of waiting around for something to come along and make me happy.
Sometimes, choosing to be happy requires more than just making a mental commitment. Sometimes it requires taking corrective action. This doesn’t mean drastic changes (although in some cases it does), but it can mean doing little things every day to elevate your mood.
There are many little ways I choose to be happy in my life every day. I choose to take a certain route to work because there are less stupid drivers to irritate me. I choose to watch copious amounts of TV to laugh every day. I choose to rock out to songs in my car. I choose to never take myself too seriously. And I try as much as possible to not let others’ negativity affect my day.
This does not mean I live life in a happy cloud, immune from negative thoughts and unhappy days. But it does mean I try to keep them to a minimum. And it means I try to avoid those negative situations (like with the divorce) if at all possible and learn from them when I can’t avoid them completely.
With my parents, I’ve seen how choosing to be unhappy can cause relationships to deteriorate, personal progress to stop, and unhappiness to flourish. Most importantly, I see that blaming other people doesn’t make problems disappear and is unlikely to lead to any sort of true happiness in life.
By making these choices and keeping these things in mind, I hope to become a happier, healthier person in life and a pleasant, supportive partner to Mr. Pony.
So, what are your thoughts? Do you think happiness is a choice? Or do you think I am just talking crap? What little things do you do to be happy every day?