|Happiness is a choice
||[Sep. 28th, 2009|08:10 am]
This morning reading an article about poverty in other countries made me wonder why when so many are unable to even feed their families in the world there is so much misery combined with so much comparative wealth here.
I suppose at the moment I'm feeling patient about this topic because I'm doing all I can to move towards it. It helps to be focused on a happy future rather than stuck in my own head about the past. Your own brain can get stuck in a cycle of being a tormentor, yet if someone were floating above you they would see no reason at all for your misery. We are not a helpless servant of the brain unable to do anything about the natural tendency it has to roam about the same paths over and over. We are able to course correct it, although it is very difficult and signals from within our body and outside events can certainly influence it. However, the main choice lies in how we respond, how quickly we recover, and how surely we get back up when knocked down.
If we are to truly move towards
happinessa more frequently optimistic attitude, there is no reason to fear external events as we can trust our ability to handle what comes and respond in as positive as possible a reaction. What can I do today to replenish the store of happiness and gratitude for small pleasures in life along the way? Because this day isn't going to come again, Monday or not.
I find your take on this really interesting. I do think it is the nature of most people to be one way or the other, and I think that can be altered, but it is difficult. I am in my mid forties now, and as giggly and given to being a Pollyanna as I was in my youth. I have been through some horrific things, and I have been incredibly sad for periods of time, but, even then, it was my nature to still find joy in many things.
I think life can break a person who is naturally given to being upbeat, and I think a person who is not given to being upbeat can learn to look at things from a different angle, but I suspect it takes an awful lot to change the basic nature of a person.
But it's interesting to think about!
There is some scientific evidence pointing to optimism being a personality trait, but I don't think that is the same as happiness. I think it is possible to be a contented pessimist especially if other people aren't required for your happiness.
Well I'm 36 now and certainly been dealt enough bad hands in life to be pessimistic or bitter but I just flat out refuse to be. I am not always "happy" but I am always driven to make the most out of any situation, even the bad ones. I wake up some mornings and feel like I stumbled into the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and sometimes I have to take the garden hose and make my own rainbow. My boots get a little muddy but I always was a puddle stomper anyway. "You cannot leave everything to Fate, boy. She's got a lot to do. Sometimes you must give her a hand " to quote Da Vinci in Ever After. I think this includes your own sense of joy or happiness. Sure, sh*t happens but it's really mostly about attitude. Do you allow random acts of kindness and cruelty to decide your life for you or do you decide how those acts will impact you and to what degree? Is there a lesson to learn or a lesson to give? Is there a purpose for your misery. If not let go of it and focus on healthier and more productive pursuits... and by gosh do it with a smile and some flair! :)
Edited at 2009-09-28 05:41 pm (UTC)
Ditto what Bel said! That's my take on happiness as well.
Try giving the last paragraph a read again. I also don't think happiness is a destination, but it seems like the Eeyore thoughts from the media and the "Oh ain't that terrible" part of our culture has a negative thought magnet being pulled through our culture to where it seems overwhelming. I think gratitude and small pleasures "along the way" are a big help to keeping the chin up and not getting lost in suffering.
I actually tend to see the ridiculousness of a lot of rudeness or even of things intended to be cruel, and end up laughing at them. Heh... maybe I should wear a warning label... be mean to me and you'll probably end up as a funny story in my repertoire. :o)
I see magic all around me. When the plants come out of the ground, when I see a beautiful bird or animal, when I hear children laughing, smell a delicious smell... all of that lifts me up and carries me along no matter what else is going on.
The truth about me, and I know that Lanette knows this, is that while I am not suicidal at all, I would peacefully accept death at any time. But that doesn't stop me from being the silly, giggly, happy girl that I have pretty much always been. The sadness that I carry is part of me, just not the dominant part.
Your quote reminds me of that story; I'm sure you've heard it. Most people tell it in the context of Katrina now, but it's a very old story. A man is stranded on a roof top after Katrina, and a rescue boat comes by. The man waves it off, saying God will save him. Another boat comes a couple of days later, and he waves it off... God will save him! Finally a helicopter comes, and he refuses a ride on it, as well. God will save him. Finally he drowns, and when he reaches the pearly gates he's quite upset with God for not saving him. God says, "I sent two boats and a helicopter! What were you waiting for?"
I do believe life is what one makes of it. I love to hear that people find happiness in everything they can. I truly try to do that, but I'm not sure how to inspire others to do the same.