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  • Barbara Emrys

Happy or Stupid

Happiness can’t possibly be a choice, can it? We’re somehow happy or unhappy, depending on the situation. A good mood is elusive. Happiness comes and goes without warning. And, come on…no one can feel happy all the time, right?

According to most of us, we’re victims of circumstance. We think unhappiness descends like bad weather, and that our feelings are ruled by the stars. We can’t control a bad mood any more than we can control a flash flood on the other side of the world, right?

Not really. Happiness is a natural result of your mind being in harmony with your body. Mind and body…in harmony. That’s a condition you can manage, whatever the weather, whatever the circumstance. In sickness or in health, you can be happy. You can choose to be in conspiracy with life, whatever’s going on around you.

You’re responsible for your emotional balance. If you choose to be happy, no matter the circumstances, your world is in balance. You don’t automatically blame other people for your misery. You don’t blame yourself, over and over, for past mistakes. You inspire balance in others. You grow up a little.

Knowing happiness is a choice, you’d choose to be happy, no matter what, right? To choose anything else would be weird. In fact, choosing to be unhappy sounds stupid. “But, what if I’m sick?” you might be asking. “What if I’ve been traumatized? What if I had a terrible childhood?”

We’ve all faced tough challenges. No one is free from painful memories. Many of us carry scars from old wounds, but there’s a difference between a challenge– any challenge– and our emotional response to that challenge. In any situation, we can choose how to react.

The decision to be happy is simple, logical– except we don’t really believe it’s a choice. In fact, we’d rather not have the power to choose because, in most cases, we’d choose unwisely. We’d choose to be defensive or to nurture a grudge. So we put random events and people in charge of our happiness.

Maybe being cranky is a learned reflex for you, a habit. You’ve probably made all kinds of excuses for not being happy. Then again, you may actually think unhappiness is expected of you. It might be a condition you identify with.

“I’m not the cheerful type,” you may say. “Melancholy runs in the family,” or, “I’m just naturally grumpy,” you could claim. Maybe you really like the attention that grumpiness brings. Misery loves company, after all, so take a close look at your relationships. What feeds them? What do you think you need from them?

We can all choose to be happy, no matter the circumstances. And yet, so often we say “Thanks, but no thanks.” Our actions tell people, “I’d rather suffer. I’d rather be pitied.” We ignore the pleasures in life and focus on the pain. In other words, we make the stupid choice.

What do you still believe that makes unhappiness seem like a smart choice? It’s hard to achieve what you believe doesn’t exist. It’s hard to enjoy what you believe you don’t deserve. How can you be open to joy, when you’re busy planting seeds of discontent?

Today, you can plant different kinds of seeds. Today, your thoughts can reflect the love you feel for yourself. Today, you can be sensible…it’s sensible to trust life completely. Today, you can be wise…it’s wise to create a healthy relationship between your mind and your physical body.

Go on, then. Plant seeds of harmony between the storyteller and the human being. Let those seeds grow and then watch them flower. You’re creating your own garden of delights, so choose wisely. Choose to be happy, always, no matter what.


💛 B.E.

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