I decided to go with a prompt from the DailyPost today. The prompt:
“And they lived happily ever after.” Think about this line for a few minutes. Are you living happily ever after? If not, what will it take for you to get there?
Something my mom always used to say to me that annoyed me to no end as a teenager was that happiness was a choice. My teenager self couldn’t believe that despite all the craziness going on in my life that somehow I could still choose to be happy. Didn’t she know what I was going through? What so-and-so said? What so-and-so did? That I wasn’t this, or I wasn’t that? And so on, and so on.
I think I interpreted happiness as meaning “never feel sadness.” Or “bad things won’t happen to me.” It took me a long time to understand what she actually meant, and even longer to agree with it.
Something that helped open my eyes was perspective. That is what makes choosing to be happy, despite our circumstances, possible. Sometimes I wish I could give my teenage self the perspective of where I was at that point. That high school ends. That there were so many awesome adventures ahead. That I’m strong enough to overcome any challenge. That’s why they say hindsight is 20/20.
One thing that helps me keep things in perspective is my belief in God. I realize there may be some of you out there who don’t believe in God, and that’s all right. I’m very a much a live-and-let-live person. But my belief helps me and gives me the perspective that hurts are temporary and shows me how to choose happiness rather than let life’s difficulties drag me down to misery.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Try the words of Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
I can’t imagine being locked in a concentration camp, wondering when it might be my turn for extermination. Yet Viktor still had this perspective. Can one really choose happiness in such terrible circumstances?