“Happiness is a choice” has forever rubbed me the wrong way and I finally figured out why: most folks who say that phrase stop there.
They don’t continue the thought and acknowledge that we are all born into different foundations from which to make choices.
They forget to mention that we don’t all have the same level of access to resources that help us make these choices.
It gets cut from the speaking points that we don’t all have loving nurturing environments that teach us that we a) have a choice and b) are responsible for the power of that choice, good or bad.
And Goddess forbid we admit that we don’t all have access to educations that empower us to think critically about our choices.
That’s bad for the image of happiness. It needs to be light, airy and appropriated to be happiness.
Once we’ve acknowledged the privilege in the statement, we have to face the other part of this: to acknowledge that happiness is a choice indicates that I had a choice to begin with. I fancy myself someone who is self-aware, smart, and wired for happiness, so does that mean I chose not to be happy?
Yes, in a way. Because for a long time, I didn’t realize that most of what was in front of me was exactly what I asked for, good or bad. Once I saw that, I couldn’t unsee it. As I started to reframe my negative self-talk, it was easier to love myself. Once I was able to love myself and see my greatness, it was easier to see that in others. Once I saw the greatness as a default, rather that immediately criticizing, my world started shifting to be more positive and aligned with what I actually want, not what other people want me to want, or what I THINK they want me to want.
Now, I know that happiness is a choice. And it’s a hard choice. It’s a conscious choice. In this society, it feels like a selfish choice. But I truly believe if we can stop judging ourselves, we will stop judging others, and then it will be so EASY to choose to pursue happiness.
We just gotta get out of our own way, admit that some of the things we grew up believing are worth investigating, and be gentle as we give ourselves permission to recreate ourselves.