Can You Choose To Be Happy?

Nov 19, 2013, Life

Are you chasing hard after something, like success, love, fame, fun, or adventure, in hopes that you’ll be happy if you just reach whatever it is you’re going after? Do you believe happiness is a by-product of positive life events? …Or, is it possible that all great blessings flow to us when we first choose to be happy? That’s the thought I’ll dig into today.

This morning I sat out on the screened porch for my daily meditation time. The air was chilly enough that I was bundled up in my hoodie and sweatpants. While looking out at the lake, and taking in all of the surrounding landscape, I noticed that the trees had, seemingly, lost all of their practically overnight…It felt like just yesterday (although it was a few weeks ago) the hills around the lake were painted with the most beautiful yellows, reds, purples, and oranges.

Yet, here today, I sat in amazement as the thought hit me: oh, how quickly life changes.

Seriously, am I the only one? Life sure changes fast, doesn’t it?

It also brought to mind a story my good friend Gary Taylor told on his blog recently. A good friend of Gary’s is a salesman who is on the road a lot, and has a 3-year old daughter. After returning home one night, exhausted both mentally and physically from a long, demanding road trip, his daughter recognized the weight of life on her dad’s face.

She crawled up into his lap, reached up and put both hands on his face, turning it toward hers. Those innocent eyes of a young child, knowing no such thing as mortgages, taxes, or stress, peered into her father’s eyes, as she said:

Choose To Be Happy

Daddy, you can be happy, if you want to…

That simple, innocent statement hit him to the core, nearly knocking the breath out of his lungs…It was HIS CHOICE whether or not he was happy!

Such a profound thought from his little girl. Interesting, isn’t it, how children understand some things far better than we do as adults? …things we once knew but forgot along the way as life beat us into submission.

Happiness Begins With A Choice

So there I was, out on the porch, seeing how everything was changing before my very eyes, and thinking back to Gary’s story of the young girl telling her father he could choose to be happy, if he wanted to…and I think it was no coincidence that the topic of the chapter in my morning reading was on none other than Happiness!

God works in crazy, mysterious ways, does he not?! …even in the little things like that.

I’m currently reading through a little book called “The Traveler’s Gift“, by Andy Andrews – perhaps one of the most profound books I’ve ever read for its size. In today’s chapter, amid his travels through time, the main character of the book, David Ponder, was interacting with Anne Frank while she and her family were hiding in their warehouse in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II.

In the book, David has something new to learn about the virtues of a life well lived with each historic person he encounters. And each of them knew ahead of time from a dream that David would be showing up, so each of them wrote out instructions for him on the piece of advice they could give him.

“If I ever find myself in a bad mood, I immediately make a choice to be happy. In fact, it’s the first choice I make everyday. I say out loud to my mirror, ‘Today I will choose to be happy’. I smile into the mirror and laugh, even if I am sad. And soon, I am happy, exactly as I have chosen to be.”

She went on to say, “My life, my personality, my habits, even my speech, are a combination of the books I choose to read, the people I choose to listen to, and the thoughts I choose to tolerate in my mind.”

Anne had so much she could be unhappy about, things to complain about…she was living with 12 others in a small dark hideaway inside a warehouse, so they could avoid Nazi soldiers who wanted to send them off to be slaughtered in concentration camps.

…But she realized how everything is relative. She was happy to still be with family and friends, to still be alive (they knew people other Jews were being killed in the camps, even though they were being told that wasn’t the case). She could find discouragement in a particular situation, until comparing it to the condition of the life of others less fortunate.

This young girl had the courage and wisdom of a person who had already lived a lifetime.

She profoundly quoted her father as saying, “Fear is a poor chisel with which to carve out tomorrow.” She knew she could shape her tomorrow with happiness and hope, instead of the fear and past failures our minds tend to hang onto.

The chapter ended with Anne telling David “We must remember that life itself is a privilege, but to live life to its fullest…well, that is a choice!”

Today I Will Choose To Be Happy

Andrews, the author, penned a piece of advice from Anne Frank to David Ponder, at the end of the chapter – one of the key decisions for David to make to live a better more fulfilling life. Part of it, relevant to what I’m describing in this post today, read like this:

“Beginning this very moment, I am a happy person. For now, I truly understand the concept of happiness. Few others before me have been able to grasp the truth of the physical law that enables one to live happily everyday. I know now that happiness is not an emotional phantom floating in and out of my life. Happiness is a choice. Happiness is the end result of certain thoughts and activities which actually bring about a chemical reaction in my body. This reaction results in a euphoria, that while elusive to some, is totally under my control.”

“Today I will choose to be happy. I will greet each day with laughter. Within moments of awakening I will laugh for seven seconds. Even after a small period of time, excitement has begun to flow through my bloodstream. I feel different. I am different. I am enthusiastic about the day. I am alert to its possibilities. I am happy…”

be happy

So…Be Happy!

I’ll end my message with this, simply reminding you that you too can be happy, if you want to.

You can choose to be happy today.

You can let past failures and fear of the unknown weigh you down, or you can move forward in confidence, hope, faith, and happiness.

You can choose to choose to count your blessings…and I might add, if you’re even at a computer reading this, you have MUCH to be happy for.

You can choose to always see the good in everything around you.

You can choose to look for opportunities.

You can choose to appreciate the qualities in people instead of judging their actions you disagree with.

You can simply BE HAPPY!

Whatta ya say we join together in making a difference in our world. Let’s be the driving force of a positive, happy, change in humanity.

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