Sometimes people seem to be happy, but are really just covering up what is inside.
I was quite disturbed one day to see how depressed a friend of mine was. He always seemed so happy and in control of his emotions. However, one day he confessed to me how he was really feeling. I was quite concerned. So I talked with him for some time. We talked about times in our lives that were tough, times that neither of us really wanted to remember, much less discuss, but somehow it helped by getting in touch with those deep, dark feelings. He told me how he had quit his job, travelled half way around the world, looking for happiness. He found he was just as miserable, and came back home. Now he wanted to leave again, move somewhere else and start fresh, create a new life and redefine himself. I said that if he chose to do that, I would miss him. And so would his family, and I asked him why he thought that would bring him happiness, moving away from all the people in his life who loved him and cared for him?
I remember a time when I felt very lost. I had just lost my husband to cancer, had two young children at home to raise, and felt like I was just going through the motions. I became quite depressed, to the point where I had to go on medication for a time. My friends were calling me to see if I was okay, but I couldn’t even pick up the phone. And I certainly couldn’t call them back.. so time passed by, and the phone calls eventually stopped. I couldn’t do the simple things that keep your friends close to you, so eventually they left me alone. Which, of course, increased my depression.
At some point, I don’t remember when, a friend of mine told me about an interview she had listened to with Deepak Chopra, where he had said that we are all in control of our feelings. We are able to choose how we react to what others say and do. We don’t have to be subject to our first reactions. He said that if someone does something offensive to us, we can choose if we wish to be offended by that action.
I thought about that and realized – if I can choose whether or not to be offended, then I can choose whether or not to be happy in the same way. I don’t have to be a victim to whatever circumstance comes my way.
I looked at my life and discovered that even when situations are at their worst, it is still my decision on how to react. Even in the darkest moments, such as losing a loved one, you can choose not to despair. You can choose to embrace life. Pick up that phone. Talk to your friends. Realize that they just want to help.
Further, it occurred to me that there are those who can be happy even if they have lost everything — those who lost their homes in hurricanes, or other disasters — they choose to be happy that they are alive. Then there are those who are never content, even when they have everything they could hope for. They choose to see the worst in their situation, and are miserable.
You can’t spend your life searching for happiness. It is not something you can chase after. Happiness is a choice. And you have the power to choose it. Make the choice. Consciously. Choose to be happy – everyday, every hour, every minute.