Why Bother Choosing Happiness?

Why Bother Choosing Happiness?

Not long ago, a friend of mine said, “I am feeling happy and it takes a little getting used to.” We had a good laugh at her statement. But for some, like my friend, the Eeyore syndrome is the norm for and when they discover happiness, it takes some getting used to. 

Personality or Choice

The character, Eeyore, is from the children’s story, Winnie the Pooh. Eeyore’s voice is monotone, and no matter if it is a party or a rainy day in the forest, Eeyore always feels the same way, melancholy, pensive, dejected and gloomy.  Thus a condition named after this character.

Be that as it may, I’m a big fan of the power we have as human beings to make personal choices. I’m also a firm believer that we don’t have to be an Eeyore. Yes, we all have our tendencies, habits and preferences, but we are not victims. No one holds us hostage to think and act in certain ways. Instead, by our own volition, we can choose happiness over gloominess, contentment over discontentment, gratitude over entitlement. 

Happiness is not a one time choice. Rather, it is a day in and day out commitment to make decisions which reflect our respect for ourselves, and one another as well as living in alignment with our values. Selecting to be happy does not mean we deny the hardships in our lives. It only means that we believe we have what it takes to live above our circumstances instead of under them.

Finding what makes us happy is not a selfish endeavor. It is, however, about paying attention to our mental and physical health. Taking a 5:00 a.m. run on a warm spring morning brings joy to my heart, mind, body and soul. But not so for my husband. His heart feels happy on a Friday afternoon when he can golf with a few good friends. We each find our respectful happiness and refrain from holding any grudges about our differences. 

Choosing happiness over doom and gloom means abstaining from worrying ahead. I do not know what the future holds, nor can I imagine what it will really be like. I can only attend to the present moment since that is all I have. The past is somewhere behind me and the future is somewhere up ahead. Living with contentment in the present moment dissolves any imagined worries about tomorrow.

  Happy people know how to live according to their values. They understand and stick with their standards for their lives. Though the present day culture may contradict personal virtues, happy people don’t cave in for the sake of short lived popularity. 

Though we all deteriorate as we age, our ability to be happy does not have to follow suit. We can be lighthearted and content at any age. The choice is ours. 

Why bother choosing happiness? Though it might take some time getting used to, happiness is worth getting used to. 

Why Bother With Contentment?

Why Bother With Contentment?

Way back in 1965, the Rolling Stones composed a song called, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” I didn’t pay much attention to this band or their music until the 1970s when I was in high school. By then I could drive my mom’s Super Beetle. She would hand me the keys, the grocery list and a blank check and send me off to do the grocery shopping. 

Driving while blasting music on the radio felt like my great escape from the discomforts brought on by adolescence. Though the song had more lyrics than I could understand, “I can’t get no satisfaction,” were the only words comprehensible to my ears. But they were all I needed at the time. Mick Jagger made millions of dollars singing that song, while I, on the other hand, did not. But this little scenario proves an important point.  Those in the marketplace know how to make millions from those of us who can’t seem to get any satisfaction. 

What Can We Gain From Contentment?

Being a teen, was by far, a most dissatisfying season of my life. I was restless to be somewhere other than I was, and blamed everyone else for my discomfort. Anger accompanied my feelings of powerlessness and lack of confidence. But I wasn’t a clueless teenager. I did take note of others who showed a peace of mind, confidence and a sense of humor. I wondered about their happiness and felt a tinge of envy. 

 Somewhere toward the end of adolescence and on the cusp of turning into an adult, I began aiming my thoughts toward getting some satisfaction. I steered my thinking away from the unrealistic ideas of becoming a cute and thin model like Twiggy, or a groovy, organic and earthy woman like one of my sisters. Instead I began making realistic choices to pull me up and out of the ruts I’d created with such unrealistic thoughts.  

Nothing changed instantly or overnight, but as I directed my thinking toward being content with who I was, and noted my unique talents and abilities, discontentment became something in my rearview mirror. I began taking on a different shape, more like one of those people I’d once envied. 

Contentment is an attitude that starts out small, but like any other thought, when it is nurtured, it grows. As we consider the idea of being content, we also experience how it can make us feel—good. With some practice, it can become a regular habit. 

Why bother with contentment? Though we may think we can’t get no satisfaction, though we may try and try, maybe if we tune into a different channel and sing a different tune, we just might find we have what we need.