Come On, Get Happy

How to not let life’s tornadoes mess with your attitude

Happiness is a choice.

Imagine being responsible for your own happiness. What a ridiculous concept! Or is it? I know what you’re thinking: “Oh Nics, you need to roll off your yoga mat and start

smelling the locally roasted organic coffee that you love so much – adulthood isn’t a choice and as an adult there are a number of things you have to deal with that don’t necessarily make you happy. Therefore, your happiness isn’t always your choice.”

Some of you may have already started making a mental list of the things that could happen in our daily lives that are out of our control and definitely do not contribute to our happiness. You’re compiling evidence to slap on the table and say, “Bam! Read it and weep, Nics. Take a look at this list and then tell me if you still think that happiness is always a choice!” (Am I right? Thought so.) Alright, I’ll indulge you …

Your coworkers drive you crazy. A family member is suddenly diagnosed with a terminal illness. Someone aggressively cuts you off on the road. You hate your job, but you need to pay the bills. You’re broke. There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. Someone aggressively cuts you off on the road (again), causing you to scream impressive obscenities at them while also throwing in a few worked-up hand gestures. You just can’t seem to lose that last five pounds. You haven’t been able to travel as often as you’d like because you’re broke and the job that you hate doesn’t give you enough vacation time. It feels as though people are constantly criticizing and judging you. Someone aggressively cuts you off on the road (yet again), causing you to scream more obscenities and invent a new hand gesture that implies you would like them to immediately proceed to where the sun doesn’t shine. Then you’re left in such a rage that your mood is effectively ruined for the rest of the day (someone really needs to catch this idiot).

Damn. Hand me a jug of red wine, fifty bags of chips, and your Netflix password – I’ll see you once conditions have improved.

While some of you sit there with a look of “I told you so” on your faces, you should know that I’m not done yet. When I said that happiness is a choice, it wasn’t a question to be debated, it was a statement. It was a bold-faced, repeat-it-while-sitting-on-my-yoga- mat, scream-it-from-my-rooftop-after-drinking-that-cup-of-organic-coffee statement. I believe that happiness is a choice.

Yes, I’ve clearly demonstrated that in life, there exist unpredictable tornadoes of shit that have the potential to whirl themselves toward us and tear off the roofs on our well-constructed lives. Yet I can’t help but notice the mass amounts of time and energy that we spend trying to predict the unpredictable and control the uncontrollable. So when things don’t turn out in our favour we’re left feeling angry, frustrated, and – here’s a shocker – unhappy. Newsflash: It’s impossible to control everything that happens in the world around us.

In the midst of all the energy spent trying to control the world, we lose sight of the one thing that we can control with absolute certainty … ourselves. We can’t always choose the path that we find ourselves on, but we can choose our reaction to it. The choice is always ours, and yet oftentimes we’re more comfortable blaming our current life circumstances on anything (literally anything) other than ourselves. We can choose to gripe and complain and feel negatively about certain aspects of our lives, or we can choose to change something.

If you hate your job, you can quit. If there are people in your life who seem to continuously cause you pain, maybe instead of complaining about why they never change, it’s time to make the choice to move on without them. If there is something that feels like your true calling in life, you need to push past your comfort zone, politely tell the fear inside of you to suck it, and decide to take the first step in making that dream a reality. Once you realize that what you can control (your reaction to life’s unfolding moments) has the power to change your life, the crazy driver aggressively cutting off everyone in the local Hamilton area will simply become a blip on your radar and not the sole cause of your unhappiness that day. There is always a choice. It’s whether or not you’re willing to see the forest for the trees.

Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No one will make you happy until you’re happy with yourself. Happiness is not something that will come to you; it’s something that comes from within you.

Happiness is a choice, you just need to be brave enough to believe it.

According to Nics…

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