Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times. – Aeschylus
What does that mean?
From the Father of the Greek Tragedy, this is an interesting quote. He states that happiness is a choice. I believe this to be true. Things happen which we apply labels to, depending on how the event impacts us. Sometimes we decide to be happy, other times we decide this result should leave us sad.
This is the decision we make. Will we choose to be happy for someone who got the lover we wanted? If you truly loved them, then why wouldn’t you want them to be happy, even if it is without you? If someone you care for dies, you can be sad for all the fun they will miss, or you can be happy for the fun they had.
It is still a choice, although sometimes not an easy one. The effort required to go against the flow and declare yourself happy in a situation that doesn’t normally generate a happy response can be substantial. But through repeated effort, it will become easier, and with practice, you can make happiness your default state.
Why is choosing happiness important?
I believe we have a choice every time something happens. We label everything that happens as something that is a success or a failure, something to be happy about or sad. But each event contains some elements of success and some of failure, some of happiness and some of sadness. The trick I have learned is to focus on the parts of an event that are successful, and the parts that are happy.
By choosing happiness, we can control our emotional state, and influence those around us as well. Have you ever had a friend who was always down, always focusing on the negative? When they entered a room, could you feel the chill, see the little rain cloud over their heads? Conversely, did you ever have a friend who always saw the good, the happy, or the success in every event? Which one got invited to parties and which was more fun to hang out with?
Where can I apply this in my life?
I believe this can be applied to almost everything in our lives. Any and every time something happens, we have decisions to make. The decisions we make change our attitude and our outlook on life. To me, that makes this a fundamental skill to have.
As humans, emotions run strong within us and it is then, in our most emotional moments, we often decide if we are happy or not. If we decide beforehand that we will be happy as our default state of mind, I believe it will be easier to choose happiness when the options present themselves.
I do this by deciding in advance that everything happens for a reason, even if I cannot see it. When I started deciding to be happy, I didn’t have such strong faith. Instead, I believed that no matter what happened, I could learn from the event, and somehow find a way to use the event to better my life and the lives of others.
You can use one of these, or come up with your own if you prefer. The point is to have a default position, a reason for regularly choosing one label over another. That means you have to believe it, and it has to be part of you. Take a few moments and brainstorm some ideas, write the best few down and consider them.
Which of your ideas is short & sweet? You want something that you can say to yourself without having to try to remember something lengthy or complex. You also want something that is worded to match who you are. Sometimes I use big words, because that’s where I’m at. Don’t choose something that sounds artificial, be yourself.
With your new belief on paper, let’s drill it in. Write down half a dozen instances in your life where this belief was shown to be true. You can also write down times when you should have followed this belief but didn’t, and ended up regretting your choice. Is the belief starting to feel real and feel like it’s part of you?
Next time you don’t make the traffic light in time, and have to sit and wait for it to go green again, remember your new belief. Consider the happiness that comes from a brief break from the hustle and bustle of traffic, or perhaps be happy you are near the front of the line when the green comes.
Yes, you may be in a hurry, but focusing on that will lead to what, happiness? It doesn’t work that way for me. I get frustrated, and then start doing stupid things behind the wheel. Practice your new belief frequently and with the little things.
By focusing on the little things, there are plenty of opportunities, and if you mess up, there’s another chance to do it right just moments away. As you build your mental muscles with this belief, it will start to become your default reaction. And that’s when things start getting good.
Once you have happiness as your default choice, you will start seeing happiness all around you, and you will become a happier person. That happiness will be seen by others, and it will help influence their attitude. Attitudes are contagious, so try to have one worth catching!
From: Twitter, @QuoteHouse
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/aeschylus379485.html
Photo by thomaspetermueller