When I was a child, my parents taught me a valuable lesson, and that was being happy is a choice. While I can wait for things I want to happen before I feel happy, i must accept that those things might never happen at all. If that’s the case, I’ve denied myself happiness by my own choice.
Growing up, I wanted a new bicycle. I became obsessed with the idea. I was saving my allowance money like crazy, but I felt like I would never have enough for that new bike. My mom and dad noticed me moping around and asked me what the trouble was. I told them.
I’ll never forget them laughing at me when they heard why I was upset. I wanted to be angry, but then they told me that I was in a slippery slope towards unhappiness. If I judged my life solely against what other people has, my parents told me that I should always feel as bad as I did that day.
I didn’t understand, but I listened because I actually trusted my parents. Mom and dad explained to me that constantly wanting what I didn’t have was directly opposed to being happy. I realized that they were teaching me that happiness was a choice. If I spent the time and energy being happy with what I had, I would feel a thousand times better than if I spent the same amount of time and energy wanting what I didn’t have.
Mom and dad then asked me a strange question. What would I do with my money if I didn’t get that bike? I thought about it, but I didn’t have a good answer. They told me that by obsessing over that bike, I would come to regret buying it because I had based my happiness on what I thought that bike could do for me. They told me I would be happier if I bought something else instead of the bike because the emotional cost would be lower.
As time passed, I cherished the lesson I learned. Things, either material or emotional, cannot make me happy. I need to invest my time and energy into appreciating what I have. I can choose to be happy at any point in my life if I it my life as the most important thing.
Remember that happiness is a choice.