I believe that being happy is better than not being happy.
Two years ago, I sat huddled on the bathroom floor, debating the best way to go: the kitchen knife or the bottle of expired painkillers. I was fed up with life; I wanted out. But in the process of composing my umpteenth dramatic suicide note, my mind wandered to music. I liked music. I would miss music — but that was it. That was the one thing I liked.
And then I thought of something else — the wind. The way a cool breeze feels as it plays across my skin on a warm spring day. I liked that, too. I liked the wind — and I liked trees. I liked the sound of rain and good stories; long baths, late nights, and the way it feels to love. I kept thinking, and the list kept growing.
And as I sat and thought about the simple things I liked, the clouds of depression began to dissipate, and I started feeling… happy.And then I realized that I liked being happy — much more than I did the grim satisfaction I got from torturing myself.
I thought, Angst is not fun. I want to be happy.
So I decided to be happy. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, it is — but that one little change of outlook has turned my life upside down. Since then, I’ve met wonderful people, tried new things, and had an incredible amount of fun. There was a time when reading aloud in class could drive me to tears. Now, I can perform onstage for a full house. Faces in a crowd have gone from potential threats to friends I haven’t met yet. I look for good in every person, and an upside to every situation — and I seldom fail to find them. I’ve set aside fears and inhibitions that held me back. I smile, and I laugh, and I love life. Why?
Because I believe that being happy is better than not being happy.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.