Happiness is Something You Decide on Ahead of Time

Christine - Chula Vista, California
Entered on October 31, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: gratitude, hope

Happiness is Something You Decide on Ahead of Time

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed and shaved perfectly each morning by eight o’clock, with his hair fashionably coifed, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. As his nurse described his new accommodations, he smiled and said with enthusiasm, “I love it.” His nurse protested, calling attention to the fact that he had not even seen his room. The man responded, pointing out that having seen his new room has nothing to do with how much he loves it; it has to do with his attitude. This man’s approach to his particular situation can be applied to all aspects of life, exemplifying the idea that happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.

Everyday we make the choice to either approach the day with a positive, open mind, or a negative one. As the old man explains, “It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that.” We all face obstacles throughout our lives, but we are also blessed with many opportunities. The aspect we choose to focus on determines the kind of life we lead. Oftentimes it is easier to concentrate on what is going wrong in our lives and overlook the many things that are going right.

Dealing with my first major heartbreak forced me to implement this optimistic approach to my own life. After investing four years and sharing many memories, both good and bad with someone, I was devastated when things finally ended and he found someone new. I was left feeling alone, worthless, and rejected. Day after day I marinated in the thoughts of being inadequate and easily replaceable. As time elapsed, I began to realize that drowning myself in my own misery was getting me nowhere, and I came to realize that he, in fact, was not someone I wanted for myself. I embarked on my newfound optimism and reveled in the discovery that I had finally been unleashed from the agony of a relationship that needed to end. I chose to take the optimistic approach and overlook the bad and be grateful for the good. Instead of concentrating on being unwanted by someone, I shifted my attention to the fact that there were several men that did want me. Seeing the situation in a different light was a choice that I made for myself. It was a choice that turned my life around.

When hardships do arise, a negative attitude will only make things worse, while a positive attitude will get us through the situation and help us manipulate the circumstances to our own advantage. Languishing in our own misery infiltrates our soul, generating a destructive existence which encroaches on the existence and attitude of others. Plaguing those around us with our own troubles is unnecessary. Regardless of how flawless someone else’s life may appear, they, too, deal with their own struggles each day, but they choose to work through them with a positive attitude, making the best of the situation. No one is perfect; everyone has issues. Some people are simply better at faking it.

Throughout our lives, we are faced with struggles and we are also given blessings. Whether we live a happy, prosperous life is up to us. Living a successful life is not about whether or not everything falls into its correct position; it depends on how we position our minds when approaching the situation. It is up to us to decide for ourselves how we are going to deal with the circumstances which we are handed. Instead of being miserable about the parts of his body that no longer worked, the old man approached life with a positive attitude and expressed gratitude for the parts that did. After all, happiness is not about getting what we want; it’s about wanting what we have already been given.