Happiness: Our Own Decision

Julie - Litchfield, Connecticut
Entered on January 4, 2010
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe that everyone is ultimately responsible for his or her own happiness. I have seen my family begin to grow, collapse, and work to rebuild again. I have seen friends drown in misery over poor grades, college rejection, and parental relationship issues. Yet I have come to understand that although unfortunate circumstances can push an individual to the edge, in the end they have every bit of control regarding whether or not they want to make their way back.

In my own life, I have struggled with the pain of accepting my mother’s endless addictions and disappointments. She spent 10 years of my life disappearing for days at a time, missing birthday parties, and spiraling downwards. Though I have been told that “everything is a part of her sickness” and “she can’t help it”, her progress has proved otherwise. After extensive rehabilitation programs, attending meetings, and moving across the country to start over, she has returned to my life a completely different person: rejuvenated, honest, disciplined, and more compassionate than I could ever imagine her to be. Regardless of her fight against addiction and bipolar disorder, her own desperation for happiness allowed her to find her way back into my life.

Beyond my mother, I have seen friends wallow in self-pity after receiving a low grade, making a drunken mistake, or dealing with a parent-dealt consequence. It is always a similar story: “the teacher hates me”, “it wasn’t my fault”, or “they just want me to be miserable”. Yet I know that none of the above excuses are true. More often that not, the true reasoning behind their

“failures” is their own doing due to laziness or pressure or pride. While they spend excessive periods of time feeling sorry for themselves, they could be making an effort to be proactive and productive. And that’s not to say that these people are ignorant or unintelligent, however, it does show a certain fear to take responsibility and make a change.

While I can comprehend that some situations are unavoidable, and that no one is entirely control of their own lives, I also understand that everyone has direct jurisdiction regarding their own happiness. People have the power to be productive; and in being productive, gain respect, responsibility, and confidence. I refuse to concede to the idea that decisions regarding our own emotions are out of our reach. We have the power to change our lives for the better if that is truly what we desire. This I believe.