I asked one of my students how she was today and she responded that she was ok. I pressed a little and we bantered for a while. At the end she jokingly or half jokingly said, I could not tell, that her happiness was buried several feet beneath the ground. She said that she was trying to dig it out and until that happens was was stuck being ok.

I thought that was an interesting metaphor how many of us feel when things don’t go well in our life. We feel like someone has buried our happiness six feet under and we try to unbury it, sometimes without a shovel.

But I told her that there is another way of looking at happiness, that happiness was not a constant state but more of a decision. The same way that we have to put away all of our outdoor things for the winter and take them out again in the spring, we choose to be who we want to be each and every day.

Now I know our emotions and the people we come in contact with shape all of that. I would never dispute that or that some day can be really super hard. What I was suggesting is that this young girls happiness isn’t in fact beneath the ground or lost. Her happiness is simply blurred and ignored.

I told her that in order to find it again, for anyone to find it again for that matter, we have to take actions and make decisions that will lead us day. We might be having a very shitty day, but in that shitty day we can do something, something that is wroth doing. If we have a tough time making friends, we might want to take a look at the friends we have, and trim the ones that are angry or negative and destructive in any way.

Happiness is most certainly a choice. It is a choice we make when we wake up every morning. It is a commitment that has to be renewed each and every day. Happiness is not a given. It involves hard work. Being surrounded by good, loving, encouraging people. It involves doing what we should and avoiding what we shouldn’t. Happiness is there for the taking, but it won’t grab us. 

It expects us to extend our hand.


Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@arty_me