She looked at me skeptically. Frowned slightly.
I could tell she wasn’t on board. She didn’t want to outwardly disagree, but there was no buy in.
And that’s when I realized I needed to clarify. Language is a complicated beast after all. And what a certain word means to me may have totally different connotations to you. Some words are so rarely used we only have the fuzziest idea what they mean. Others are so overused their meaning becomes diluted and vague.
I’m afraid happy is one such word. The very reason my newfound stranger-turned-friend was frowning at me.
You see, I rather like the word. I use it often. CHOOSE HAPPY is a personal mantra. I love it. But that’s because I understand what it means to me.
Happiness is not shallow or derived at the expense of others. It’s not always full of giggles and yelps of celebration. It doesn’t mean feeling outrageously excited at every moment, excessively using grinning emojis or exclamating your every sentence. And it most certainly doesn’t mean ignoring or suppressing the sad, angry, or challenging emotions.
To me, happiness arrives at the meeting place of joy and contentment. In the moments when you challenge yourself to be the best you possible and then arise to the occasion. It’s the feeling of knowing you’re giving back the world and taking what you need to sustain yourself. It’s rooted and optimistic. Grounded in the here and now, while fully believing in the dream-filled future.
And we can choose to bring more of it into our lives. To look for the good. To make eye contact and connect. To lift each other up instead of tearing one another down. To give and receive, love and be loved. To accept the discomfort and the full range of emotions life inevitably brings. And, even when it gets hard and messy, scary and challenging to choose. To be kind, loving, generous and helpful. To shine a light for others and to do what’s right over what’s easy. To CHOOSE HAPPY.
As the Dalai Lama said,
“The point of life is happiness.”