When You Can’t Choose Happiness, Choose Peace Instead

I’m sure we’ve all heard, “Happiness is a choice.” Growing up, my mom had it on a big beautiful painting right above our couch. I am a strong believer that if we do not want to suffer, it’s up to us to actively pursue better days. However, with age and experience, I presented myself with a question:

“Is there a difference between choosing happiness and choosing not to suffer?”

Yes, my answer was yes. There is a huge difference between choosing happiness and choosing not to suffer. 

Happiness means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but the overall agreement is that happiness is when we feel pure joy. When we choose to not suffer, we are choosing to pursue the joy that we feel is absent or that we feel we want to experience more of.

When we are faced with death, or loss, or some traumatic experience, we are not robots. We cannot say, “Oh my mom just died but I am going to choose to be happy,” our human bodies don’t work like that. When there is grief to be felt, we must feel it. However, when faced with this type of excruciating loss, we can choose to do things like not dwell for the next six years watching reruns of House Hunters. We may not always be able to choose joy in the midst of pure grief, but we can choose to not sit in misery and instead work our way to choosing peace.

“Choosing peace” is choosing acceptance, it’s embracing the discomfort and sadness and grief and rejection and letting yourself feel every last bit of it while simultaneously honoring your own ease at the same time. We can honor and prioritize our inner peace at the same time that we honor every emotion we feel.

My point is, sometimes it’s going to be impossible to simply “choose happiness,” but we can choose peace and we can choose to not feel completely miserable. I am a huge advocate for letting all of your emotions coexist with each other, joy and all, but sometimes we have to take the pressure off of ourselves to just “choose happiness” in the midst of our grief, and instead just choose peace the best we can. TC mark

Leena Sanders

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