Choosing Happiness

All my life people have told me that happiness is a choice; that it’s a journey and not a destination. When I was younger I never believed any of that. My mind has since changed.

How could someone genuinely believe that we control our circumstances? We are born into this life and there are simply certain aspects of it that we don’t have the power to decide or change: who our parents are, where we’re born, what we’re born into, etc. These are all things that contribute enormously to who we are and what we become. But what if we aren’t happy with the hand we’ve been dealt?

Well, it’s simple: we work around it as best we can. We try to choose happiness. A person has the ability to make the best of a bad situation: to find one small positive within an endless string of negatives. That’s a huge victory. During that moment when you find yourself in a bout of self pity due to circumstances beyond your control, just remember that your mindset is the one thing you always have power over: the way you perceive something/someone, how you react to certain things that trigger anger or sadness in you, and the ability to identify the things you can and should change.

Also keep in mind that comparison is the ultimate thief of joy, so stop comparing yourself to other people, especially based upon what you see on social media. When you go on Facebook, Instagram, or other platforms you’re essentially viewing the best parts of people’s lives. It’s all perfectly curated and exactly what they want you to see, and that makes it difficult not to feel envious sometimes.

I’m constantly being cautioned by my mother about the fact that there’s a history of depression in my family, which is surprising considering how insanely happy I am most of the time. I’ve learned to really appreciate and cherish all of the small moments that tend to seem trivial if you aren’t thinking about them. It’s little things like hugging my boyfriend when he gets home, having dinner with my parents, cuddling up with my dogs, blasting music in my car (and singing along,) or slipping in between clean sheets after a long and exhausting day that make me feel completely and utterly content. I’ve also discovered how amazing it can be to just spend time alone.

I recently started going out and doing things by myself, which is a huge deal for me. Though I’m very independent in many ways, I realized that I would often rely on other people’s company for my own happiness, and by doing that I was leaving it in their hands. I used to sit home if my friends were busy, but why miss out on the precious time I could be out exploring places, enjoying things, and meeting new people?

A year ago I would have found the idea of going into NYC alone absolutely daunting, but now I love it. A year ago you would never find me in a coffee shop by myself, but now I have zero issues enjoying a latte all by my lonesome. I even met up with a girl who I previously only knew through Instagram, and have plans to meet up with more ladies who continue to inspire me daily.

I think everyone needs to go hangout with themselves every once in awhile. Branch out and connect with people who stimulate your creativity and help spark ambition in you. Do something you’re afraid of. Stay inspired. Step out of your comfort zone, lock the door behind you, and throw away the key.

Here’s what I have to say about happiness: it’s definitely a journey and you can choose it if you wish. If you wait until everything is perfect to be happy, you may always be let down. Happiness comes when you love yourself and truly enjoy your own company, and also when you’re brave enough to invite new people into your life. When you’re moving and growing, you’re happy. So don’t stand still. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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