Throughout my youth, and still today, I heard quite frequently, “happiness is a choice.” Often this was said in conjunction with, “so, choose to be happy! Stop wasting time being sad.” I’ve thought a lot about this over the years, and while I don’t think the adults trying to guide me to a happy and fulfilling life were intentionally lying to me, but I do think they themselves did not truly understand what it means to be happy or how one comes to happiness.
I think most of us associate the feeling of “happy” with contentment, pleasure, fun, peace, joy or gratitude. Is happiness some or all of these things? Or is it something else entirely? All of these things describe momentary feelings, a mood that can pass just as quickly as it came. However, when I think of happiness, true happiness, I tend to think of a long term sense of well-being. It is a satisfaction with the cumulation of one’s life. Such a broad sense does not come from a fleeting thought to “be happy.”