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Happiness is a Choice

Have you ever known someone who always seemed to walk around with a sour disposition, appearing to be dreadfully unhappy? Did you wonder how anyone could be so unhappy without choosing to be? Chances are very good that this person did choose to be unhappy, because happiness is a choice.

That's right, anyone can choose to be as happy as they want to be, if that is what they really want. If you want happiness in your life, one of the first things you must do is to choose to be happy. The next important step is to change the elements of your life that keep you from being happy. As the well-known Reinhold Niebuhr quote goes, "...give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Choosing happiness really is that simple. We can dwell on all the bad parts of our lives, curse the ugliness of the world, or we can do whatever we can to make those things not so significant to our lives. Suppose you wake up every morning and dread going out to pick up your mail because you live in such a terrible neighborhood. There is trash in the streets and you fear getting mugged every time you step out of your front door. There are actually a couple of ways to change this. You can look for a place to live in a neighborhood that you would feel better about, or you can work with your neighbors to help make your own neighborhood a better place to live. Either one of these actions is likely to make you a happier person than you are now, but to simply accept your situation and continue to dread getting your morning mail for the next several years is choosing to remain unhappy.

Many aspects of our lives that make us unhappy can be changed, and those that cannot be changed, you can work around and still find happiness if you do so with a positive attitude. Let's say that winter is right around the corner and you absolutely hate winter. There is no doubt that this is something about life that you cannot change, but are you going to walk around for the next few months grumbling about the cold, wet weather, or are you going to try to look at ways in which you can enjoy this time. New fallen snow is actually very beautiful; take some time to look at it the next time snow falls. Don't lock yourself in your house; get out and enjoy all that the season has to offer. If this just isn't you, why not take a break - if you can afford it - and head to the Caribbean for a week? When you come back you'll be ready to face winter once again.

The point is that you can let this unchangeable situation cast shadows over your happiness, or you can work with the positive aspects of it and let yourself be happy. Remember, happiness is a choice and the next time you begin to feel down, you can always just choose to be happy again.

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