It was Monday.
In the morning I shared a video in which I explain how happiness is a choice. My argument, such as it is, is that we often find ourselves deferring happiness until a later date or waiting until a future condition has been met before allowing ourselves to be happy. In other words, we often view happiness as being conditional: if this, then that.
I originally posted it on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Here it is:
I used think that happiness was conditional and I completely understand how easy it is to think in such ways. It’s easy because that’s how we spend our time when we ‘grow up’, we learn that happiness is something that is dependent on the outside world.
Children and babies don’t understand this. They live their lives with the aim of being happy. Once their basic needs are met, babies and children are happy, or at least they make happiness their aim, their goal, their reason for being. It’s anecdotal yes, but I’ve never seen a miserable or unhappy baby if they have their basic needs met and are otherwise well. Yes, they tantrum for inexplicable reasons, but their default position seems to be one of happiness. We somehow learn to grow out of happiness.
I get a mention in a tweet on the back of posting the video. It’s a position that I’ve seen before, namely, it’s not always simple to make the choice to be happy.
And in a sense the tweet is correct, it isn’t always simple. Life isn’t. Life is difficult. Life can be unbearably cruel. Perhaps this is most evident in the fact that some people simply can’t make the choice because of mental illness or incapacitation. If you are clinically depressed for example, you can’t make the choice to be happy any more than you can make the choice to stop being sick when you have food poisoning. But that was not the point of the video. The point of it was to address the more commonplace form of miserableness which is the endless deferral of happiness to a later point in time. And I still maintain that this is something that we can guard against in our own lives.
You can find out more about my own journey towards being slightly happier here.
You can find details of my happiness podcast, The Happy Teacher Podcast here.
You can find details of how I can help you to be happier here.