Be Happy by Diane Gaston"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be."– Groucho Marx
"Be happy. It's one way of being wise."– Colette
“In every life we have some trouble But when you worry you make it double Don't worry, be happy”—Bobby Ferrin
“Happiness is a choice, not a reaction.”—me!
I really believe this. I really believe we can be happy even when things are pretty rotten in our lives. Oh, maybe not if our very existence is threatened, but otherwise, even if bad things are happening. We just have to decide to be happy.
As a social worker, I once had a client who had little money and no family around her. Nonetheless, she did not feel sorry for herself. She walked to the coffee shop and made friends there. When she could no longer walk to the coffee shop, she stayed home and enjoyed TV. When her TV went on the fritz, she enjoyed reading books. When she couldn’t buy new books, she enjoyed re-reading her old ones. She had more bad things happen to her in her life than you could count, but she chose to be happy with whatever she had. She taught me that there is always something in life to be happy about.
This week I was riveted to the TV coverage of the plane crash in the Hudson River. These people survived a terrible trauma. In coming days, weeks and years, the survivors have two choices: to lament that they had to suffer through such a frightening event, or to be happy about how they reacted, how they survived. All reports are that everyone--from the wonderful pilots to the air crew, to the passengers, to their rescuers--did the right thing. In so many cases they chose to be heroic. Many of us are experiencing adversity these days; we can also decide to handle our adversity heroically. We can decide we will not let go of happiness, even in hard times.
One important benefit to being happy is it is infectious. Saturday my husband and I went downtown in Washington, D.C., to look at the inaugural preparations. What struck me even more than the lines and lines of Portapotties, was the happiness that pervaded the numbers of people who were doing the same thing. It was impossible not to smile, no matter what one's politics might be. The more we choose to be happy, the happier others around us will be.
Even at the worst of times we can marvel at a sunrise, enjoy a TV show, have a laugh with a friend. How many times in my life have I lost myself in the pleasure of a book when things outside of me were going bad? Too many to count!
So when I’m struggling to figure out a plot problem in my writing, when I’m desperate for a new story idea, when my deadline looms and I have tons more to write, I hate to complain, because I'm happy about this life I've chosen, even when it is full of problems.
We can’t stop stress. We can’t stop problems. We can’t stop tragedy from coming into our lives. No matter how clever we are, how smart, how careful, there is always something we can’t control. But we can control how we react to our experiences, and we can decide to be happy.
Soooo....do you think I’m nuts? Feel free to argue with me.
Or prove my point. Share a time when you made a decision to be happy, even when the events around you gave you every reason in the world to be miserable.
Diane is staying home and watching the Inauguration on TV, but you can visit her website and still enter her contest to win your choice of one of her books. Or for more photos from Saturday, including the PortaPotties, visit her today on Risky Regencies.