Can You Choose to Be Happy?
My 19-year-old son, Ryland, had recently gone through a disappointment, and we were talking about life and moving on. He said to me, “Dad, I agree with everything you’ve always told me except for one thing: You told me that I can choose to be happy, and I have to tell you, that’s just not true. I have been choosing to be happy, and it’s not working for me.”
So I said, “Son, let me give you another way to think about this. Instead of choosing to be happy, replace the word happy with the words ‘an athlete.’ I remember you saying that you had decided to be a great athlete. So when you say, ‘I choose to be a great athlete,’ what does that mean to you?”
His answer was all I needed. He said, “That’s simple. I know that if I want to be an athlete, I need to control my diet, work out every day, show up early to practice and stay late, and learn about what other athletes do to perform at their best level.”
When you want to make anything happen in your life, it requires commitment, practice and dedication. Just saying the words, “I choose to be happy” will not make you happy; they are not a magical incantation. Happiness takes work, and that work will be rewarded.
We know that acts of gratitude, kindness and habits such as exercise, good nutrition, meditation and positive social interaction elevate and expand happiness and overall well-being. You can start now and begin feeling the results right away.
The lightbulb went off for my son. He said, “I get it. I choose to be happy—and I choose to work toward being happy!”
– Kym Yancey, CEO and Co-Founder of Live Happy
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