“It is the mind that maketh good or ill, That maketh wretch or happy, rich or poor.” – Edmund Spenser
Consider this your daily reminder that happiness is a choice not a reaction. Two people can be faced with the exact same circumstances but it is the one who has made the decision in his mind to be grateful and appreciative who is happy, while the other will feel wretched.
Consider this: a man wakes up in his apartment to the sound of his screaming infant daughter. After placating her he gets into an argument with his wife about not paying a bill on time – money has always been tight for him. He goes to his job that he doesn’t particularly enjoy. After work he goes to the gym and painfully negotiates his way through a quick workout, having only 20 minutes to spare before he is needed at home. The weights are nothing compared to what he used to do and the reflection in the mirror is noticeably more robust than previously. He goes home and after finishing the dishes he lies in bed struggling to find sleep as the sound of the cars outside have been known to keep him awake.
The choice of happiness is entirely a decision for this hypothetical person. Beginning with the screaming daughter: he can either choose frustration about being woken early or he can choose happiness over the fact that he has been blessed with the gift of parenthood. The argument with the wife over the bills and the money: he can choose to be annoyed at her pestering, or he can choose gratitude that he has a partner who keeps him on top of things. He can lament the tight funds or he can be happy that though things are tight, he does have just enough money to keep a roof over his family’s head. He can resent the job or he can be thankful he has a job at all while so many go without. The painful, quick workout and the growing gut: he can mourn that his strength is declining with age or he can be grateful that he still has what health he does that still offers him such enjoyment. He can be angry at the cars outside or he can be thankful that he lives in this neighborhood because although somewhat noisy it is safe and brings him peace to know his family is not in danger.
It all comes down to perspective and the decision to be happy.
It begins in the mind.