Happiness Is A Choice, Not A Result

Happiness Is A Choice, Not A Result
Happiness Is A Choice, Not A Result Graphic © InspirationPowerBoost.com

“Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you.”

This quote profoundly underscores the idea that happiness is a personal choice, not a byproduct of external circumstances. It challenges the often-held belief that happiness is contingent upon certain conditions or achievements. Instead, it posits that happiness is an internal state, a decision we make regardless of our external environment. This viewpoint empowers individuals to take control of their emotional well-being, rather than leaving it at the mercy of fluctuating external factors.

Independence from External Validation

The emphasis on happiness being a choice highlights the importance of emotional independence. It suggests that waiting for external validation or specific outcomes to be happy is a fruitless endeavor. This quote encourages us to detach our sense of joy from external sources, be it possessions, accolades, or even relationships, and to find it within ourselves.

Happiness as an Inside Job

The quote aptly describes happiness as ‘coming from you,’ emphasizing that true contentment is an inside job. It’s about cultivating a mindset that seeks and acknowledges the positives in life, practices gratitude, and maintains an optimistic outlook. This internal approach to happiness is more sustainable and enduring than one reliant on external triggers.

Active Participation in One’s Joy

Recognizing happiness as a choice means actively participating in one’s joy. It involves taking steps to understand what brings personal happiness and intentionally incorporating those elements into everyday life. This proactive stance is a powerful tool in creating a fulfilling life.

Historical Example I: Viktor Frankl

During World War II, Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, found himself imprisoned in Auschwitz, one of the most notorious concentration camps. Despite experiencing immense suffering and despair, Frankl made a profound realization that happiness is indeed a choice, and not contingent on external circumstances.

In the camp, Frankl noticed a significant pattern among his fellow prisoners. While some individuals fell into deep despair and completely lost hope, others managed to maintain a sense of resilience and purpose. He observed that those who chose to find meaning and purpose in their lives, even amidst the horrors they faced, seemed to possess a greater sense of inner happiness.

An unforgettable incident occurred while Frankl was working with a group of women prisoners in the camp. They were assigned the grueling task of carrying heavy stones from one place to another. One day, as they were laboring under the burden of these stones, one of the women turned to Frankl and said, “I’m so glad they didn’t take away my ability to think.” Astonished by her statement, he realized that despite the immense suffering they endured, the woman had chosen to focus on her ability to think, rather than being consumed by the external circumstances.

Historical Example II: Sullivan Ballou

During the American Civil War, a Confederate soldier named Sullivan Ballou wrote a heartfelt letter to his wife, Sarah, just one week before the Battle of Bull Run. In this letter, he poured out his love and devotion to her, acknowledging the uncertainties of war. Tragically, Ballou was mortally wounded in the battle. However, years later, his letter resurfaced and shed light on his perspective on happiness amidst adversity.

Ballou’s poignant words expressed his belief that happiness is a choice, not dependent on external circumstances. He stated, “But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights…always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah, do not mourn me dear; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.”

Historical Example III: Seneca

During the reign of Emperor Nero in ancient Rome, there lived a renowned philosopher named Seneca. Despite being a prominent Stoic philosopher and advisor to Nero, Seneca faced numerous challenges throughout his life.

One day, Nero accused Seneca of participating in a conspiracy against him, despite the philosopher’s unwavering loyalty. Seneca was ordered to commit suicide as punishment. Although this turn of events was undoubtedly distressing, Seneca decided to embrace his imminent death with grace and tranquility.

While carrying out the act of suicide, Seneca’s friends and family gathered around him, sobbing and distraught. Witnessing their emotional state, Seneca calmly addressed them, saying, “Do not weep for me, my friends. I have lived a fulfilling life, and I am content with the choices I have made. My happiness does not depend on my current circumstances, but rather on the way I have chosen to live.”

Despite facing an unjust fate, Seneca displayed an unwavering commitment to his Stoic philosophy, emphasizing that happiness is not dictated by external circumstances. Instead, he believed that true happiness is found in the choices we make, in the virtue of our character, and in our ability to maintain a peaceful state of mind even in the face of adversity.

Historical Example IV: Emperor Hadrian

One lesser-known anecdote illustrating the saying “Happiness is a choice, not a result” revolves around the life of Hadrian, a Roman emperor who reigned from 117 to 138 AD. Known for his military campaigns and architectural contributions, Hadrian unexpectedly demonstrates a critical understanding of the power of personal choice and happiness.

Hadrian was deeply in love with a young man called Antinous, who became his confidant and beloved companion. Tragically, Antinous died at a young age while the Emperor and his entourage were touring Egypt. Heartbroken and grief-stricken, Hadrian realized that he had a choice between dwelling in misery or finding a way to cultivate happiness once again.

Rather than succumbing to despair and bitterness, Hadrian made a conscious decision to honor Antinous’ memory by celebrating his life, embracing happiness, and expressing his love through various forms of art. To preserve the memory of his dear companion, Hadrian initiated the construction of cities, temples, and statues dedicated to Antinous throughout the empire. These were not gestures of mourning but rather a testament to his choice to find happiness, focus on the joyful aspects of their relationship, and ensure that Antinous would be remembered as a symbol of love and beauty.

Hadrian’s choice to embrace happiness in the face of immense loss demonstrates that our emotional well-being is not solely dependent on external circumstances. Despite suffering a personal tragedy, he actively selected happiness as a conscious decision, seeking solace in actively cherishing the positive memories and choosing to leave a lasting legacy of love and beauty.

Daily Affirmation

“Today, I choose to be happy. I acknowledge that my happiness is a result of my decisions and outlook, not my circumstances.”

Related Inspirational Quotes

“The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” – William James

“Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that.” – Stacey Charter

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

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