“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
I saw a meme recently that praised Eeyore’s friends (Winnie the Pooh and them) for standing by him and letting him be depressed. I felt differently. Emotional states are contagious and I am quite particular about who I share time with. This is not to say that I think people should be happy all the time because that is impossible. I know the people I love will struggle and have hard times. I know that I will (and have) struggled and had hard times. Life is hard and we’re allowed to have bad moments, bad days, and a bad few years. But, why would you want a bad life?
One of the greatest regrets of the dying is: I wish I had allowed myself to be happy.
Happiness is a choice. It’s a choice to focus your attention on the good things in life. It’s a choice to be kind and compassionate. It’s a choice to be particular about who you share time with. It’s a choice to make a change.
Each day you are presented with thousands of choices. Do you pause to notice the beauty in your child’s smile? Do you pause to appreciate a blue sky? Do you pause to tell your partner, friend, family that you love and appreciate them? Do you let someone go ahead of you in traffic? Do you hold a door? Do you smile? Do you call a friend just to say hey how are you?
Do you know that this could all end in the next moment?
Life will always be hard and present challenges. There is never a time in the future where all of your problems will cease and life will be easy and happy. I’ve worked with clients in their seventies and eighties and they told me that this was one of the great epiphanies of growing older: They learned to be happy despite their challenges. And, they were happier because they survived challenges. They learned not to take one moment of this precious life for granted. All you can ever do is get up and do the best you can and do the same thing tomorrow. That’s it.
Frankly, Eeyore needed to take responsibility for his depression, get on some medication (because depression is a real and serious medical condition that cannot be toughed out!), and see a therapist. I’m concerned that his friends were enabling him.