“Happiness Is A Choice”
Nothing is likely to frustrate me more than a stock photo of a sunset or the ocean or a blue clear sky or whatever with the words “I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY” plastered across it
The first time I clapped eyes on such throwaway internet sentiments I was immediately adverse to them.
The problem is that in making a statement such “Happiness Is A Choice” you are then – by default – stating that those who are unhappy, depressed or otherwise struggling are unhappy because they choose to be. And thats neither an accurate nor justifiable assumption
As such, “Happiness is a choice” and sentiments like it are a victim blaming statements; whether they’re conciously intended that way or not.
The smug undertones of “I Choose Happiness” cannot be ignored and whether it’s openly acknowledged or not the driving force behind why people share it so widely is, at least subconsciously, to appear a more attractive person. In this positivity and happiness obsessed society flaunting happiness and positivity as a main component of your character is akin to a male Peacock displaying his tail feathers to attract a mate. It is done to attract people to you. To make you seem likeable. “I Choose Happiness”’is a quick and easy affirmation tactic too. It is a most affective like-bait
The bitter irony is that this modern obsession with happiness and positivity is making us all discontented and emotionally unhealthy. We can’t possibly reach the highs promised by these online sentiments. They’re simply not sustainable. To expect to be always positive is unrealistic to the point of delusion. To think that Happiness is merely a matter of choice is simplistic to the point of idiocy
Why have our normal human emotions become seen as increasingly shameful and repulsive in modern society? Why are we all expected to be saintly, when we are human?
Our negative emotions are vital to our overall wellbeing. To ignore, suppress or deny that we experience them at all is detrimental to us and to those around us. Our negative emotions are our warning signals, they tell us that something isn’t right in Much the same way a physical pain warns us that there’s some wrong with our bodies. Experiencing these emotions is no bad thing (though they feel bad). Indeed, they offer opportunities for reflection and personal growth.
To minimise happiness down to simply a matter of “choice”, well, that is a bad thing
Happiness is an elusive, vague and complex concept. Biological, sociological, environmental and psychological factors are heavily involved.
Happiness amounts to more than merely choosing
I came across a video by Will Smith the other day on Facebook. In it, Smith talks about happiness. The friend who shared the video commented that all though she agreed (with Smith) happiness is a choice, he *seemingly* states his views from a very advantageous place in life. His words are wise, but only work within healthy relationships. In an unhealthy relationship or from an unhealthy mindset, his words are in fact counter productive and potentially damaging. They could even be construed as ‘blaming’ by someone who is in a place where they already feel like everything is their fault.
Videos Friends take on it was
”Happiness is a choice, but it is not a choice that is open to everyone”
Which although I’m still not convinced of the use of the word “choice”, is something I’d choose to share on a stock photo sunset in replace of what’s currently available any day