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  • I think it is complicated. I was just talking with someone about it today, in fact, that happiness is a choice. I think that in all statements like these (i.e. “there is a reason for everything,” “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” etc), there is truth to them, but leaves far too much behind when used as platitudes and then lose what they may offer in depth. Is happiness the right word? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps “contentment” is a better word? Maybe the word “happy” is too loaded a word, which is another problem with so many phrases and expressions that are used without thought.
    My wondering is this – if it is true that I can choose to be miserable, what would the opposing and necessary statement that would also be true?
    And I understand the shame/blame that goes along with these sorts of statements that do not include the necessary context, which is, that it is OK to be exactly where you are! That we are meant to experience the entire gamut of emotions (as you say), and so happiness is one of the many options! Maybe, we CAN choose to be happy, but the real problem is that this thing called “happiness” is being held up as the end game, instead of part of the entirety of our experiences.
    So at the end of the day, I think it is a rhetoric issue, and a conceptual issue of what this thing is, “happiness.” Well, that’s my two cents. lol.

    Adina JUL 20, 2023

  • Very good insights. If happiness was truly a choice, people would simply choose to be happy instead of experiencing negative emotions whatsoever (which is clearly not the reality).
    I’m not sure where that thinking comes from, but my guess is that the “happiness is a choice” attitude is more of a reflection of Western (albeit American) culture. We’ve embraced individualism to such a degree that many people believe that their success in life is solely dependent on themselves. Of course, you have to work hard to get anything of value in life, but I would argue that luck, chance, or simply being in the right place at the right time has just as much influence on what you achieve (and how you feel), instead of our own conscious choices.

    Kevin McCarroll JUN 17, 2023

  • Thank you for this article! I am a certified Body Code practitioner and my work involves releasing energetic imbalances in the mind, body and spirit that all trace back to trapped emotions.
    To use the phrase “happiness is a choice” is harmful and dismissive to those who are doing the work to find their joy.
    I’m hoping 2023 will be the year of authenticity and that we can support each other on our journey through life.
    Silk + Sonder replied:
    So glad you liked it!

    Robin Petersen JAN 11, 2023

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