Happiness is a choice

By Janet Walgren
I once heard of a man who, when asked how he was, would always answer, “If I were any better, I would be twins.” Then he had a very serious accident that would have killed most men. He fell from a very high tower while working. When he was in the emergency room, he realized that he needed to do something to save his life because the medical staff was acting like they were operating on a dead man. So, when the nurse barked out the question, “Are you allergic to anything?” He answered, “Yes, GRAVITY!” Everyone burst out laughing.  Then he told them that he was going to live and that they should start acting like it.

Have you ever considered how important choice is to your well being? I learned this about two years after my ex-husband disappeared with my sons. One evening I received a phone call that sounded like my little boys. They said, “Mommy, mommy, come find us. We are at the shopping center. Please come find us.” I tried to find out what shopping center, but to no avail, and then there was loud laughter as someone hung up the phone.

The call left me emotionally exhausted. I was a basket case, but then something happened. A voice in my head said, “Janet, he has hurt you as much as he can possibly hurt you unless you give him permission to hurt you more.” It was then that I realized that my sadness had no effect on my ex-husband or my sons. They didn’t know that I was crying at night. They were living their own lives; only my life was being ruined by my grief.

Since that time I have had several occasions to counsel others who were grieving due to a loss, a tragedy, or some kind of abuse. I listen… Then I ask them, “Do you want to be happy?” You see, you can’t always control what happens to you in life and you can’t change history. What you can do is change your attitude and choose to be happy. Happiness really is a choice.

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