Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is a choice.

This is a phrase that I have disagreed with for the longest time. I used to believe that happiness was just like any other emotion, and it would be felt when it wanted to be felt. But in recent times I have realised that happiness truly is a choice. In the past 3 months I have endured some of the most trying times, both physically and mentally. I suffered a terrible knee injury that required surgery and will sideline me for a year minimum, if not end my basketball career. For those of you who don’t know me, basketball is a huge part of my life and has been since I was a child. I have trained and played 5 nights a week for as long as I can remember! So you see having to sit on the side and not be able to do something that is an incredibly huge part of my life has taken a toll on me.

I tried my best to go out and be supportive to my teammates, but it has been hard. It’s frustrating sitting there, knowing that you could be making a difference if only you weren’t injured. I have wallowed in my sadness and frustration for a long time. There have been days when I chose to not get out of bed and do my knee exercises; I chose to stay in my room for days on end and I chose to not be happy.

For my birthday last year I received a canvas with the phrase, “Today I choose happiness”. I liked it because it had pretty colours and suited the colour scheme of my bedroom; little did I know it would be the catalyst for me actually choosing happiness. One day as I was sitting in my sad stupor, I looked up at this canvas and I had one of those light bulb moments. I thought to myself, “Why am I sitting here surrounded by my sadness? I don’t want this. I want to choose happiness. I need to choose happiness because this isn’t healthy.”

Here are a few simple tips that I try and follow each day to help me get out of the hole of emotions and find that happiness:

Choose to be the best version of you

“Success and happiness is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” - John Wooden

I have to choose to commit to making the best effort in my rehab and be content in knowing that I have tried my best. I have to stop comparing myself to others who have been through similar things and are further ahead. Whenever I feel like comparing myself to someone else, I compare myself to an earlier version of me. This continues to show me that I have made progress and am in a better place than I was before. 

Choose to be around the right people

“Surround yourself with the right people, and realize your own worth. Honestly, there are enough bad people out there in the world – you don’t need to be your own worst enemy.” – Lucy Hale

A major part of my happiness has been the people I have allowed to influence my life. Spending time with people who are likeminded, people who made my life brighter simply by being in it. Relationships should help you, not drain you. There were some relationships that I have had to cut back in my life because they were too negative, and in my situation I couldn’t handle others negativity on top of my own. Choosing friends who love and respect me as much as I love and respect them has allowed me to truly be ME.

Choose to let go when you know you need too

It is brave to hold on to things, but sometimes letting go is being braver.

Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do

Being grateful for what you already have and what you can do, will instantly bring you a deeper sense of happiness. My wallowing about all of the things that I couldn’t do blinded me from seeing all the things that I could still do!

Choose to have a good attitude

I’ve spent a long time looking at how far I still have to go, instead of how far I have come. I have to remember that life is a journey. Every moment is a priceless gift and an opportunity. I have to remind myself to be positive, smile and make it count. I have woken up every morning, looked at my canvas and said to myself, “Today will be a good day because I am choosing happiness”.

Choose to embrace your next chapter

Each day is a new beginning and a new ending. You can choose to hold on to all of the things that have happened in your past, or you can create your happiness today. Never let your success get to your head or your failures get to your heart. Make the best of every situation, keep pressing on and smile. Remember, a smile doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is happy right now, sometimes it simply means that they choosing happiness over their situation.

I can’t tell you that I have been happy every moment of every day because that’s not the truth and well, life just doesn’t work like that. We have every right to feel the emotions we experience, but I can tell you that choosing to be the best version of myself; choosing to be around the right people; choosing to not let what I can’t do interfere with what I can do; choosing to have a good attitude and to let go of things that need to be let go of; has helped me to embrace the next step in my journey. It has helped me achieve that happiness that I needed.

Today my challenge to you is to choose to be YOU. Choose happiness.