I don’t know about you, but people hurt me from time to time; and the feeling can be so bad. I have, indeed, had cause to wonder why some people could be so nasty that they seem to spread sadness around all the time! Could this be their nature, or they just don’t realize the impacts of their actions and utterances on others?
Thank God, I now know better. I am no longer a victim of people’s animalcular behaviors. I have chosen to be a happy man, and I choose to be happy every day, irrespective of what may be happening. Honestly, happiness is by choice. You can choose to be happy. You can choose to be moody. You can choose to be ugly. It’s a matter of choice; but it’s better to choose happiness.
We must all realize that things happen around us every day, and they will continue to happen till eternity. What matters most is the way we respond to the happenings around us. I see so many people whose lives are not in better shapes simply because of their responses to life. I have a popular saying that, “The world is what you see,” and this is factual. For some people, a little disappointment breaks them forever. For others, disappointment means reinforcement. I would rather camp with the latter.
Have you ever wondered why two men could suffer the same financial distress and one would bounce back after sometime, while the other goes dejected, broken-hearted, and bankrupt forever? It is a matter of their individual approach to life.
I know that the vicissitudes of life can be quite overwhelming. Marriages break up every now and then; friends disappoint their friends every day; promises fail from time to time; employers dehumanize their staff; employees defraud their employers; parents abuse their children; and children disappoint their parents. As innocuous as some of these may appear, they do matter a lot in the life of many of us. Again, it depends on how you and I respond to them.
Let me give you an example. Someone close to me once did a very bad thing that really hurt me. In fact, he disappointed me big time, and I kept moving about with that hurtful feeling for some days. It became hard for me to sleep well. Any attempt to sleep would bring about the bad memory, and I would continue to ask, “Why? Why? Why?” As hard as I tried to forget the incident, the bad feeling refused to leave me.
Well, after a while, I met with the culprit again and, to my utter surprise, he appeared so happy and beaming! He seemed not to care about what had happened. Even when I tried to bring up the matter, he just waived it off as if there was nothing to it. That very night, I changed my perception. And my questions changed too. I began to ask myself, “How come he’s so happy and I’m not? How come he doesn’t to know that something is happening to me as a result of his actions? Why on earth must I remain sad while he’s happy?” That was the decision point for me. Never again would it happen. I chose to be a happy man. I stopped playing the victim.
Someone called me recently after reading the article titled, “Laughing like Daddy GO.” He wanted to know why I had treated a very serious national issue that way. He also mentioned some of my posts on the fuel subsidy issue and said something like, “Okay o, continue to laugh until Jonathan and his cohorts ‘kill’ all of us with their inhuman policies.”
Imagine that! He was very serious with me. But I asked him a simple question that probably calmed him down. I asked him if the situation could be changed through his vituperations against me or any other person for that matter. He finally concluded with a statement in Yoruba that, “Anyway, eni t’a o le mu se lan fi le Olorun lowo; you leave whoever you cannot fight to God.” Hmm, that was a heavy one! Most of the things we brood about are beyond our control. What a waste of time and energy on our part!
Let me also make a confession, hoping that my pastor is not going to read this. One of the periods I enjoy better in the church is the praise worship session; most especially on a “thanksgiving day.” That’s why I will advise that you attend a church where praise worship is duly recognized. On many occasions, I’ve had cause to get to church quite morose due to one problem or the other. But by the time I observed people dancing, singing, jumping, and rolling before God as if they had won millions of money; honestly, I’ve had to do a rethink. It seems that happiness could be truly infectious. Those people dancing in the church may be poor; they may not know where the next food would come from; their landlords may be on their necks; but all the same, they have chosen to be happy – at least while in the church!
See, you don’t get to know how incredibly short this life could be until you are over 40. If you’re a deep thinker, you would begin to remember what happened some 10, 15, or 20 years ago and say to yourself, “Lord, am I getting old.” Yes you are! Before you know it, you would be 50, 60, 70, 80, and if you are lucky, 100 years would arrive soon! Believe me; it doesn’t take time at all. We all become old quicker than we may believe.
Here is an exercise for you. When did Abacha die? It was 14 years ago! Right? When did the 9/11 attacks happen in the US? That was 11 years ago! Correct? As you remember those days, something would be saying to you, “Ah, o ti yara pe to ye sha – so it’s that long?”
It doesn’t take time at all, my dear friend. Since that is the case, why don’t you be as happy as possible for the few days you are to spend in this world? I like Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 hit song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” The song is really truthful and thoughtful.
I can continue to write about happiness from now till tomorrow. But I don’t need to do so; I have two factual statements that briefly capture the essence of happiness, and the reasons for you to be happy despite the bitter dinner that life may be serving you. The statements are from Steve Chandler and Bertrand Russell. Here they are:
- When I am happy, I see happiness in others. When I am depressed, I notice that people’s eyes look sad. When I am weary, I see the world as being boring and unattractive. – Steve Chandler.
- The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy. I mean if you are happy you will be good. – Bertrand Russell.
Imagine how beautiful this world would be if only happiness could radiate everywhere. There wouldn’t be killing and maiming. There wouldn’t be hatred and mercilessness. Love would flow, and peace would reign. If you and I could decide to be happy, we would “infect” our neighbors, and our neighbors would “infect” and affect the world at large.
You may say to me, “Everyday is not Christmas.” I agree. But I can equally ask you, “Why can’t everyday be Christmas? Why should happiness be reserved for only Christmas Day? Why can’t you and I choose to be happy every day?”
Anything is possible if we choose to pursue it. Decide to pursue happiness. Make up your mind to be a happy person. I have decided. I choose to be happy.
To your happiness!