Happiness is a choice we make irrespective of external situations. No circumstances can force us to be unhappy. If we are gloomy, it is always a choice that we make and we can choose to think joyous. Nothing forces us to be miserable. As the saying goes in English, “Two men looked out from the prison bars, one saw the mud and the other saw the stars”.
Everybody is thinking, happiness is in the external objects. They think that the grass is greener on the other side. To be unhappy, we don’t need anything from the outside. All we need to do is to bring unhappy, gloomy, miserable thoughts to ourselves. In the same way, to be happy, we only need to tweak our attitude. So the way to become joyous is to learn to be grateful for all we have received.
I would like to illustrate one story. Viktor Frankl was an Austrian Jew, he was also a practicing psychologist. During the second world war, when Hitler was rounding up the Jews in Europe and throwing them into concentration camps. He along with his wife, daughters, and brothers, was thrown into the worst of these camps. There he was separated from his wife and daughters, and later on, came to know that they had died. He says we used to be forced to walk through the night without wearing clothes, unsure whether we would be alive the next day or not. However, in that situation, he discovered he had one freedom that nobody, absolutely no one could take away from him. That was the freedom to choose to be happy. He decided to exert it, and he would be found smiling, even laughing by the guards of the prison. They were astonished. He became a source of inspiration to the prisoners and the guards themselves. He decided to announce to the world his discovery. When he was released from prison, he wrote a book – Man’s search for meaning in life.
When we decide that I am in charge of our emotions, by knowing that we can always harbor uplifting and noble sentiments and emotions in any situation. As the saying goes, ‘Pain is inevitable, misery is an option.

– Ritvika Mehta

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