Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What's It Worth?

I've been thinking a lot recently about the price of happiness - and if it's one of those things where the price is different for everyone.

I was raised to believe that happy is a choice. One might infer from that statement that being happy - no matter what your circumstances may be - is a choice. Or that it's simply a matter of choosing to have a positive attitude and to be thankful for what you have. To be sure, I believe it is all of those things too. But there's something more...

For reasons too numerous to go into in this post, I've been thinking about how happiness being a choice might be more closely tied to other choices in our lives. Big ones.

Almost everyone I know believes they would be happy if they had more money and found "the right" person and I tend to feel that way too. But I'm beginning to wonder if we as humans have a tendency to stay stuck in one place (location, job, relationship, church, school, etc.) because when we made the choice to go into said space it was the best decision we could make at the time with the information we had. Then one day you wake up (literally and figuratively) and hindsight hits you like a ton of bricks.

Suddenly how your choices "should have gone" is so clear to you. You think "oh I should have..." fill in the blank. Gone to this other school. Majored in that other subject. Taken this other job. Kept dating instead of settling down. Changed churches the first time I felt this feeling. Saved more money instead of buying this or that. Left the first time he / she broke my heart. Run like hell in the opposite direction of where I am now.

I think the choice of happiness comes with what you do after your "wake up" moment. Do you take this new found clarity and stuff it into the back of your mind and let it morph from "aha" to a state of pain and misery.

Or do you take a risk? Do you start to ever so carefully consider "what if I did something different now?"

You might feel it's too risky - that you've invested too much time and energy into where you are now. Certainly, sticking some things out and changing your attitude can be helpful. And I'm not talking about the times when you just have a bad day, but something that consistently pokes at you and needles you whether you're focused on it consciously or not.

Sometimes just changing your perspective is enough. Other times you're challenged to step out on faith and tackle the thing that both scares and bothers you the most. It's that moment when you know that while the unknown may scare you, staying where you are is going to do so much worse. So taking the risk might be your shot at choosing to be happy.

If you're truly unhappy in your life, what price would you pay to change it?

Just a thought.