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Choose to be happy?

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I'm not much of a self-help follower, but I attended a workshop for work where the speaker focused on creating our own happiness. Is that a thing? Do you believe we choose to be happy or miserable?
 
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Yes and no. If something in your life would typically make you unhappy but you choose to ignore it in order to stay happy, then yes....you made your own happiness.

But people like me wouldn't be truely happy until we got rid of what was making us unhappy. Making youself be happy does not do away with the unhappines. It simply masks it, and I'm not one who is happy wearing a mask.
 

Zack T

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There is power in ourselves to choose our outlook and choose to try and be happy. However, that choice is still much harder for some due to external pressures and/or because of chemical imbalances or past traumas affecting behavior.

I wish it was as easy as "Stop being sad, just be happy!" then no one would be depressed. But it's a hell of a lot more complicated than that.

I have been diagnosed by a psychiatrist with major depression and social anxiety. I was on medication for awhile, but couldn't afford it once I split from my ex wife. I could afford it now, but most of the time I manage - I will say that trying to consciously choose to be in a better mind frame helps me manage. Doesn't always work, but simply choosing to try and NOT insult myself in my thoughts or be self-defeating does make a difference for me. I still fall down, but it happens less frequently. If I were on medication, it probably wouldn't happen at all.
 

ShadowEdge

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I'm not an emotional person, or maybe I'm just not in tune with how I feel all the time. However, it seems ridiculous to expect to live in a constant state of blissful happiness. So many so-called gurus and life coaches will tell you something is wrong if you aren't grinning maniacally 24-7. Feeling upset, angry, tired, frustrated, sad, and lonely are all important emotions too. Sometimes, those feelings alert us that something is wrong and we need to change the thing causing the problem or if we can't change it, we need to make peace with it or otherwise figure out how to cope. And sometimes, those unhappy emotions aren't a big deal.

@Zack T I hope that things continue to improve for you. Thank you for sharing. You're such a funny guy here, but I guess the social anxiety part is more about real life interactions. You're definitely fantastic though.
 
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Maya

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@ShadowEdge, I think a lot of those self-help books feed the mentality that we're supposed to be perpetually happy and that life is all about the pursuit of happiness. I think that living with that mentality is pretty dangerous. It seems like people think that in order to be happy, we can't have anything in our lives that makes us unhappy. There's always going to be something in our lives that could be better, that stresses us out, that challenges us...but is that such a bad thing?

I think we have more power over our unhappiness than our happiness. I know, those two are often treated as opposites but I don't think that's necessarily the case. I don't think that happiness is the absence of unhappiness. We don't have to get out our scissors and cut away anything that's affected us in a seemingly negative way. Self-help books might urge us to ask ourselves, "Does X make me happy?" when really I think we should be asking, "Does X add value to my life?" There are plenty of hard, stressful, and challenging things in my life that add plenty of value to my life, even if they don't always make me super happy. If you've come to the decision that they add value to your life, then the negatives associated with it can become easier to handle.

That being said, there's no fix that's going to work for everyone. There's not even a fix that will work for one person every single time. I just know that's something that's helped me.

@Zack T, I am so sorry to hear that you've been struggling with depression and social anxiety. I'm super happy that you've found something that works for you. You're awesome, and never let that insulting, snide voice in your head let you believe otherwise.
 
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I believe in this very much! I do however think that it doesn't work for everyone. I used to struggle with depression bad but the past few years I have changed my mindset fully and it has changed my life for the better. For a big part, I think that happiness IS a choice and you can have the most garbage life but still choose to live happy and live doing the things that make you happy. But again, I'm sure there's people who don't have the capability to do this.
 
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