Life in progress

SoCS – Happiness is a Choice


I’m a true believer in the concept that anyone can choose to be happy, in any circumstance. I understand it seems impossible at times. Times of loss, of grief, of depression can darken the world around us to the extent that there is no light to be found anywhere. And yet…

There is a time to grieve. Being sad and allowing ourselves to be sad is a vital part of the healing process. There is benefit in sadness in that it allows us to relax our expectations of ourselves.

I remember when my father died. I was fourteen at the time, an only child, and my mother was devastated. I was sad, of course, but I refused to allow myself to show it in front of her. I felt that I needed to be strong for her.Β  Days before he died (it was completely unexpected–a sudden heart attack) he sat me down and told me that as long as I could laugh, I could survive anything. They were, obviously, words I took deeply to heart. And so, at his funeral I sat beside my mother and I said something to make her laugh. I can’t not believe that my father would have wanted that. He was an extremely funny man, and he loved to make people laugh, as I do.

I wonder about the psychology behind making her laugh – was it because if she could, I wouldn’t lose her too?

Was it actually happiness? No. But I have since, through all the trials and tribulations I have faced with failed marriages, with disabled children, decided to be happy. I can let it all get to me or I can laugh.

It can be difficult. It can be done. But it’s not for everyone.

with Robin Williams.

This post is part of SoCS

Badge by: Doobster at Mindful Digressions

Badge by: Doobster at Mindful Digressions

and Just Jot It January

JJJ 2015

Author: Linda G. Hill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

63 thoughts on “SoCS – Happiness is a Choice

  1. Pingback: I won. | simplinspiration

  2. Pingback: Second-Serving Sunday: The Final January 2015 Edition | shanjeniah

  3. When Mom died a few years ago, her wake was far from a somber occasion. She was surrounded by hundreds (literally) of people who were having a good time, talking and laughing…. I remember looking over at her casket and thinking, she looks so dead, then I realized, she wasn’t there; she was in the room, in the hearts of every person there. She would have loved it.


  4. When my 2-year-old niece died, years ago, a well-meaning friend sent a floral arrangement with Barney and a cross: my niece had loved Barney, but the conjunction of Barney and the cross was ludicrous — so much so that it provided a needed comic relief.

    So sorry to hear about your loss of your father when you were 14, Linda. Yet you had wisdom beyond your years, as you tried to help your mom.


  5. Although I didn’t understand back then my beloved Grandfather use to tell me that I have two choices in my life….

    “You can be happy or you can be sad. You choose the one you want. It’s just that simple”

    Back then I was like “whatever grandpa” – Now later in life I’m like “that man was a genius.”

    It really is a matter of choice!


  6. Simple, wise and inspiring words ma’am. Made me think of the book “Man in Search for Meaning” of Viktor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor, who never gave up. In his book he doesn’t talk about his suffering but his sources of strength to survive.
    You’re right. Anyone can. It’s not for everyone.


  7. Pingback: Second-Serving Sunday: The Multi-Faceted Edition | shanjeniah

  8. Beautiful post Linda πŸ˜‰
    I agree, it is a choice to decide to stay happy.


  9. *Stretching my arms wiiiiidddddeeee to give you a long-distance hug!*

    I believe this, too. It’s what held me together when Elijah died, and what helped our marriage survive, in circumstances where many collapse.

    And that video – on this gray January Sunday, it was the perfect infusion of light, life, and laughter…

    Might’ve even inspired me to write a Robin Williams post- something I’ve wanted to do, but needed the proper perspective…


  10. Happiness seems to be a choice to me as well. I have more than my share of dark moments, but I’m genuinely happy despite them. I think there’s a lot of pressure on onlies, and I think you WERE testing her ability to go on. Grief is still grief, even when met with relief of laughter.


  11. Thanks for the post. I admire your ability to be positive, even though you have faced so many challenges.


  12. I love that video, it still makes me laugh x


  13. Thanks for sharing your strong spirit. I hope I can be a little like that too πŸ™‚


  14. Lovely post Linda and so very true.


  15. i agree Linda – i would add one small addendum. I think happiness is an outcome not a state. I would say to pursue the state of mind that produces happiness. A difference that doesn’t make a difference in this case, but it can (i.e. some of the most difficult decisions that I have made in my life had short term unhappiness in trade for long term happiness.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see what you’re saying, Paul. Like living through discomfort in order to achieve a goal. But then I can’t help but think of the quote by Chuang Tzu, which states, “Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.” I think we can even choose to be happy when we’re struggling to reach something else. Just the knowing that we’re moving closer to our goal… see what I mean?


      • Absolutely Linda – i agree that is possible and it is also about two levels above my ability just yet. It is kind of like the disciples walking arm and arm down the road singing because they had been beaten and abused and jailed for publicly preaching about Jesus. I understand how that is possible and I applaud their strength and dedication and there is no way on Earth that i could achieve that at this point in my life. But i shall soldier on!

        Liked by 1 person

        • But that’s the whole point… don’t strive, just do it!
          Staying in the moment; looking neither forward nor ahead, what is there to be sad about? Simplicity is the key. Though I agree, it takes a while to get there. It takes practice. Best of luck with it, my dear. πŸ™‚


  16. Oh, Linda, such a tender sharing. Our family calls what you describe, “funeral humor.” I don’t know if it’s the Irish in us, or if it was the poor in us, but funerals saw some of our best laughs. My grandmother quipped at my grandfather’s funeral, “I told you he would be late for his own funeral” when we saw his hearse slide down the snowing hill, falling behind his procession! That same grandmother’s motto is (she’s inching toward 100) “Smile, it works for me!” So, yes, through it all, I want to choose happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. How I admire your resilience and I think your father gave you a wonderful gift, Linda. Humour can get you through some pretty tough times. When my mother passed last month, I chose to talk about her fun times, her funny times when she was alive…at her memorial service. As for choosing to be happy, I think you are right except of course if someone has a mental illness…no one chooses to be depressed but there is help, treatment and recovery. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Cheryl-Lynn. πŸ™‚ Physical illnesses that affect the brain are, of course, a different case. But for those of us who are able to choose, it is always a choice.
      It seems your mother blessed you with a similar gift – remembering the good times is a good way to get through it. I’m so sorry for your loss. *hugs*

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Happiness is indeed a choice, there is always joy to be found even in the hardest of times.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. So hard to lose your Dad so young. I think it is important to be happy about what we have and be grateful. On the other hand, if someone suffers from depression it is not always a choice. But you have shown much courage.


  20. Spot on sire..
    I think you are right on this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I’ll bet your mom was grateful to have the relief.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. For me what you did at your dad’s funeral was in a way your dad speaking through you to your mum. Recognising the traits of our parents goes a long way to understanding the grief we feel when they depart this life. One of the proud moments in my life was the ‘send off’ we gave my dad when he died a few years back. He would have chuckled at what we did, would have been so proud of my sisters singing, it was a very fitting way to say farewell.
    You are very right in believing it is important to laugh to be happy for if not it may bring us down to places we never really want to think about. So keep on making the people around you and us laughing Linda, if you have the gift, flaunt it!! If not flaunt it then exercise it daily.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. That was a real pleasure, Linda.
    Thank you so much. (fits my philosophy perfectly)

    Liked by 1 person

  24. yes, my dad always told me ‘always leave ’em laughing, son’. He also said to anyone congratulating him, ‘don’t clap, throw money’ so I suppose that explains my mercenary optimism…

    Liked by 1 person

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