Are you happy? In this instant, at this moment are you happy? In general, would you say that you wake up happy? This is an interesting thought to me. Do you wake up happy? I have answered this question no for most of my life. Today I would answer with a resounding yes. What was the difference? What shifted? One thing. Choice.
Another question: have you ever woken up in the morning feeling rested and peaceful for a few moments before you remember your life? I know it’s a strange question, but it’s happened to me so many times. I will wake up and for a few brief moments everything is great. As I lay there I can almost feel my brain start to fire up, kind of like a computer booting up. As it boots up it starts to scan- what I did yesterday, what I have to do today, what has been on my mind lately. It scans until it remembers something that triggers more thought. This often leads to a not so good feeling in my stomach. I can feel my body change from light, free, and at ease to heavy, burdened, and worrisome.
What happened? What was that moment of peace before the brain kicked in? That was me¬– peaceful, free, calm, and capable of anything.
Steve Chandler wrote, “We are free to think anything we want about anything. It is our fundamental freedom. We are free to think victim thoughts or the thoughts of ownership. This choice is always ours.” This choice is what shifted my answer from no to yes.
I didn’t realize I was choosing to be unhappy, but clearly I was. I was choosing to be a victim. It’s ugly, but the truth is that I wanted to be pitied. Man, it hurts to admit that. I wanted attention and I got it by living out my sad story. I chose thoughts of blame, regret, shame, why me, and on and on. I chose these thoughts for a reason. They were comforting, like an old blanket or a worn out pair of sweatpants. They might be ugly, but they sure are comfortable. These thoughts were my friends, but they kept me stuck. They kept me unhappy.
One of the greatest and most profound days of my life occurred when the choice was illuminated to me. I had kept saying to myself, “Is this it? If this is all there is to life, I don’t want it. I would rather die than continue to suffer this way.” I was ready to die. Well, it wasn’t that I wanted to die. I just didn’t want to continue to live this way.
The moment I saw that I was choosing unhappiness I was free. Someone once told me that the moment you realize you are being a victim you are no longer a victim. I so get that. The day I saw that I was being a victim I took ownership. I chose something new for myself. I made a stand. I made a stand for my happiness. “What ever it takes. I will not let anything (including fear), anyone (including myself), or any reason (including pity) stand in the way of my happiness.” I became a warrior.
Do I wake up happy? Yes. Why? Because I choose to. I choose to take ownership for my life. I choose to use my life rather than let life use me. I choose thoughts of ownership, thoughts that serve me. Pain and suffering or upliftment, you choose. I choose happiness.