Reality Check: The Happiness Choice

The William Glasser organization just launched a website called Mental Health & Happiness at Associating mental health with happiness may not make sense if your picture of happiness is giddy laughter, personal indulgence, or fantastic luck. If so, you might perceive a quest for happiness as futile, frivolous, or even selfish.

In light of that perception, I prefer the term “satisfaction.” Do you picture satisfaction as lying idly on a beach? Or do you see satisfaction as being involved and working at something (or with someone) that matters to you? 

No matter your picture, satisfaction in life is what is often referred to as happiness.  And there are plenty of words on happiness. For example, the blog “Think and Be Happy” is part of the World Happiness Forum (Who knew?)

Dr. Joel Wade focuses on “Mastering Happiness” at and offers this compelling observation, “Happiness is not something that you have; it’s something that you do.”

And of course, Choice Theory suggests that meeting your basic needs (power, freedom, fun, love& belonging, and survival) on a regular basis can move you toward a satisfying life.

What are some of the common themes for satisfaction and happiness?

  • Choose friends who support and encourage you. If you have a choice, why associate with people who belittle or disrespect you? (Especially close companions or a partner?)
  • Choose optimism over pessimism. You can, indeed, perceive the glass as half full or half empty. The reality is the same. The perception is different. Which perception is likely to help you feel more satisfied? You may as well choose that one.
  • Choose gratitude. Saying thank you for the good in your life can not only strengthen your relationships; it also reminds you that there is good in your life!  It’s so easy to forget, to take for granted, and to focus on what’s not going well. Developing a habit of saying “thank you” at a regular time or place can help you to focus on what is good in your life.
  • Choose to recognize that it’s not always someone else’s fault. Even if someone is blameworthy, choosing victimhood probably won’t help you. Every single person can perceive that they have been hard done by, that they are a victim of someone, some institution, or some circumstance. Does maintaining that perception help your satisfaction?
  • Recognize that you can control some things, but not everything. We have limits. There are huge, important things out of our control; there are tiny, important things out of our control. I can’t control the sun, and apparently, I can’t control the ants, either. (If you live in a rural area, then you know what I’m talking about.) Some things we can control, others we can’t.
  • Happiness is something that you have to do for yourself. No one else can make it for you. Others can provide information, but the happiness choice has to come from you.
  • Now is the only time you can act. Not yesterday, not tomorrow.

Jim Coddington, who works with William Glasser Inc., signs his emails with “Let’s choose happiness.”

Do you view happiness/satisfaction as a choice?

This entry was posted in Personal Freedom and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.