Sienna got this hat for Christmas that says "Choose Happy". At first I thought, how cute and positive this message was. I hadn't seen it for a couple of weeks, but then Taya was wearing it yesterday. While I still think it is cute, I thought about the message a little more in depth. I thought about whether or not being "happy" was actually something we can in fact choose.
Most people have always referred to me as a happy or a sunny person. The thing is though, is that sometimes this isn't necessarily the case in myself or other "happy" individuals. I am, however, a very positive person. I know you may be thinking, "Well, what is the difference? Aren't positive and happy the same things?" The answer is no. I am almost always positive; trying to think good things about the distant and not so distant future. I try to keep my head up, even in the most dire or bleak situations. Adversely, I have been through some very dark depressions, multiple times. There have been periods of days, weeks, or months where I found it very hard to stop crying; times when it felt impossible to get dressed for the day; and many times where I thought I had nothing good to offer anyone including my children. The interesting thing was, I could pretend to be fine and cheerful to friends, family, other parents, and anyone else. Even during the worst times, or darkest times, I have always tried to remain a good friend, coworker, etc. I am always listening and giving advice, and always being there, even the times when inside I was hurting so badly myself. As far as anyone is concerned, I have always been a very happy person, always keeping a smile on my face, and always laughing outside even if I was crying on the inside. After a while though, this can get exhausting.
I didn't start writing about this to talk about myself, though. I am merely demonstrating one example. My point of this, is that at no time did I feel that I could choose happiness over sadness. When people are depressed, it's not like they usually want to feel this way. If anything,most times they would choose not to, but it is not a choice. They can opt to think positively, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will be happy, and also there can be times of happiness. Messages such as these on memes, clothing, products, etc. make people think that being happy vs. sad is just as easy as picking to wear black shoes over brown shoes or as choosing to eat chicken instead of beef. Depression is a medical condition, not a mood, whereas happy is a mood. Real depression can be caused from genetics, hormones, a symptom of an imbalance due to another medical condition, as well as many other possible factors.
All in all, in my opinion, and based on my experiences, a person cannot choose to be happy, like they can choose their favorite color. They can, however, project and demonstrate happiness. People can choose to be positive with their choices and their viewpoints. I mean after
all, if it was that easy, wouldn't everyone "Choose Happy" if they could?