• paul of Others

    Among the popular motivational quotes online, one of the most cited quotes is “Happiness is a choice.” But, is it really? Several happiness gurus and psychologists believe that happiness can be achieved with good practices. However, some people with mental illnesses contest that happiness is a choice that they don’t have.

    Let us present the two sides of this controversial statement.

    Happiness is movement
    While genetics and attitude affect happiness, you won’t be able to feel happy if you don’t choose to. This is the belief that happiness gurus and psychologists hold onto. They believe that each individual is offered with options that can lead them to happiness. The only thing that an individual must is to choose the options correctly.

    To choose these options, a person must make move towards it. According to Shawn Anchor, author of The Happiness Anchor, a movement is an essential element of happiness. He believes that the right mentality and fortitude is necessary to experience a prolonged state of happiness.

    For this reason, an individual must devote their time to achieve this mental state. They can achieve this by practicing positive acts like writing a gratitude journal or complimenting another person. By turning these practices into habits, an individual can focus their mind on positive and rewarding things. And, as a result, they become happy.

     But what if a person failed to be happy? Well, if a person is unhappy right now, they can always change it. For example, a person is unhappy with the career that they have chosen. To become happy, they have the option to shift into a career that they feel most comfortable with.

    The only time that a person becomes permanently unhappy is if they become apathetic. Apathy means a deliberate lack of movement. If a person doesn’t pursue things that make them happy, then it is impossible for them to feel happiness. For this reason, Shawn Anchor reminds us to steer away from apathy and focus on our movement.

    Happiness is an unoffered experience 
    Katie D. from The Mighty, on the other hand, offers an unpopular opinion. For her, happiness is not a choice.

    Choosing happiness isn’t simple, especially for people with mental illnesses. Katie believes that this quote implies that her mental illness is a choice; therefore, she has the option to be healthy. In reality, mental illness is a complex medical issue that involves several internal and external factors. Choosing to “will away” the mental illness is practically impossible.

    Furthermore, she asserts that this phrase often comes with a small disclaimer. She has heard people saying that happiness is a choice before clarifying that it doesn’t apply to people with mental illnesses. If people need to clarify a quote that is intended to stand alone, then it needs to be better stated.

    Katie D. offers another opinion. What if it's okay to feel unhappy? She believes that other emotions aren’t inherently bad and that they’re part of being human. For her, people should have the right to feel other emotions without being judged.



    Contributed by: Allison Julianne Macasaet, a freelance writer on the side, a student of international relations on the other. Interests include fantasy books, international relations, and lifestyle.