I’m Only As Happy As I Decide To Be?

Happy Girl

“People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot the last two days. And I wonder: Do you agree with it?

I go back and forth with it. I agree because we always have choices about how we feel and act in any situation. So, if you’ve made up your mind to be happy (or unhappy for that matter) you’re much more likely to have that result.

However, I disagree because I have these voices in my head that tell me I’m not good enough and that no one really wants to hear what I have to say. These voices pop up regardless of me deciding to be happy. And they can be really hard to shut up!

Like I said, we get to choose how we feel and act in each situation we are in. For me, part of that choice is recognizing when those voices pop up and deciding if I’m going to listen to them or not. And I run into problems when I don’t recognize the voices for what they are and listen to them.

Those voices have appeared a lot for me this week. And I retreated into myself quite a bit, because that’s more comfortable than putting myself out there. Today I recognized it for what it was and noticed one big change from how I would have reacted last year or even a few months ago. I started to beat myself up over it and then realized beating myself up over it only makes me feel worse and doesn’t move me forward. So, I recognized what was happening, forgave myself, and then moved on with my day.

I’m committed to being happy, but it doesn’t always come easy. And that’s my problem with the quote. It makes it seem so cut and dry, but we do have to start somewhere and a decision to be happier is a good place to start.

Tell me what you think. Do you agree or disagree with the Abraham Lincoln quote?

Photo credit: happy jumping girl by River Beach via flickr

12 thoughts on “I’m Only As Happy As I Decide To Be?

  1. I totally agree and here’s why: We always have a choice. About everything. And that includes our attitudes. Sometimes it’s not easy but with affirmations and a conscious awareness that we WANT to change our thoughts, it’s possible. Nice post!

  2. I happen to disagree. While I DO believe that our mind plays a powerful role in our happiness, there are just some situations in which I do not have as much control as I would like. Sure, I can decide that I am not going to be unhappy about gaining a few pounds or about the aging process. However, there are other things that MY mind does not control. Maybe others have more control but my mind doesn’t. For instance, there have been times after the deaths of loved ones that no matter now hard I tried and how hard I worked to get my brain to think positively, I just could NOT decide to be happy. I believe that sometimes the body’s decisions override the mind’s.

    1. I hadn’t thought of that Lauren, thanks for pointing it out. There are times where trying to be happy just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes it’s in our best interests to feel the pain.

  3. Hi Evie,

    You can experience happiness even in the midst of a loss. Remembering happy times, rejoicing in the beauty of nature, and experiencing joy with those around you can be experienced when you are grieving or heavily stressed. It’s a choice you make on how deep and how long you experience something. You are right on. It is a decision. Great post!


  4. Hi Evie,

    Happiness is always a choice. In any situation we always have to look for the positive side. Even when a loved one dies and we feel down. It is ok to feel other emotions, but don’t let them get you stuck in depression. If a loved one dies, like Sherrie says, look at the positive. Would you rather feel the lose of that person or would you rather never have known them?

    When you are happy in life your attitude is on the positive side, because you see opportunity for failure or fear. And you aren’t hung up on all the material things in life, you are hung up on people and loving, etc.
    Yes, I do believe happiness is choice and life can be a wonderful journey with the right attitude and gratitude thrown in.
    Thanks Evie for this post, your doing wonderful and blessing to you,

  5. I agree with you Evie, on the surface it does seem a bit too simple. But until I saw this quote and others like it, I was a slave to my feelings and emotions. You’re right, it’s not always easy but I practise it everyday and everyday and find it gets that little bit easier.

  6. I so agree with it. We have to understand that what we want isn’t out there. As long as your happiness depends on other people or conditions you will never be happy. If you are waiting for “someday,” when “x” happens and then you’ll be happy, you are actually waiting to die because “x” is never going to happen. Like attracts like, and you cannot attract the energy of what will make you happy if your energy is not in accord with it.


  7. Thanks, Evie Burk for this beautiful article. This is really great & helpful. I read it & really appreciate your writing skills & thoughts. This is really great & helpful. Well done.

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