Too often, we look at happiness as an end result. We view it as a commodity, something that can be given to us, or that we can take, or buy, or achieve through hard work. Many of us, consciously or unconsciously, consider it something we’re entitled to, and feel put-upon when we don’t get it. We think, “If I only had ______, I’d be happy.” We may work insanely hard to get “______.” We may simply mope and moan that we don’t have “______.”  But somehow, we never seem to be quite…happy.

Viewing happiness as an end result sets us up for an endless cycle of disappointment and dissatisfaction. Happiness isn’t an end goal—it’s a state of being. It isn’t a tangible asset that we can touch and taste and hold, it’s a mindset. It doesn’t require anything special, and it makes no difference at all whether we do or don’t have “_____.” Things, people, and relationships don’t provide it to us; it’s a gift we give ourselves.

It means looking for the bright spot in the dark, and the brighter spot in the day. No matter how dire the situation, there is always, always something to be grateful for. Being happy means finding that something, no matter how small it may be, and holding onto it. Happiness is a conscious choice, a matter of changing our perspective on the world. At any given moment on any given day, in each and every situation, we have two choices: be happy, or be unhappy. Choose happiness.