There’s a wise saying that goes something like, you teach what you most need to learn. In this instance I wasn’t teaching but sharing a practice my friend and I learned almost twenty-five years ago: happiness is a choice. My friend was stuck in a negative loop with her family wanting them to be happy but choosing to be unhappy because they were.  We sat together for several hours and reminded ourselves of the basics of what we knew but had forgotten to practice:

Be the change you want to see.
If you want happiness in your life be happy.

Be happy first.
Not once you get something or somewhere—circumstances and others do not create happiness—we choose to be happy.

Don’t take another’s unhappiness or judgments personally.
It’s not all about YOU. Let the unhappy person own their own unhappiness don’t accept responsibility for it.

Happiness is empowering and clarifying.
You can see exactly where you want to go and what actions will take you there.

Happiness works with the law of attraction
The energy you expend is what will be reflected back to you—positive or negative it’s your choice.

Change your thoughts, change your life
That statement may seem Pollyannaish but in my experience it is absolute truth. When I change the way I look at things, the things I look at change (Wayne Dyer).

My friend doubted she could choose happiness in the maelstrom of unhappiness she was engulfed in.  As she shared her fears I was reminded that it’s our humanness to cling to our beliefs: it’s hard to be happy, or to blame someone else, or to react instead of respond. As humans we get invested in being right instead of loving. Choosing happiness is choosing love—for yourself and everyone else involved.  Ghandi’s wise words could not be more empowering: Be the change you want to see.

A note to my deeply loved friend: you are the happiest person I know, the way you live your life inspires me to live my best life, thank you for your trust, thank you for re-minding me of the basics, I needed to hear these wise words again and re-live the lesson I lived over and over with mom and am still living—give up being right and be loving. Many wise souls have summed up their wisdom in a few basic words: Love is the answer. Love is the key.  Love in action. The greatest of these is love.  You always remind me that love always wins so I’ll re-mind you— love always wins. All ways.