Your happiness is your choice

In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Dr. Viktor Frankl writes “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”  Dr. Frankl wrote those words in 1945, after spending three years as a prisoner in Auschwitz and other concentration camps.  The book recounts many of Dr. Frankl’s experiences as a prisoner, and introduces his psychological theory called logotherapy, the primary tenant of which is that “man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life, and not a ‘secondary rationalization’ of instinctual drives.”  I’m not much on psychological theories, but his sure made a lot more sense to me than Freud’s babblings.

I’ve known since adolescence that my happiness is my own choice and responsibility, but since I read Dr. Frankl’s book (years ago), I take a much more active role in ensuring it.  My primary method is to look myself in the mirror every morning and say (quietly) “Today will be a good day,” or “I will be happy today.”  You’d be amazed at how effective that one exercise can be.  When things start to go sour and I start to become angry, I’ll often stop and think of Dr. Frankl’s words, and almost invariably decide that fueling the anger just isn’t worth the effort.  I may feel sadness, anger, or depression, but I choose to be happy nonetheless.