The happiest people I know have not had the easiest lives. In fact many of the most positive, encouraging, caring and compassionate people I know - the people that I consider my 'ambassadors of #PMA' (Positive Mental Attitude) have had to deal with terrible tragedies; grief, loss, trauma and abuse of many kinds.
But in spite of those things they choose a life that's worth living, they choose to play their role in making the world a better place, and they choose to help prevent the things that have happened to them happen to others. In short they choose happiness.
In practice I have had several patients say something along the lines of: "But Cliff - you just wouldn't understand...you're obviously just a naturally happy guy!"
And in one respect they are right. Happiness IS my nature...but it's y nature by intention and practice, not by accident or coincidence.
It's something I have chosen to become my reality at some of the darkest moments of my life. Those moments are not for the recounting now, and they may never be in entirety; for they are moments of the past that were difficult, heart breaking, traumatic and trying, but they are my moments nonetheless - moments that have made me more caring, considerate, considered and compassionate.
Seeing the light in the darkness is not always easy, but making the decision to flip the switch is. We can choose to live instead of merely being alive. We can choose happiness.
When you see a smile on someone's face, don't assume that they have had life easier than you, for we know not what someone's been through.
A smile isn't just something that happens to us, but is a beautiful challenge in the face of life's adversity that we can, that we will, that we ARE living a life of passion, love and purpose.