I believe that for the most part, it is our choice whether we are happy or unhappy in life. I choose to be happy.
I say “for the most part” because there is no such thing as perfect 100% 24/7 happiness. But, we can achieve general happiness where we are on balance happy. Of course, bad things happen to everybody, but even some bad things can, in the end, bring us happiness. It just depends on how we choose to deal with our problems. Somebody once told me that problems are just opportunities for us, and how we choose to handle those opportunities determines the outcome and how such problems, er.. opportunities affect us in the long run. I believe that is true.
About 15 or more years ago, I decided that I wanted to live in the Philippines. I am American, and lived in the USA for most of my life. My wife, though, is from the Philippines. It took a few years after realizing that I wanted to move to the Philippines before we were able to do so. I was surprised, after moving to the Philippines, when I discovered that adjusting to life in the Philippines was a major adjustment. In many ways, I was not happy with my life in the Philippines. My wife wasn’t either. Basically, at this point of realization, we determined that we had a few choices:
- Move back to the States
- Continue to be unhappy with life
- Make changes in our lives that would make us happier
We chose to stay in the Philippines and make adjustments. We made changes in the way that we lived, in our outlook on life, to make our lives more happy.
After living in the Philippines for a while, we realized that although we had been seeking paradise by moving to the Philippines, there is no paradise on earth. No place is perfect, every place on earth has it’s own problems. The Philippines is no exception.
Yesterday, I was reading my news feed on Facebook. One of my friends, whom will remain nameless here, posted something on his Facebook wall, a very long rant about living in the Philippines. This fellow is also American, and has been living in the Philippines for 2 or 3 years now (I have been here 12+ years). This post had a lot of disappointment and dissatisfaction in it. It seemed, by what he wrote, that everything about living here was a negative. A few other expats who live in the Philippines followed up with comments that reinforced what my friend wrote, basically saying that living here is very bad, the local people are thieves, etc. I remember getting those feelings from time to time back in the days before I decided to be happy with my life instead of soaking in the sadness of the bad sides of life in the Philippines.
The thing is, once I decided to be happy, I chose to overlook, or ignore those things that bothered me about living here. I chose to concentrate more on the things that made me happy about life here. I decided that instead of just feeling negative about the things that were bad here, it would be better to try to understand those things better.
I think that sometimes, we Americans (maybe other nationalities too) think that the way that we choose to do things is the best. The way that they do many things here is very counter intuitive to the way we are used to seeing things done. Instead of thinking that they way it is done here is “stupid,” a common thought among foreigners living here, I chose to try to understand that the way they do things here is different, not necessarily better or worse. My friend who posted that message on Facebook is just getting to the point in his life here that he will need to confront that same issue. He needs to understand that things are different here, not better, not worse, not stupid, just different. If we chose not to understand or like the way things are done, why live here at all if we are not happy.
Being happy is a choice. If you are unhappy, it is best to chose to make changes in your life that will bring you happiness, rather than just feel bad about being unhappy in your life.
If you choose to be happy, does that mean you never have a bad day? Come on.. get real! You will always have bad days. That does not change. The change is in how you deal with those bad days. Maybe if you choose the proper ways to deal with bad things, you can bring improvement through bad events. Maybe you can learn how to deal with such an event next time it will happen. Learning is good. Happiness is good. Wallowing in your trouble is not good, in fact, it will only multiply your unhappiness.
Good luck to you, my friend. I hope that you will find a way to enjoy life in the Philippines more, or move on to a different place that fits you better. Be happy… you deserve it.