May 24, 2007

The Choice to Be Happy

By Kari Diane Pike

A number of months ago, I made a conscious decision to tell people "I am happy." Whenever someone asks how I am, I always try to respond with, “I’m happy!” That decision came from one of those wonderful “Aha” moments that left me with an intense desire to share joy and happiness with everyone around me. I feel a renewal of energy and I have discovered that on those challenging days when I feel discouraged, just the act of saying “I’m happy!” lifts my spirits and opens my eyes to the positive things in life.

I'm continually amazed by the reactions I get to the simple statement, “I am happy!” The most common reaction is “You’re happy? Wow! No one ever tells me they’re happy.” Sometimes I’m questioned with “Happy? Why are you happy?” Once in awhile the other person will stop and look at me and say, “You know, I’m happy, too!”

One day last week, a phone call interrupted my morning session at the computer. A cheerful, feminine voice said,

“Hello, my name is Rhonda and I’m with (fill in the blank) Heating and air Conditioning Company. How are you today?”

Being in a particularly cheerful mood myself, I replied, “I’m happy! Thank you!”

There was a moment of complete silence before Rhonda said, “Oh, so you’ve already had a tune-up. Okay, sorry to have bothered you.”

The first thought to rush into my mind was “How did you know?” Just as I started to ask her if she would like the name of my therapist, I realized she was referring to my home cooling system and not my head. Instead, I told her it was no bother and hung up the phone. Then I laughed right out loud! (If only I had known it could be that easy to get rid of a phone solicitor!)

This past weekend I helped with a funeral, assisted in a birth, attended a temple wedding, (and took charge of all the food at the reception) and witnessed our 16-year-old son receive his patriarchal blessing (a truly humbling experience). I am grateful that despite being physically exhausted, I was able to savor each experience and learn from them, simply because I am happy!


  1. Yes, it's amazing how happy we can be once we label ourselves as such.

    Kari, I was surprised and delighted with your blog. I thought I was the only one who responds with, "I'm happy." I get about the same reactions, but I don't recall answering telemarketers that way. I laughed out loud at your report. Thanks for brightening my already happy day.

    I'm afraid I can't resist trying to teach, however. I usually add, "It's a choice, you know." Or "I tried the other way and it's no fun."

    Another happiness-producer is paying compliments. They bounce right back, and getting them is fun, too, especially when we think they possibly might be sincere.

    I'm amazed at the lift I get from each response to my writing efforts, and imagine all 'bloggers' feel the same. Thank you and all the half a dozen or so others who have taken the time and efffort to post comments on ANWA blogs. I think a lot more read, agree, and hesitate to duplicate. Or, like me, there's just enough time to read, but no time to post.

    Keep being happy. I't's worth it.

  2. Funny you would post this now. I recently had a late afternoon conversation with some of my co-workers and I mentioned that I had an idyllic childhood. They were stunned. Everyone went silent. Then one of them said no one has ever told me that. My turn to be shocked and stunned. It made me happy to honor my parents that way. A hard thing to do when they later divorced. You can't always honor the childhood "they" gave you under those circumstances. I'm going to try the I'm happy thing as well. Because overall and upon reflection, I am.

  3. Hmmmm...I wonder what would happen if over the period of two weeks everyone who reads this were to make it a point to respond with "I'm happy" every time they are asked how they are.
    My experience was that it became a that brings wonderful surprises...not to mention opportunities to share where that happiness comes from...just like Anna said.
    Good for you Terri! When did it become so unpopular to "be happy?" I know a couple of young women who were frequently snubbed because they were "too happy" all the time. It's almost as though "being happy" has become politically incorrect! (A term I am personally very tired of hearing.)I have had some people tell me they even feel guilty for being happy...because everyone else seems so miserable...

    I think that if we were to focus more on being happy and less on all our troubles...we would discover things about ourselves we never thought possible. Of course, it is important to recognize what being happy really means!
    I love being Happy!

  4. I did this on Sunday, and got some funny looks, plus one woman who said, "I always say I'm ornery as ever."

    LOL! I plan to keep it up.

  5. Good for you, Marsha! I would love to hear about everyone else's experiences with telling people they are happy. We have the fullness of the gospel in our lives and even though we have challenges set before us, being happy is a choice we can make because we know who we are, why we are here and where we are going. We know that because of the Atonement, everything is going to be matter what happens!

  6. You know how they say that women who live together, usually cycle together. Well I feel like our little writing group cycles together quite a bit. I haven't had time to read many blogs lately, but I just posted tonight and then scrolled down to read some blogs. Your blog, not surprisingly, takes what I've been feeling into an outward expression. I'll have to get out of the internal and express myself with "I'm happy!" I love it! Thanks, Kari, once again for showing me the way.


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