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What Are Love and Happiness? They Are Choices

Updated on October 10, 2008


"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

- Abraham Lincoln


"When you look at love, you're looking into the face of appreciation."

- Unknown

Two of the most important things in every person's life are love and happiness, which are choices. But few people see them that way. Most of us think that when you "fall in love", you are subject to the whims of your heart, cupid or whatever gives you those butterflies. We also think that happiness is an elusive thing that only a handful of people get to experience.

Oh, so wrong.

Love is thought of as a thing; something you fall into unexpectedly, like an open manhole or a large puddle or any another thing you'd fall into unexpectedly. It's true that you get butterflies when you're around the person you like. THAT'S ANXIETY, NOT A SYMPTOM OF LOVE.

Happiness is just as much of a choice as deciding what color socks you're going to wear on any given day. True, deciding to be happy may be a little more difficult to hash out, but they're both choices nonetheless.

Love isn't really a feeling. There are feelings that are associated with love, but it's not the whole of love. Those feelings are just called caring. Love is the decision to act on those feelings. Love is a verb. Love is a series of actions that show a person you care. Your heart may feel funny things, but your brain is saying, "Let's show this person how much I care by doing things for them."

There's supposedly not much of a difference between happiness and contentment. People often use the terms interchangeably. However, contentment seems to have a negative connotation. People say, "I'm content, but I'm not necessarily happy. "Which is the greater state?

If you look at the characteristics of love; then you know, love is patient, love is kind and you will notice all these are actions. They require effort and outward signs. Love never fails, just because you choose success or failure by how you show love. When most people say they've "fallen out of love," they're tired of making the effort to show it. Love becomes too difficult or too routine, or they didn't really want to make an effort in the first place. A lot of people get hurt by reckless loving.

Happiness is something people seem to strive for. It's thought of as a goal. On the other hand,contentment is choosing needs over wants. Kind of like "just one more thing and I could be happy." Then once they get that one more thing, whether it's money, a car, a boyfriend/ girlfriend, or a baby. There is usually a new "one more thing" that separates them from happiness. Happiness appears to be chasing wants rather than needs, which is why it never ends. There's only so much one does really need, but one can always find something new to want.

People that are satisfied by far smaller achievements and gains live day-to-day knowing they're just where they ought to be. Should some small favor come their way, they're happy for it, but it doesn't define their happiness. That is called contentment.

So, why isn't contentment the end goal? Perhaps it is because contentment requires a certain amount of humility that not everyone is willing to submit too. Contentment isn't having everything you want and more, which is what we prescribe to call happiness. Wouldn't we enjoy our lives so much more if contentment was our goal?

Admittedly, everyone does falls victim to the want cycle at one time or another, but you can be happy right now. You can be content right now. Happiness isn't a goal. Happiness should be a constant feeling based on your willingness to enjoy the world around you. Truthfully, you can choose to be unhappy because you don't have what you want, but you can choose to be happy because you have what you need. Now that you know that happiness is a choice; who would choose to be unhappy? Sadly, many of us have made that choice.

So, now you know, love and happiness are choices and now you can make much better decisions related to both. Niether one of these are an easy choice at any time, but they are up to you to choose. Isn't it nice to know that you can save your heart from some unnecessary stress and anguish just by changing your mind.

Al Green "Love & Happiness" -Live-


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    PJW5552 6 years ago

    Sorry, this is total BS and I'll prove it. Love does not require action. Love is an emotional feeling. I feel deeply in love with a girl in High School. I didn't tell her I was in love with her, but I felt love like walking in the air. Love, like being in heaven and seeing the whole world differently. Love is an emotional force with no equal on earth. Happiness derives from our connectedness to others, not from wants. While I was in love I was happier than I have ever been in my life. I wasn't wanting anything -- I had it. Happiness is an emotional state that can be affected by how we feel. Facilitating our emotional connectedness to others can facilitate our happiness, no question. Suggestion love requires an action is total BS and that happiness reflects wants is also totally bogus. Some people want lots of things thinking it will make them happy only to find out that isn't how true happiness is produced.

  • St.James profile image

    St.James 8 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    Mom had some good advice...and now you've passed it on to the world. I hope the world listens to the advice as well as you did.

  • miracles02 profile image

    miracles02 8 years ago from Canton, IL

    Once again...Wonderful hub! Mom always told me to "appreciate what you have" and "look for the miracles in everyday" I have never forgotten this advice! Everyday offer us simple pleasures if you only choose to see them..

  • St.James profile image

    St.James 9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    Thank you LinJingJing...I hope you made the right choice today

  • linjingjing profile image

    linjingjing 9 years ago

    What Are Love and Happiness They Are Choices

    This article is very helpful to me

  • St.James profile image

    St.James 9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    Good points, I did touch upon your same train of thought in another article called, "Happiness is not a BIG thing"

  • Bvision profile image

    Bvision 9 years ago from Colorado

    The key to happiness is in choosing to appreciate what you have in THIS MOMENT. So many times we get stuck in the past or we future trip, neither good for experiencing happiness in the now!! Great Post!!

  • Aya_Hajime profile image

    Aya_Hajime 9 years ago

    I agree with you. To be truly happy we must be in control of our passions, not the other way around. This can be very difficult to do.

    I also really like your comment Feline Prophet. Finding contentment in everyday things is difficult to achieve. I think it requires a lot of work. You must be the total opposite of lazy :)

  • profile image

    Feline Prophet 9 years ago

    Contentment sounds like such a more comfortable state to be in...I think I'd rather be content than try to chase an elusive happiness. But then that's just me I guess...lazy!