March 20th is the vernal equinox, the first day of spring. It is also International Day of Happiness. Aside from being a Twitter hashtag and internet meme, International Day of Happiness was founded by United Nations adviser Jayme Illien and is United Nations Resolution 66/281 unanimously adopted on June 28, 2012 by all 193 member nations of the UN General Assembly. The Resolution explicitly states that happiness is a universal human right and goal. The official Resolution can be read (and downloaded) here, along with additional happiness resources provided by the UN.
UN efforts notwithstanding, being happy requires simply one thing: deciding to be so. Either you want to be happy or you don’t. It’s really that simple. But we like to set caveats for being happy, such as “I’ll be happy if I’m rich,” or “I’ll be happy if I find true love,” or “I’ll be happy if I find my dream job.” In other words, we don’t let ourselves be unconditionally happy. We tend to qualify happiness with a set of conditions that unless are met we couldn’t be happy. Yet, any condition we create will only limit our happiness.
The truth is that somethings will inevitably happen in life to challenge us. There are more things out of our control than things we could control. Deciding to be unconditionally happy is saying that no matter what happens and no matter the circumstances, I choose happiness. Consider this: we are born, then we die. During the time in between, we are sitting on a planet floating in empty space in a ever-expanding universe. And we are here for a very short time. The only real choice we have is either to be happy or to be bothered by life’s events. International Day of Happiness is a reminder that happiness is really a choice.