Sometimes you just have to make the decision to be happy

In my year-long quest to see all of the movies nominated for Oscars from last year, I finally picked up Away From Her, with Julie Christie in an absolutely brilliant performance as a woman literally melting away from her life as the linkages in her brain come apart — while her husband, Grant, struggles with the fact that the woman he loves so deeply… no longer remembers him.
Trailer for Away From Her on YouTube
When Grant can no longer handle it by himself, he reaches out to the wife of another Alzheimer’s patient, seeking desperately to ‘fix’ what is happening.  While Grant is alternately sad and angry, Marian (played by the always-fabulous Olympia Dukakis) has a different perspective.  During one scene she and Grant get philosophical.
Marian: “I’m thinking that sometimes you just have to make the decision to be happy.  Just decide.  Things aren’t ever what you hoped they be; not ever; for anybody.  The only thing that separates one kind of person from another is that there are some who stay angry about it and there are some who accept what comes their way.”
Grant: “what kind of person are you?”
Marian: “I was pretty mad about it.  But now — looking at what came my way — I could be the other kind of person!”
And that’s what I’m often talking about — choosing to be that other kind of person.  There’s nothing wrong with anger.  Anger and frustration and sadness are all very real and should be honored and felt deeply.  If we remain too long in those emotions, however, they eventually start to eat away at us and prevent us from noticing that good stuff still occurs in our life.
So, at some point, you just have to decide, “I’m going to give myself permission to experience happiness.  Right now.”
You say that’s not who you are?  That you’ve always been the angry one?  Well, Olympia Dukakis has another great line in the movie: “It’s never too late to become who you might have been.”
You can start today.  Just decide.

Read more articles like this one in: Happiness

Comments 1

  1. Great reminder of how making intentional choices can have an incredible impact on how we feel and how we see the world around us. Happiness is no accident! Thanks Jim!

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