The next week or so will bring most of us a higher-than-usual number of wishes for our “happiness”[…]
[…]Whereas the word happiness implies an end state, the result of causes and conditions over which we may have little control, cheerfulness is volitional, a deliberate decision to be good-spirited[…]
The value in distinguishing between “happy” and “cheerful” was underlined by the Tibetan meditation master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. . .He used to make a point of wishing people a “cheerful birthday” or a “cheerful new year”, emphasising that we can make a decision to connect and identify with our basic wellbeing . . . even when we are in the midst of suffering.
By making a conscious decision to be cheerful, including when we are in pain, we diminish our identification with unhappy circumstances and strengthen our confidence that we are not entirely at their mercy. This brings us choice – perhaps not over the circumstances themselves, but over how we relate to them [emphasis added]. If we choose to respond with cheerfulness, we not only stand a better chance of weathering the storm, but we are subtly strengthening our ability to deal constructively and positively with life’s inevitable insults.