I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the choices we make as adults and how much they differ from the way children make choices. If a child is in a situation that doesn’t make them happy, they change it. They try and find a way out and they change it. But as adults we seem to struggle with that.
I was reading about Caitlyn Jenner (previously known as Bruce Jenner) and the choice he made to become a she and the struggle she went through. She’s come out the other side now and is so much happier. But why was it so difficult to do something that would make her so happy?
I watched two Indian movies this week which were both very powerful in their own way (but of course with all the melodrama of a typical Bollywood movie). Dil Dhadakne Do and Hamari Adhuri Kahani. DDD is about an affluent dysfunctional Panjabi family who invite all their friends on a cruise for their 30th wedding anniversary. The couple “celebrating” their anniversary have a tainted marriage, the daughter who has built a highly successful business is in a very unhappy marriage and the son doesn’t think he’s good enough to take over his father’s company and is trying to find his place in the world. While it was hilarious and had us all laughing out loud, there were a lot of important underlying points. Even in today’s day and age, divorce is still such a taboo subject in our community. Parents worry so much about what people will say that they often
force co-erce their children into getting married or staying in an unhappy marriage. Priyanka Chopra who plays Ayesha, the daughter, can build a highly successful travel business that ranks No.2 in India but struggles to make her voice heard.
The second movie HAK is important for different reasons. It’s a story of Vasudha (Vidya Balan) who’s values around marriage are so deeply embedded in her being that she allows her husband to claim possession over her, even when she is deeply unhappy.
As with most Bollywood movies, realisation dawns around the 2hr 15min mark and then you see the change. I’m so glad that Bollywood is starting to produce movies that will hopefully open up the mind’s of many Indian people. When I chose to leave an unhappy situation, many people called me brave and courageous and in some ways I agree, it was one of the bravest choices I’ve ever had to make but I do often wonder why I need to be brave to be happy? Surely being happy should be our natural stance? So what makes us all, for the most part, stick with the status quo?
I often see memes that say things like “Happiness comes from being grateful for what you have” and while that’s true, sometimes you can still be grateful but not happy with the situation. And not being happy doesn’t mean we’re ungrateful, it just means we need to change our situation.
All the world’s most successful people got to where they are because they refused to accept less than they believed they were worth. And I’m not just talking monetary terms. It could be Sir Edmund Hillary who never gave up until he got to the top of Everest. It could be Christina Noble who wouldn’t give up until she got what she wanted for the street kids in Vietnam and Mongolia. They got to where they wanted to be by making choices to do things that brought them joy and gave their lives value.
Children choose happiness all the time! When did we start forgetting to do that? When did we become so afraid of being judged? And ridiculed? What’s more important than being happy?