“If you want to be happy, be.”

It seems logical, doesn’t it?

It’s easy to assume that as humans, the right to be happy is plainly our prerogative. Conceptually, the assumption is sound. Legally, we’re granted the pursuit of happiness as an unalienable right, so why not embrace positivity, emitting kindness and brightness and genuine optimism? We are all in relative control of our emotions, thoughts, and actions, right? That’s just it. It’s the key word that separates plausible and possible and probable—“relatively.” Working 8 hours a day, often 6 days in a row, I find my hunger for happy swept away by the vehement pulls of other people. It is their emotions, thoughts, and actions that have the power to sway how I feel. Regardless of whether it is subtle annoyances—a rude customer, screaming baby, or messy toddler tearing through the swim suit racks in which I had just meticulously, methodically organized by style and color—or bigger frustrations like a pounding headache and an overflowing to-do list, I can’t help but be affected.

This got me thinking—is there a way that I can genuinely be unaffected by extrinsic factors? Is there a way, without seeming naïve or pretentious, that I can live in my own sweet little world? After 2 vital days of recovery, it’s back to work tomorrow. The unique thing about working retail is the distinctive difference in hours as opposed to an archetypal desk job; I work most days of the standard workweek, and am always required to work weekends. While in my mind I am yet to wrestle this obviously unpleasant little difference into something more positive and advantageous, I deem this the perfect week to be more aggressive in my duel against negativity. As much as I want to credit my sometimes-sour thoughts and acrimonious façade to extrinsic factors, frequently the bitterness dwells in my own heart.

So consequently, that’s the challenge this week. I plan to strive—fight if I must—to be happy. It’s easy to read quotes (“life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”) and be instantly inspired and fired up on a newfound outlook on life. This kind of inspiration and motivation is fleeting. My goal is to wholeheartedly put this kind of “power of reaction” into practice, and see what stems from it.

Here goes-