I've just seen an article entitled "if being happy is a choice, why are so many of us unhappy?".
There are many answers to this question and none of them are particularly clear cut.
But I think the main answer is this:
Because not all of us know it IS a choice.
This is pretty fundamental in my view.
and when I say know, I mean really know. Not just on an intellectual level. I mean know and understand and appreciate and assimilate and internalise. And believe.
And even just getting to that point can be incredibly hard work and take a lot of time.
It takes a huge shift in belief systems and thought processes to get to that point. It takes a lot to go from truly believing things are as they are in your life because of other people, because of circumstance, to believing that even in the face of those things you have the power to react differently.
It takes courage to be able to get to that point. Because in a way getting to that point means also admitting you previously had the choice to react differently, but didn't. It means considering the possibility that it's not everybody else's fault all of the time.
The thing about change, is that regardless of whether or not it's a change for the better or the worse, with it comes the loss of 'the before' All change is loss. All change is hard. People become wedded to the way they are even if they don't want to be that way. And this is a big one when it comes to change.
The best way to help somebody make the choice to be happy, is to help them realise they have that choice in the first place. Once they realise there is a choice, it is much harder to actively choose unhappiness.
But until that person really, truly, fully embraces the possibility that there is a choice, it's just not theirs to make.