I came across this phrase while reading an article about coming to terms with “the new you” after the diagnosis of disease or the inevitable loss of function brought on by aging. But before going further, a caveat: Happiness is such a vapid word, I will heretofore use joy (also not so great but better) in its place.
Certainly, in my life, there is the pre-cancer me and the post cancer me. For the record, the post cancer me is a better person more able to find joy in the moment, but that might be partly due to the fact that I am alive and currently cancer free.
This idea that “happiness is our responsibility” is somewhat maddeningly, yet also quite obviously, completely true. It’s not just that our capacity for joy must be intrinsic, we also must understand that joy and self worth are not dependent on “success” and confirmation from others. This is a little harder, at least for me.
The script you were taught as a child is almost impossible to rewrite. Notice I said “almost,” perhaps a better way to put it would be to say that you can never erase the script and start over, but you can significantly alter it.
And honestly, that’s good enough. It’s also a pretty big step towards taking responsibility for your capacity for experiencing joy.