When Comrade asked me this question, I (sadly) found myself quite unprepared for an answer. I must have thought about this before, but I must have yet to come to a conclusion. After thinking for a while, I came up with something like “I would like to be remembered as someone who loves life and people unconditionally. Someone who can see the good in everyone and everything”, and left it there, saying that I’ll let her know if there’s any changes after more thought.
Well, I’ve thought about it further, and this is the change: I want to be remembered… as a Happy Person.
While I can see how that may come across as a self-centered goal, I would like to attempt to explain how I’m not thinking along those lines. I was thinking about how I want to be remembered as someone who chose to be happy no matter what happens. Being happy no matter what happens would encompass being able to see the good in everything and everyone. Being happy no matter what happens means having mindful awareness and exercising the will to be positive at all times. Being happy no matter what happens means believing that everything, especially seemingly negative things, happen for a reason. Choosing to be happy also means activating an automatic mechanism to want to help others and be kind to others, even if they have not been kind to you, because you can’t be happy if others are suffering. Choosing to be happy means partaking in selflessness, because your heart naturally expands when you’re happy and you’d be able to accept others for who they are instead of trying to change them and faulting them for hurting you. Choosing to be happy means finding the passion in what you do, even if it isn’t your first choice in life, and inspiring others around you in whatever way you can, even if you would rather be doing something else (link to accepting that everything happens for a reason).
While the ideal situation would be to live a life in which every moment is a continuous stream of conscious, natural and overflowing happiness, we know that it isn’t easy to be so. Some days, being happy takes more effort than others. Some situations make it feel almost impossible to be happy. Some people’s words, actions and company make us wonder what did we ever do to them, that they would want to hurt us like that. Then there are things like the ego, selfishness and self-pity that get in the way. So what we have are more of Moments of Happiness – quite far from a Life of Happiness.
But if I could expand my Moments, such that they increasingly form the bulk of my life, and let this determination to choose happiness be the underlying force in my choice of thoughts, actions and words, I might very well end up being remembered as a Happy Person.
And this life would not have been lived in vain after all 🙂