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I have been happy lately. Ridiculously, wonderfully, immeasurably happy. There are multiple reasons for this (which will be shared at a later date), but for now, let’s just say that I’m so happy, I’m dressing better. I’m doing my makeup. I’m doing my hair. (Does anyone else do this? Find yourself primping more when you’re in a good mood?)

I spoke with a friend last night who is decidedly unhappy, for a variety of personal reasons. Today on her Facebook page, she asked for some positive thoughts. So I did a search for happiness quotes on Goodreads and shared with her,

“Happiness is a warm puppy.” ~ Charles M. Schulz

In reading through the Goodreads quotes, I was struck by how much of happiness — at least in quoteland — is dependent on risk-taking. On accepting the bad as well as the good. On being open to whatever life hands you, not just the happy stuff.

Which I find very, very true. A few weeks ago, someone asked me what the best advice I ever got was. I thought for a while and said, it wasn’t advice that could be summed up in a neat little quote, like Schulz’ warm puppy, but an example-by-doing.

When I was in fifth grade, my dad accepted an out-of-state job, because it was the best thing for him and for the family. So we picked up and moved away from all extended family, two states away. When it came time to go to college, neither of my parents pushed one of the universities that was just around the corner — because they knew none of those schools was the best option for me.

My dad moved to this country when he was 13. His parents put him on a plane, and he left Iran, Chicago-bound, where an aunt and an uncle awaited him, and much, much better opportunities than his home-country could offer.

Moving for the betterment of oneself is just a given in my family. It’s what we do. And by that example, I learned that when something in my life makes me unhappy, I need to do anything I can to change that.

And that means being open to change and to risk. It means putting yourself out there, and failing, and being OK with it.

“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.” ~ Jonathan Safran Foer

“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk, “Invisible Monsters”

“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” ~ Bertrand Russell, “The Conquest of Happiness”

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ~ Abraham Lincoln