Misery is a choice…just as happiness is a choice.

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”
- Wayne Dyner

I am currently in an open relationship with a quirky design nerd who expands my world, believes in me, stuffs me with his amazing cooking, and makes me smile. Open? Yes. Open. We have the option to share ourselves intimately with multiple partners at the same time.

Just the other day, he told me he went on a date with an uber smart law student with whom he shared a wonderfully esoteric conversation about the world of environmental law. This was a shock to me as it was the first time he has dated anyone outside of our relationship and there was no former mention of her.

I was immediately overcome with jealousy, fear and feeling of inadequacy. I mindlessly fabricated a flawless, beautiful, smart, witty woman excelling at everything she attempted. I filled myself with every reoccurring insecurities: “Oh my god, she’s so much better than me…I’m not good enough…I’m not smart enough…I’m completely inadequate…He’s going to fall for her and leave me.”


After a day of mental digestion and a morning chit chat with the Mr., I came to realize I have a choice:

  1. Be jealous of her…someone who I know nothing about…just what my insecurities fabricated in my mind.
  2. Be fearful of the unforeseen future that he may (or may not) like her more, spend more time with her and eventually dub me “undesirable” and leave me in the dust.
  3. Compare myself to the completely fabricated, perfect “her” and make myself feel utterly pathetic and inadequate.
  4. Be really happy for him that he was able to meet someone who fulfills a need in a way that I don’t.
  5. Be in the present moment and enjoy the shit out of the relationship we share now.

Just as I could have chosen jealousy, fear, inadequacy and overall misery, I just as easily chose happiness and went with #4 and #5.

I realized the consequence of me choosing #1-3, and behaving out of those feelings, was so undesirable. We would have gotten the insecure, self pitying, fearful, resentful Akiko. Instead, through choices #4-5, we get the confident, vibrant, loving Akiko. And who wouldn’t want that? ;)

This was originally difficult for me to swallow but has proven to be a really pivotal experience where I practiced, 1) living in the moment and 2) choosing, not out of fear but out of authentic desire. It’s not easy — I’m sure I will feel jealous, fearful and inadequate at some point again but knowing that is a choice is empowering and a relief.


(Speaking of inadequacy and vulnerability, Brene Brown‘s talk on TED and interview with Smart People is worth a listen!)

4 Responses to “Misery is a choice…just as happiness is a choice.”

  1. Andrew B. says:

    I freaking love this post.

  2. Kimberly says:

    What a great blog

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