You wake up. You are in a grey prison cell.
You have been convicted of a terrible crime. You will either spend the rest of your life in this jail cell or suffer a more severe fate.
The bars to the room keep you contained for 23 hours a day. Your cell is 10 feet by 10 feet. There is little to do besides read a book.
A prison guard will walk by and look at you every hour for the rest of your life.
The other prisoners will make vulgar noises late into the night that keep you from sleeping. You will share a public toilet in full view of the other prisoners.
You’ll be subjected to full body inspections on a regular basis.
You will never hug any family members again. You will never be able to pursue your dreams. You will never hold your own child in your arms.
You will never eat good food again. You will never sit outside and watch the sun set or rise again in this life.
On more than one occasion you will be forced to fight other prisoners.
Every dark and terrible day will repeat itself as you spend every second of the rest of your life rotting in this cage.
Step away from this reality.
Look around the room you actually sit in.
Look at the colors. The doorways without bars. The door that isn’t locked. The privacy you enjoy. All those little boring things you’ve taken for granted.
Consider all the greater things: your free will, your health, your family and your freedom.
They are all yours.
And now — consider the dark reality just described.
And if that doesn’t work, consider darker realities.
Happiness is merely an exercise in appreciation for the things that we have.