As I’ve mentioned previously, in this year of ‘self-improvement’ I hope to also find happiness.
‘Happiness’ is a concept I’ve struggled with for quite some time now. Years probably. In all honesty, it doesn’t come easily to me. I have moments where I’m ‘happy’ but I feel happiness is something more than moments – I’m looking for contentment and sustained joy in the life I am living.
Life seems to be so busy for everyone that it focussing on your own emotional needs can often be put on the back-burner. And when you have many roles to fulfil in life – wife, mother, daughter, employee, housekeeper, friend, relative, counsellor …. it’s not surprising that your own happiness becomes less of a priority.
And this is very much the case for me. I have tried to find (what have ended up being short term) solutions to creating a happy life, but to be honest, all that has left me is a) in debt b) having too much ‘stuff’ c) drinking too much wine and d) becoming overweight.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a fantastic husband and two gorgeously brilliant and talented children, who all bring joy to my life, however, a piece of the happiness puzzle is still missing.
Today I watched a brilliant TED talk by Kristi Ling and her opening statements resonated deeply with my own experiences. Not only did she start in the same place as I am now, but the way she moved forward made me realise the decisions I’m taking are the right ones.
As Kristi says, Happiness is an active pursuit – you don’t just ‘find happiness‘. You have to be the change and make conscious decisions about how you are going to make yourself happy.
We see these statements bandied around Pinterest and Facebook all the time don’t we. Things like “be the change you want to be” and “stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right”. And the statements in themselves are right – be active about the situation and it will bring about change – which could lead to happiness.
So my ‘active’ pursuits to happiness include:
- taking an art class to unleash my creativity without guilt
- exercising more to improve my shape and clear my head
- joined Weight Watchers to shift the extra weight gained over the last few years and see myself in a more positive way
The long term goal of peace and continued contentment, I hope, will follow.
Finally (for this post!) we learn from our children don’t we? Between starting and finishing this post, my Daughter had her own levels of happiness tested at a coaching session. Having been deeply unsatisfied with her training over the last few weeks, tonight it finally got to her and she simply couldn’t do it. My normal response to such a situation would be to usher her back out on court and tell her to get on with it. But seeing as I’m investing so much time in the pursuit of my own happiness, how could I impose this level of unhappiness on my own child?
I’m sure I will have more to say on this subject, but I think maybe this will do for now!
“I’m choosing happiness, over suffering. I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’