The Pursuit of Happiness

hap·pi·ness
noun
1. the quality or state of being happy.
2. good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.

simple things

When I asked a group of women to answer the question “Happiness is….” 9 out of 10 answers related to their family… with loving and being loved, and creating thrown in also.

“Happiness is….. my children”
“Happiness is….. lying in bed listening to my little man snoring away, the wind blustering
outside and the husband is singing in the shower”
“Happiness is….. loving and being loved”
“Happiness is….. creating”
“Happiness is….. a snoozing baby that will wake up soon all smiles!”

So often, we’re told that we need this or that to be happy. The adverts proclaim if we buy the latest …. – then we’ll be happy. We collect and collect, fill our houses with material possessions in the hope that they will bring us happiness. In truth, happiness is in simplicity. It isn’t a possession, it can not be bought. Money and possessions do not guarantee happiness.

Instead, true happiness is found in the smile of a toddler, the sun warming our faces, the sounds of birds singing. In days spent with our loved ones, in moments of peace watching a baby sleep. When we learn to see and appreciate the beauty in the everyday, in the ordinary, then we find the real meaning of happiness.

In my own personal pursuit of happiness, I stopped buying things in the hope that they would bring me joy. I let go of the need to hold on to all of my material belongings. I de-cluttered, gave away 50% of what I owned. I stopped shopping to fill the void. I slowed down so that I could appreciate every smile from my kiddos, every kiss, every morning snuggle. I learnt to see and appreciate the beauty in an ordinary day.

If you asked me today what makes me happy, I’d answer – my kiddos, my love, the feel of the sun on my face, a Sunday afternoon crafting with my girls, a family hike, a cup of tea made for me, dancing to a record, a daisy picked just for me… simple pleasures truly are the best.

What can you do if you’re not happy? If you’re feeling lost, caught up in society’s definition of happy? Fake it. Seriously, after my last bout of depression, when I was trying to crawl back towards the light, I started to fake feeling happy. I’d make myself smile, there is research that suggests even a pretend smile can give your mood a boost. Practice smiling at yourself in the mirror – after a few minutes you’ll probably feel so silly that you’ll start giggling.

What are the particulars of happiness to you? What does it looks like? What it feels like? What are the little pleasures that make you happy? When you have identified your simple pleasures, you need to work them into the everyday. See them as needs not luxuries. If you love to drink your morning coffee outside, listening to the birds singing before the days madness begins, then do it. I can promise you that you will start the day off in a far better mood for it! Personally, one thing that makes me happy is fresh air and the sunshine on my face. While I can’t always guarantee the sunshine, I can ensure I get outside as often as I can, even just ten minutes in the garden can perk my mood up. Whatever your life, fit in as many of your simple pleasures each day as you can – it’s the first step to living a life that you love.

To me happiness equals family. I am blessed to spend my life surrounded by love.

These are some good starting points to help you find your happiness:

What makes you the happiest?
Do you have a ‘happy place’?
Describe a time when you were full of joy.
Is your happiness conditional?
Do you find happiness in the little things?
What are the three most important things that you need to be happy?

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3 Comments

  1. julie
    June 25, 2013 / 09:23

    Great Post. I was just thinking about this exact topic, and was wondering whether to do some de-cluttering. I now say to myself when I see something I want to purchase, will this make me happier? Then I look back at all the things that I have previously purchased and realised that, no, it doesn’t. Thanks Polly x

  2. June 25, 2013 / 18:15

    This is such a great post. I completely agree 100% about simple little things being the best sources of happiness.
    Some recent happiness’s of mine – the joy on my toddlers face when we go splash and stomp in puddles after the rain, the feeling I get when I’m happy with a portrait I’m drawing, and the huge board game night I just had with friends.

  3. June 25, 2013 / 22:25

    Thank you for sharing such an inspirational post with us, I agree you need to appreciate the smaller things in life to be truly happy.

    Lyndsay xx

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