I’ve been thinking …happiness

I’ve been thinking about happiness.

All the different ways we humans try to find it, strive for it, keep it, pretend about it and encourage it.

There is so much in social media about “how to be happy”, “do this to be happy”, “blah, blah, blah happy” – and some of it is worthwhile, a lot of it is irritating, and large part of it is just advertising for “the next big thing”, or indeed, the last “slightly-small-thing-that-has-been-rehashed” – and most of it is absolute rubbish!

Despite attempts by many people to improve social media with positive images and messages (which, actually, sometime have the complete opposite effect on me), I don’t think you’re going to usually find meaningful “happiness” on the internet.  If you have been one of the lucky ones to do so, I congratulate you.

So, I’ve been thinking about “being happy” – and what does that mean to other people?  I have a cousin who famously/infamously (well, within a small portion of my family anyway) said “I don’t do happy”; part of me admired that and part of me was appalled.  The expectations that we should present a happy facade, most of, if not all of, the time has always been a see-saw contradiction for me.

Let me tell you what I mean….

A while ago, well a few years ago actually, a new person started where I worked.  They came with an attitude of “happiness” – by this I mean that if you asked them how they were (as you tend to do with those you work with) you would get “extraordinary, fantastic, great” or similar descriptives.  They explained that they wanted to look at the world positively, to stop being as negative as they had been, and had decided to do it this way.

Ok, that sounded like a good idea, I thought, I might try that.

So I did, for a while.

For a while it made me happy, but then I started to feel deceitful, and became resentful of saying “I’m fine, things are great” when I really didn’t feel that way.  Was it wrong to tell the truth about how I was feeling?  Did I have to try and make other people feel happy by telling them what they would prefer to hear, rather than what I wanted to say?  Was my state of mind, my happiness (even when I wasn’t really happy), less important than theirs?

I came to the conclusion that, ironically, sometimes my happiness depends on me not pretending to be happy!  I don’t need to be the doom and gloom of the party, I don’t need to bore you with whatever is making me unhappy, but if you ask me “how are you?” on one of those days, you’re going to get a variable answer – depending on where you sit on my “closeness” scale.

I want to be positive, and I am practicing and becoming better at it, because being positive in thought and actions does have a good impact on your life.  Even when it isn’t completely true it can still have meaning to me, when I know that I am trying to reach a level of “feel good” but I just need a teeny bit of self-pretend motivation to get me past the bump on the path.

Being free to be true to myself, and speak truly about that, is the base of my happiness … and I won’t sacrifice that just to make someone else happy.

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44 thoughts on “I’ve been thinking …happiness

  1. So many very important thoughts here, Claudette. In the small hours last night I was listening to a guided meditation. I finally got an inkling that happiness/peace is about accepting what is without thinking about it, figuring it out or judging it. Understanding is of course one thing: putting this in practice another. But I think you are right – you have to be your true self.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Trish, I do think we overthink so many things – and isn’t it hard not to do that? Happiness can be elusive, and when you try to chase it too hard it wisps away like morning mist. Ignore it and it comes padding back like a kitten for cuddles 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed reading this and empathised with pretty much all of what you are pondering. For me, happiness is often elusive. I have learned to accept that I have personality that pre-disposes to sadness, restlessness and lack of content as much as it pre-disposes to being full of joie-de-vivre and energy and delight. I’m not bi-polar but like many I have both manic and depressive tendencies. Therefore sometimes I just can’t be happy. I no longer feel guilty about it, I go with it, flow with it and practice being authentic with myself. Oddly, this seems to give me more time on the happy than the sad side of the street … I no longer have that inner conflict, I suppose – I have given myself permission to just be me 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Osyth glad you enjoyed reading it. Your last sentence was exactly what I was trying to say – being yourself is the only way to true happiness, and we need to stop feeling guilty about it when we aren’t happy, or as happy as others want us to be. I am a natural “what does the other side of this look like – my late husband was an eternal optimist and I used to annoy him a bit by trying to prepare myself in case anything did go wrong. it wasn’t that I was expecting it, I just wanted to be prepared (so I could feel some control) if it didn’t go the way he thought it would.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I relate to this on so many levels! However I don’t think of myself as a negative person. If I can’t see good in a situation, I can usually find humor, and where there is neither, I choose acceptance and an opportunity for learning. In any case, I think I discovered that contentment is a more worthwhile goal for me than happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Humour is always a good way to go – life was meant to be funny, there are just too many absurd things in it not to be! I am learning to accept – it has been a bit of a theme for me for the last 16+ years since my husband got sick, and then died. I was happy once I learnt to just accept, and I try to remember that when things aren’t going the way I want them to – which leads to a small dot of happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmm. I wrote a great comment, but somehow it didn’t post. That doesn’t make me happy at all. 😉
    What I said — with a great deal more eloquence, I assure you — is that I’ve found contentment a better goal for me than happiness. And then there was other stuff about if I can’t pleasure in something, I can usually find humor, and lacking that, an opportunity for learning and growth.
    For instance, writing a great comment and finding it gone, teaches me I should probably copy the comment beforehand, just in case. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Doesn’t that suck, I’ve done it too, and then, 10 seconds later I can’t remember what I wrote. i am sure any comment from you would be full of eloquence (as is the above). I also try to find humour in the less happy things, and fascinatingly I have got much better at it as I have aged. 🙂
      P.S – just found your comment sitting in my “waiting to be approved column – so now I have two comments from you, I’m just doubly lucky.)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a toughie. I try to be true to myself, but have found recently that I just plaster a smile on my face and pretend that I’m happy. Being true to myself would mean having to tell people the truth about how I feel and I know that most either don’t want to hear it, or don’t know how to react. So for me, it’s easier to pretend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Just wrote you a fabulous reply – and damn-well lost it when my hotspot internet dropped out. (My main connection has been lost for over 3 weeks).
      basically, to recap – you are someone I admire hugely, be whoever, whatever, however you want to be, and blogland is just the place to do it. We each do what makes us feel happy, that is the heart of truth.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Claudette, you have just literally given me ‘the feels’ with those words, and now I feel a little teary eyed. (in a good way)
        I need to remember the truth of those words, “We each do what makes us feel happy, that is the heart of truth.”

        Thanks you wonderful woman, for those kind worse and for helping me to put things into perspective. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Aw, I’m glad if something I said has meaning to you – I do waffle sometimes 😉 I don’t think there is a rule for happy, we must make it for ourselves each moment, and I think those moments change constantly too (just to make it interesting).

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Actually Claudette, I always find your words meaningful. They’re like a smoothing balm over a sore wound. And you’re right, there is no rule for happy. Happiness is something that we can only define for ourselves and it is constantly changing. I’m just grateful that those moments still exists. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly, Claudette. I feel strongly that it’s fake to put on that bright cheery act if you’re just not feeling it. I’m not wallowing in despair or anything- I’m just eh sometimes. And if my response to “how are you?” is “eh” that should be okay. I’m not looking for sympathy or even further conversation- I’m just being me. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. For what it’s worth, I think that happiness is not the absence of sadness but the acceptance of both ideas. Happy, sad, friendly, fear, laughter, lonely etc. etc. etc. are all books on the shelf and you read chapters in each when you read them and put them back on the shelf where they belong. Some people spend their lives reading the same book over and over again but truly happy people are like Belle when Beast shows her the library — they want to read them all. Even the ones that make them cry.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really love that thought – thanks for sharing. A whole library is bliss. I admit that I don’t like re-reading books, so this analogy sits well with me.

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  7. Claudette, what a lovely and thought provoking post. Plus wonderful and insightful comments. Thanks to all. I think authenticity is important. We need to experience both sides of the coin, to appreciate the good and happy times. Some days it is ok to just be ok.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The comments have been wonderful Ruth. Always nice to know you’re not the only one thinking about something.
      It is ok to be ok, and the world needs more of that I think.

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  8. I understand where Lily is coming from. For many years I have suffered from deep depression that comes and goes for seemingly no reason and, because most people don’t know how to react if you’re honest and they get embarassed, I found it far easier to pretend I was fine. I became very good at it. Having said that I always look for a silver lining and as a rule find it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is hard, isn’t it. I get that totally, I also have suffered from the black dog, and it is easier to pretend sometimes, but mostly I don’t now – I can’t be bothered getting exhausted for other people – I’m getting selfish in my old age. 🙂

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  9. Did someone say “Blogger Spotlight”? That was you, Scotch the Cat? Okay. Anyone second the motion? I see your raised paw, Cleo the Other Cat. Claudette, we have a trifecta of agreement over here, so would you mind if I featured this on my blog? I think this is a lovely piece, but no pressure, it’s entirely up to you. Just let me know…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, oh, oh – EXCITED, muchly, muchly. I am truly humbled, and honoured, that you & Scotch and Cleo think my little post is worthy. Trembling with happiness – thank you Brian. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay, great! I have a few backlogged posts prepped to publish, so I’ll need to see where this would fit in the schedule, but I’ll give you an advance notice so it won’t catch you off guard. Oh, and would you like me to link-back to your “personal” blog or your “business” blog, since you have it in both places?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Brian, sounds good. I think it would be better to link to my personal blog – I’ve got lots more content on there and only a handful on the business blog site.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hi, Claudette. There wasn’t a reply option on your last comment, so I have no idea where this is going to end up in the comment thread, but anyway: I think I’ll run this on Sunday, 02/05 (or 05/02, if you look at it from an international perspective). This will sandwich your story in between a Past Imperfect on Saturday and a Sunday in the Park, which should help boost the exposure. If I’m guessing correctly, the post will appear on a Monday for you. Does that sound okay? I can always adjust if you’d like me to do this another day…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hi Brian – all sounds good to me, bonza in fact!. I’ll check to see why it didn’t have a reply option (think I noticed that the other day too, but then got sidetracked to somewhere else.)

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Happiness is easy for me and I don’t take it for granted! Like everyone I’ve had my share of unhappiness but mostly I sit on the sunny side of the street. That’s not to say I don’t understand why/how others don’t – it’s the understanding that makes my own happiness easier and more appreciated. I have been known to give the non traditional “absolutely awful” answer to the traditional “how are you ” and it can be a real conversation killer with the wrong person! But the right person will just validate my right to be absolutely awful today and get on with the rest of the conversation. You have a wonderful way with words Claudette and are very deserving of a Blogger Spotlight!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love that non-traditional answer. The confidence to be yourself, warts (teeny or slightly larger) and all, is a happiness booster all on it’s own.
      Thanks for your lovely compliment re my words, I’m very excited to be on Brian’s Blogger Spotlight list.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi Claudette, Brian sent me and I’m glad he did. Lovely piece. Positive thinking is the way to go no matter what the happiness scale on your face says. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, a wallow’s good, just look at the hippo, but yes, there does need to be time limits and location factors taken into account. A recent wallow of mine during the photographs at a family wedding was frowned upon for some reason…

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