The Pursuit of Happiness

post title "the pursuit of happiness"

Disclaimer: This post uses an affiliate link to Hive Books. It is marked. Unmarked links have no affiliation. Affiliate links are free to click on but if you buy something I get a share.

Eugi from Eugi’s Causerie invited us this week to write about the topic of happiness. She offers a weekly prompt that we might work with in any creative but family-friendly way we choose. Thanks, Eugi for this thought-provoking topic that inspired this post: 

Not being happy was my default way of being

Do you think a lot about happiness? About your own and your family’s? I do. I have been living with light to medium depression for almost all of my life. So not being happy was my default way of being. 

For most of my life, my way of coping was to suppress my feelings and live a pretty dissociated life. It never occurred to me that my happiness could be an issue or something to be pursued. That sounds strange, I guess, because we are supposed to pursue our happiness, aren’t we? But that is the nature of dissociation: You do not connect the dots of your life.

I started thinking about my happiness when I met my husband.

Thinking about my happiness only started when I met my husband, who made it his mission to make me happy. His way of showing his love is in many little practical ways: Cooking at the weekends, so I do not need to do it. Repairing my car, so I don’t need to worry or growing our veg. But he also listens when I am upset and hugs me. 

Over the years, I realised that I don’t know what makes me happy because he so often asked what I wanted, but I couldn’t tell him. I simply didn’t know. I was waiting for someone to tell me what makes me happy.

My problem with thinking about my happiness

Last week, I wrote about some of the hidden messages I learned as a young person. I feel there are so many hidden messages which impact our lives very much. And I wonder what you think about hidden messages. Is it just me that works with them?

One of these impairing thought processes I unearthed over the years is this: “If something good happens to me, either my loved ones or I will suffer something traumatic”. That is a pretty hindering idea, don’t you think? One therapist pointed out that life is like this:” Something good happens, and then something bad happens.” It always depends on how we interpret the occasion. And you simply can’t avoid challenging experiences. That’s how life rolls. 

But this idea is so deeply ingrained in my being, that, for a long time, I did not dare to think about what I wanted for fear of “the catastrophe”. 

One advantage of growing older is the broader perspective we get on life. Lately, when I examined this idea, I realised that it simply isn’t true. “The catastrophe” does not happen. There are challenges. Yes. But in the end, life sorts itself out. Always.  

“From every ruin, life springs up again and everything that dies is born again.”  Isabelle Eberhardt

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This quote from Isabelle Eberhardt puts it well. There is this cycle of ups and downs in life, but humans are survivors. Our ancestors have mastered challenges we can’t even imagine. I believe we are deep-wired for survival, and our minds develop strategies to get there no matter what. It is quite amazing, isn’t it?

Now, I allow myself to think about my happiness.

So now I allow myself to ponder what makes me happy. And to respect my opinion. One thing that makes me deeply happy is music. I like to choose a song every week that I listen to often that motivates me. It’s not always a profound song or message. Sometimes it’s just one I can dance to and let my hair down. Like “My, Oh, My” by Camila Cabello

video credit: Camila Cabello via YouTube

Food makes me happy, even though this can be a tricky one. But I enjoy a well-cooked meal and cooking it makes me happy too. Reading definitely makes my day. I always said that I loved reading however it used to be more a help to survive than pure enjoyment. That has changed. I can discover new genres of books and let my imagination run wild in the stories they tell. It’s the simple things that make me happy. 

A Book That helped kickstart this process.

Earlier, I said that my husband made me think about my happiness. But Jen Sincero’s book (oops sorry for the bad language. Is this still family-friendly?????) “You are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” –> (affiliate link) <–. 

It’s a hilarious book about life, what we learned about it in our childhoods ie hidden messages and how to go about getting rid of them. Ah, I am glad its not only me who struggles with these 🙂 . Jen tells you tons of stories from her life and those of others to make her points clear but always with a positive and friendly tone. I used to read it at work in my break. Often I broke out in roaring laughter which confused my eating colleagues. There weren’t many that read. And certainly not books to improve themselves. It did motivate me to search for more of my hidden messages and try out new things to move to more happiness. 

Someone who agrees with me on the little things.

Cherie over at Chateau Cherie wrote a short post on happiness at the beginning of June. In “Attaining happiness” she is also of the opinion, that the simple things make you the happiest. 

And please check out Eugi’s post “Eugi’s Weekly Prompt ~ Happiness ~ June 24th, 2021″. You’ll find more posts on happiness in the comments.

Do you agree?

What do you think? Is it the small things that make us happy or does a big diamond ring help too???? 😉

Good vibes your way

and remember:

You can do it!

Liz

Disclaimer: I simply share my life experience and have no professional training in mental health. What I write about does not substitute for professional help. If you feel you need help to deal with an issue check out these links.

9 thoughts on “The Pursuit of Happiness

  1. Eugenia says:

    What a wonderful post, Liz! It’s the small things that make me happy like hearing the birds sing in the morning. I’ve had my share of life challenges and I’ve always been able to bounce back. As my mother used to say – rise up above it!

    • Liz Halton says:

      Hi Eugi, thanks so much for your compliment. And thanks for your lovely prompt. I suspect if we appreciate the small things the big ones will come too 😊🤗

  2. Cherie White says:

    Such a beautiful post, Liz. Your story sounds so much like mine. I too battled depression for many years and like you, being unhappy seemed to be my “default.” Also, like you, I was afraid that if anyone good or great happened to me, I’d somehow be punished for it with something bad happening later. It’s a terrible way to live and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Lastly, l also began reading self-help and happiness books in 2007 and I realized that life doesn’t have to be this way and that happiness comes from within and is not a one size fit a all. Thank you so much for mentioning me and thank you for this wonderful post. Sending you lots of love!

    • Liz Halton says:

      Hi Cherie, you are very welcome. I loved your words and how you brought everything together. Am glad you found a way out of this dark place of “default unhappiness”. I don’t wish it on anybody either and am still surprised how much can xhange when you allow yourself to think differently about a situation. Thanks for stopping by. 😊🤗

  3. Sandee says:

    It is the little things that make us the happiest. I agree with you on that. We just need to pay attention to those things. Sometimes folks are rushing around so much they forget to stop and smell the roses.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ♥

  4. Corinne Rodrigues says:

    I think many of us grow up believing that happiness has to be earned, then we tell ourselves that we don’t deserve it. It’s up to us to find what makes us happy and enjoy it guilt free. Really enjoyed your post, Liz.

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