Do you find yourself in pursuit of happiness? What does it take for you to be truly happy?
I recently saw this quote from Rita Mae Brown, and I think she makes an excellent point!
Since my mother’s recent passing, I’ve been doing a great deal of soul searching. Due to prolonged illness, Mum had not been truly happy in her final years. In the end, she just gave up wanting to live due to the pain she was in. No-one can blame her for that, but it’s made me realise how important it is to be happy.
I realised Mum had someone to love, but she didn’t have much to do in the nursing home, and certainly no life purpose as such. She also didn’t have anything to look forward to, except regular visits from us. She loved to travel and always looked forward to her trips, but that had been impossible for many years.
Thinking about Mum’s situation since her passing has made me realise I’ve been guilty of postponing happiness for much of my life. Some of the times I’ve done this:
“When I finish school, I’ll be happy”
“Once I buy a property, I’ll be happy”
“When I meet a man, I’ll be happy”
“Once we get married, I’ll be happy”
“When we have children, I’ll be happy”
… and so it goes on.
What I’ve come to realise is that, if happiness is really important, right now is the time to be happy.
Gratitude sometimes gets a bad rap as being “woo woo”. However, I find keeping a Gratitude Journal really helps me realise how much I have to be happy about in my life.
I find it so easy to be hard on myself. I get down in the dumps about little things that really don’t matter in the overall scheme of things. Completing my little evening ritual of writing at least 3 things I’m grateful for in that day helps me realise what truly makes me happy. Some days I have a long list, and other days, I struggle to come up with 3 things. We all have those days!
From now on, I’d like to follow Rita Mae’s advice on happiness. So, what does it really take to be truly happy?
Having someone to love
Whether it’s your partner, spouse, parent, child, friend or neighbour, having someone in your life to love is gold. We may not all blessed with a large family, or children, or a large circle of friends. However, it’s likely we could all name at least one person we can say we love. If you’re very lucky, you’ll have a long list.
Having something to do
Ah, purpose! Having something that keeps me busy and provides me with a sense of achievement is so important to me. I love a challenge. When I have the same old routine, week in, week out, I get bored so easily. Having something to do for someone else, such as a family member, friend or client, add fuel to my fire – that’s when you’ll really see me in my element. I want to ensure I always have something to do!
Having something to look forward to
This is such an underrated aspect of happiness in my humble opinion. If I don’t have something to look forward to, I seem to lose direction altogether. I’m goal-oriented and I need to always be working towards an outcome I really want.
So at this late stage of the year, I find myself reflecting on what I’d like to achieve in 2017 and beyond, and I’m preparing to set some goals – small and large – for the New Year.
The big difference in my goal setting for next year will be that I’ll be focusing on what makes me happy, rather than what I think (or someone else thinks) I should be doing. I already have a few things in mind, but I need to break them down into achievable stepping stones to acknowledge the things that will bring me joy along the journey to the bigger goals. Hopefully then, I’ll be truly happy.
What does it take for you to be truly happy?
Do you set goals? What are you aiming to achieve in 2017?
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