Friday, 1 May 2015

I'm figuring out how to be happy

Ralph Marston - Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately because I haven't felt truly happy for a long time. I certainly ave times when I'm happy and that's great, but there are a lot of times when I'm less than happy - not sad but just a bit blah.......as I said, "less than happy".

The biggest part of my problem is that I have a mindset that my happiness depends on other people and on my circumstances. If my family is happy then I'm happy, if my husband is happy then I'm happy, if my boss is happy then I'm happy etc etc etc. If any of those people aren't happy then I feel like I have to fix it or take responsibility for it, or I just feel down as well. If things are crappy at work, or if life sucks in some way, I am dragged down by it and feel flat and "less than happy". It might have nothing to do with me, but it still impacts on me and how I feel in general. Logically that is fairly ridiculous but in my oldest-child/people-pleasing personality I get influenced by all these things all the time.

What I am coming to realize is that my happiness is my responsibility - it isn't up to other people to make me happy or to provide a sunny day for me - it is my responsibility and my choice. I can choose to let less than perfect things affect my mood and drag me down, or I can choose to be happy despite them. Like the quote above says....."happiness is a choice". This takes some getting used to and I have argued against this point of view for a long time, but the older (and hopefully - wiser) I get, the more I'm starting to think that I might have been wrong and I need to take a long hard look at how I view my world. The picture below sums it up pretty succinctly!

midlife blog ~ cresting the hill
How do I see the world and how does that affect me?
There are also things I can do to change my circumstances - if my job sucks and drags me down, I can do what I've been doing for the last couple of years and try to focus on the positives and ignore the negatives (most of the time) OR I can admit that I'm ready for a change and stop waiting for the job to improve and be brave and take a leap of faith and leave. This gives me time to de-stress, to find pastimes that I enjoy and feel good about myself again. I can start working out what I need in my life to help me find my own happiness without having to work so hard at it.

Over the last few years I've had to do a lot of re-thinking about my marriage and how we go forward as a tight unit rather than two people living in the same house. I've had to learn how to let my children go without feeling abandoned. I've had to learn who I can depend on when the going gets rough and who to leave behind. All of this has been a journey towards being accountable to myself for how I'm feeling and not abdicating my power to other people or to events happening around me.

Maybe it's a midlife crisis, but I think it's a good kind of crisis - one I'm needing to go through to understand who I am. My role has changed from what it was during all those years as a child, then a young adult, and then as a parent and now I'm having to decide who I am going to become for this second half of my life. Scary but exciting too - and I think I'm starting to feel quite happy about it all!


15 comments:

  1. Reinventing ourselves is part of life, Leanne. The world changes so fast around us that the only option left is to assess our priorities and motivates regularly.
    These days for example, happiness to me is having internet so that I can get in touch with others and learn new things. When I was working out, I was in cloud 9 every time I hit a PR. Both "happiness" are real, just at a different timing. Have an awesome weekend!

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    1. Thanks Debbie - you're right about happiness meaning different things at different times in your life - we need to recognize it and take ownership of it. Enjoy your weekend too :)

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  2. I loved reading this post Leanne. At times I could see myself with some of those same scenarios. You seem to be working it all out fine as you journey through it. Debbie makes some good points too. I read recently that our biggest enemy was between our ears. I think there is some truth in that, we need to guard our self-talk. Keep the good posts coming.
    Fridays Blog Booster Party

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    1. Thanks Kathleen and thanks for the Blog Boost - all this blogging is certainly increasing my happiness factor so thanks for the encouragement!

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  3. It is scary and exciting at the same time. I've been going through the same thing for the last few years. I thought I would be a mail carrier forever. Now I have to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. So I am chasing a dream that I have had since I was a kid and trying to see if I can really become a writer. I don't know if it will work out, but I am at the age now where I know that it's not the end of the world I'll just find something else. That's all we can do. I hope you find what makes you happy and I love the fact that you are sharing it with us.

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    1. Thanks Rena - I love that you're trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up - that's been my catch cry for a while too. Enjoy the writing - whether you get to be famous one day or just doing something that makes you happy it's still win/win :)

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  4. Great article and thoughts. Many women our age go through this. I learned that at the BAM conference. You are NOT alone. Blessings to you on your journey! Teresa from NanaHood.com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Teresa and for the encouragement - it's nice to know that I'm not alone on the journey :)

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  5. I love that you have taken the time to examine this for yourself. Sharing it is so important as well. I think women, especially go through major changes after our kids leave, when our husbands retire, when we have to reinvent ourselves, our relationships and our work. It's scary, but boy can it be delicious. Today my humor book is being published. I've been working on this for over 20 years, and I"m a lawyer(so nobody thinks we have a sense of humor!). Go girl, go go go!

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    1. Wow Cathy - a published author - Rena will be taking note I'm sure! Thanks for the words of wisdom and I'll have to pop across and see what a lawyer with a sense of humour writes about :)

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  6. First and foremost you have to be happy. It is up to you to find your own sunshine.

    And it's surprisingly simple to make other people smile, which in turn, makes me happier. I put jokes on my office door, I have a cow yoga calendar, I add what silly holiday of the day it is. Sometimes when I feel others are so blah that I'm in danger of getting sucked into their blah, I get aggressively happy. They either avoid me or quit being blah around me. Either way it's a win for me. :)

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    1. I love this Kim! I noticed today is world naked garden day - maybe I should slip outside and pull out a few weeds to entertain the neighbours! and I really want a cow yoga calendar - thanks for the motivation :)

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  7. What a great post. We all have total control over our own thoughts and feelings. When I used to swim competitively, our sports psychologist told us that how we felt and what we thought was entirely down to us. I know that there are hormonal and psychological issues with this very simple approach, but equally I also feel that it is a very good starting point. I hope that you manage to find your happy.x

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  8. Hi Natalie - thanks for the good wishes and I think I've been a bit slow on realizing how much my happiness depends on me (not others!)

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  9. Leanne, I have nominated your Blog for the Liebster Award, if you would like to accept it the instructions are here.
    http://60-thenew40.com/liebster-award/

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