Wednesday, 3 February 2016

just curious ~ what makes us happy?

#midlife blog ~ crestingthehill.com.au

Have you ever stopped to wonder "what makes me happy?" I came across this question the other day and it made me stop and ask myself the question and interestingly enough, the answer wasn't anything big or powerful or exciting. It was the small quiet things in life that sprang to mind.

My husband is a family counsellor and he has very strong opinions on what we should or should not hang our happiness on. He is very clear about the fact that it's not healthy to put your happiness in someone else's pocket. The trouble is that I completely understand that argument, then I completely disregard it! As soon as this question was raised my first thought was all about relationships.

Other research shows that happiness is predominantly defined by our social connections. This made me feel a lot better because my happiness is irrevocably tied to the relationships that my life is made up of. I feel happiest when my family is happy. I feel happy when I feel loved and appreciated. I can't cut that part of myself out and I don't particularly want to!

So much of what makes me happy are the little things in life - the little traditions we have, the routines and the security of knowing my place in the world. My happiness isn't based on how much we earn, or on how many things we own. It's based on connection and love and friendship. It's based on sunny mornings and cups of coffee, on laughter and shared history. On knowing each other's stories and being part of them.

#midlife blog ~ crestingthehill.com.au

I saw this quote from Beau Taplin as I was cruising through the interwebs and it summed up my answer to "what makes me happy?" It's all the special little things that make up my life. The things I would miss if I couldn't have them any more. I don't need all the bells and whistles and big "toys" I just need what I have now - love, and friendship, and connection. 

I'm curious about whether this is the same for everyone or if it's different for other people - I'm not sure how others would answer the question - and I'd be interested to hear what anyone reading this would say is the defining element of life that makes them happy. Please chime in with your answer in the comments (I promise not to judge if your answer is icecream or chocolate!)

"I’m beginning to recognise that real happiness isn’t something large and looming on the horizon ahead but something small, numerous and already here
This post was linked up to the #1word challenge - this month's word was "curious"


40 comments:

  1. Great post lovely. I totally agree with your man, of course happiness can not be dependant on another, but like you the first thing I thought when I saw your question was 'my kids', my hubby and kids make my life so happy everyday! But when I think deeper I realise there has to be more. 18 months ago I was slipping into depression, I was unhappy, yet I got very mad at myself for this. I was deeply in love with Steve and had no doubts he felt the same, our marriage was full of affection, great talks and loads of laughs. My kids were healthy, intelligent and so loveable, so why did I feel unhappy? I came to realise that if I was not following my passions that I couldn't feel 'truly happy', because I was letting myself down, I was ignoring who I really was. Hence the novels I am working on and my blog. I needed to write, to be creative. It was not an overnight change, and some days I feel sad for who knows what reason? But I am so much happier and the effects flow on as now Steven is following his passions more, he is now a wonderful photographer and a runner! It is great for our kids to see this too, we are a healthier family now both mentally and physically. So yes we so need to search within ourselves to find happiness and our family are like the most delicious icing on top! Sorry for rambling lol

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    1. Hi Mackenzie - I know exactly what you mean - that feeling of not being "unhappy" but not being truly "happy" either. I am amazed at the difference putting some thought into making changes and finding things I enjoy doing has made to my life too - long live blogging!!

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  2. Such a great post and this is something I find myself debating a lot at the moment so I really needed to read this and I love the quote. I think that it is probably very true :-) #bloggersclubuk

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    1. It's funny how we wait for the big stuff to make us happy, when it's really the little day to day affirmations that make all the difference.

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  3. I love this post, especially your line about your happiness being "based on sunny mornings and cups of coffee, on laughter and shared history" - it is those little moments that make up the wonderful moments and like you, my happiness is also bound up in my relationships with other people - it is the moments with them, spending quality time together where I am truly at my happiest. I love your reflection that you just need what you have now - I think being content in who we are, where we are and what we currently have is a big key to being happy. #BloggerClubUK

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    1. that is so true Louise - we get caught up in what the world thinks we need, but when it comes down to it, it's the relational things that we treasure the most. They are what really make us truly happy.

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  4. I agree totally with you Leanne! It's the little things that make us happy but also a feeling of geeneral well being. I think as women and mothers we are naturally happier when our family is doing well and there are no crises in the horizon. Men think differently than we do. They look at the little things that are bugging them and zero in on those, instead of looking at the over all picture. Or am I wrong?

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    1. I think you are completely right about the difference between men and women Mary - we are definitely more relational and we don't put things into compartments like they do (so we don't zero in as much!)

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  5. This is a really interesting question. I am probably selfish, but calm and solitude make me happy. When I am on my own (other than the dog) I get to notice the world around me much more than when I have the family with me, and it gives me a chance to recharge.

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    1. You would not be alone in that at all Sarah - I think we all get a boost of serenity when we are somewhere peaceful and have a bit of headspace for a change.

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  6. I have pondered this question for the better part of the last year. My answer it seems is a simple and yet challenging one – –CONNECTION.

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    1. we are so relational aren't we Carla - I think that's why I love blogging too - it's the connections :)

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  7. Hi Leanne,
    I agree with you. Our happiness is often connected to our relationships, especially our social connections.
    Janice

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    1. Family and friends have a huge impact on my happiness levels Janice - I'm not able to separate the two even if I tried!

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  8. Lovely post and I agree with you, which is why I started writing a weekly gratitude list this year.

    There's a quote along the lines of being old and looking back, and only then realising that it's not the big things one remembers with most fondness - our favourite memories are usually the small things. X
    #BloggersClubUK

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    1. that's so true - it's those little moments that we hold dear to our hearts and I think a gratitude list is a wonderful idea.

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  9. I think that graphic says it all. All the little things make me happy and when a big happy thing happens, I'm delighted. But I don't need that WHOA! LOOK WHAT JUST HAPPENED! moment to be happy. It can come upon me at any time.
    Carol
    http://carolcassara.com/pinterest-questions/

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    1. me too Carol - I just love that we can be content with little special moments that bring a quiet smile to our faces (mind you those big ones are great too!)

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  10. Family. Food. Visiting. Pretty much sums up my happy place!:)

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    1. Yep those all tick boxes for me too Di x

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  11. I went for a walk yesterday after sitting at my computer for too long--sun was shining, I wasn't cold, it felt so good to move around. I was suffused with happiness. This is not to say that relationships aren't the key--I love your husband's line about putting your happiness in someone else's pocket. But there are these little, smaller happinesses that come along as well.

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    1. I totally understand those perfect weather moments when the sunshine is on your face and all is right in your world - they just bring a quiet joy!

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  12. I believe that focusing on the small things can make us happy rather than waiting for the big stuff, like you say sunny mornings, cup of tea (I don't drink coffee) and a biscuit, reading with my son, clean bed sheets. If more people took pleasure in the little things in life, the world would be happier #BloggersClubUk

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    1. I totally agree Rebecca - when you're always looking for the next big thing you never reach that point of happy contentment - and that is such a shame (and I love clean sheets too!)

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  13. I believe some people are predisposed happy. It is not work or decisions or choices for them but just a natural feeling.That said I think it is small things appreciated is the road to my happiness.

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    1. I agree Haralee - my husband sometimes comes out with the words "happiness is very over-rated" I think that's because he isn't as naturally predisposed as I am. I love happiness :)

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  14. I love this and just put my girls to bed. My older daughter, who is in first grade, read a whole book to me and honestly was so excited for her as she was so proud to indeed be reading all on her own. I realized in that moment that I was just so happy for not only her, but just all the good in our lives tonight with this included. So, your post totally hit home and agree that it is the small things here and now that we need to totally focus on more so than not.

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    1. It's lovely when you have those moments with your children when you just realize how good your life is. Parenting has so many facets and happiness is definitely one of them.

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  15. It's so easy to get caught up in what we don't have rather than enjoying the things we do. Thank you for such a lovely post :)

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    1. thanks for stopping by and yes, life and happiness really are about appreciating what we have and do :)

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  16. I totally agree with the part: "I feel happiest when my family is happy." Life has taught me that material things can come and go but that closest family is what counts. Except God just laugh in my face recently and said why don't we test that, and he took one family member away. Just like that. It's then that you sort of start thinking: wow, you can't even what/whom you love around you, so what's the point? Sorry for the negative .. xx Abby

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    1. Oh Abby, I am so sorry to hear that - I wondered why you hadn't been around as much lately. I do hope you and your family are okay and holding onto each other during this time. Losing someone close always takes a little chunk out of your heart xx

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  17. I agree that it's the little things in life. Big things can certainly make us happy - I'd be thrilled if I won the lottery! - but those things are rare and fleeting. Finding joy in the every day stuff is what sustains us.

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    1. I'd like a Lotto win too Lisa (it would probably help if I bought a ticket - but I can't justify wasting the money!) I'll settle for the sunshine, family, friends and coffee instead :)

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  18. Sounds like I determine my happiness i a similar way to you, about the people in my life and my social connections. My job is very social and I often get down if I do not have enough contact with clients - which would make sense. Thank you for joining us at #BloggerClubUK please can you include the badge next time you link up or a link back to the page. Many thanks x

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    1. I think we all find our happiness in different places but a lot comes down to our attitude and how we choose to see our life. I'll do my best to remember to add a link back. cheers

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  19. What a fabulous post and I think everyones morning would be better if it was kicked off with sunshine and caffience! Thanks so much for linking up with #MMWBH

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    1. I love a bit of sunshine and coffee - unless it's the boiling hot sunshine that we've been having lately and the bushfires that come with it!

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  20. Nice chocolate does make me happy but that's not my main reason! I think you are right, happiness is a combination of a lot of little things, often intangible and often things you can't actually put into words. I think contentedness and happiness go hand in hand, not in a complacent way but in an appreciative way.

    Interesting discussion point Leanne!

    Sally @ Life Loving
    #LifeLovingLinkie

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    1. I agree Sally - discontent breeds dissatisfaction and unhappiness. They all link up together and the attitude you choose flows over into the level of happiness you have.

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