I’ve been reading a lot about this quest for happiness. The best article I’ve read is written by Jonathan Mead on a blog called Marc and Angel Hack Life. The full blog post is here http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/03/12/one-thing-you-must-stop-doing-to-be-happy/ but he has summed up what I wanted to say in this one paragraph.
“We relentlessly pursue happiness in every imaginable way. We pursue happiness in material possessions, in social status, and in the acceptance and recognition we get from others. We even search for happiness in various versions of a future-promised afterlife. But these pursuits rarely give us more than fleeting moments of joy. We end up missing out on lots of thrilling life experiences and contentment because we fail to understand a very simple but easily overlooked fact…
The Search for Happiness Causes Misery
You can’t find something that’s already here with you. Happiness exists in this moment. It’s not something you need to find. That’s like trying to find the oxygen you’re breathing right now. It’s especially difficult when society tends to place more value on things and status, than on experiences. We are told to value what we do more than how we feel. This is complete nonsense when you think about it. The way you feel is far more important than what you own or how others perceive you. Isn’t the purpose of everything you do to feel good? Isn’t the purpose of that new gold watch, that important job title, or college degree to give you a feeling of accomplishment? Aren’t these things supposed to make you happy?”
Did you know there are different types of happiness? If you look up happiness in the dictionary, it defines happiness, but it also defines levels of happiness. Bliss, for instance, is supreme delight. Felicity is an intense kind of happiness. My favorite kind of happiness though, is contentment. Contentment is defined as a peaceful kind of happiness in which one rests without desires, even though every wish my not have been gratified. I like that one. It made me start thinking about what small moments make me happy. Of course my relationships make me happy. My time with friends and family makes me happy, but what are the small moments, aside from relationships, that make me feel content? I made a short list.
1. Coming home to a clean house (preferably cleaned by someone else!)
2. Fresh flowers (especially wildflowers and daisies).
3. Getting into a cool bed with fresh sheets on it.
4. Finding money in my pocket.
5. The first spring day when I can roll my windows down.
6. The first summer day when I can take the top down on my jeep.
7. The first winter night when I crank up the fireplace.
8. My favorite jeans fitting (if they were a little big, that would be bliss!!)
9. Finding the perfect shade of lip gloss.
10. Getting a new purse or wallet and switching all my stuff into it.
11. Hearing my favorite song on the radio.
12. An unexpected call, text or note from someone I care about.
13. My dog lying in my lap.
14. Any time spent by the ocean.
15. A snow day!
16. A tan.
17. Listening to rain fall on our metal roof. Even better is watching the rain come from over the mountain.
18. A walk outside on a beautiful day.
19. A great book.
20. Music that speaks to me exactly when I need it.
Mr. Mead writes, “Instead (of basing happiness on things, status, and people), we should base our happiness on the life we are living – on the beauty that is already ours, on desires that don’t shift from moment to moment. We choose to find in our happiness now – in life itself. In fact, we don’t even need to ‘find’ happiness. We can be happiness. Stop searching. Stop chasing. Happiness is already here.”
What would make your list? What small moments make you feel content? Have you stopped chasing happiness? How did it work out for you?