Honouring our Happiness
“I’ll be happy when I’m a size 10.”
“I’ll be happy when I’ve graduated.”
“I’ll be happy when I’ve got my stable teaching career.”
“I’ll be happy when I’m in a relationship.”
“I’ll be happy when I’ve got my own house.”
“I’ll be happy when I’m earning x amount of money each month.”
“I’ll be happy when I’m driving a nice, new car.”
“I’ll be happy when I’ve got that promotion.”
“I’ll be happy when I’m married.“
I’ve gone through life thinking I’ll be happy when I’ve achieved something. And for a short period of time, yes I would be happy. But then life would throw me a curve ball and so I’d think that my next achievement would bring me “happiness” again.
Truth is, these things never gave me the happiness which I so longed for. Depression would creep up and wash over me again and again and again because I could never find true happiness.
When I quit my job last year, I had no clue what I was going to do. I’d been a teacher for seven years, worked in three different schools and felt the same sense of unhappiness in each school. I believed I couldn’t be a teacher anymore because it didn’t make me happy. So I set out on a mission to find a job that would make me happy! I didn’t realise that in the process of doing so, I would actually discover what truly made me happy.
I started taking care of my appearance each day to look my best for potential new employers. I started watching what I ate because I needed to look after my health after my diverticulitis diagnosis. I started exercising because I had gained weight. I started meditating to help look after my mental health. I started doing breathing techniques to help ease my anxiety. I had more spare time on my hands so I started to do things that brought me joy, like walking, cooking, reading and having a bath of an evening!
These little snippets of self care each day made me realise that true happiness was already within me, but I hadn’t given myself the time before to look after me and my happiness. I used to let external influences define my happiness, like clothes, holidays, money and status but now I realise that does shit all for my happiness.
Right now, our external influences have been taken away from us. We can’t go shopping, we can’t go out for dinner in fancy restaurants, we can’t jet off on holiday; all those things we usually rely on to make us happy have been stripped away in order to protect our health. We find ourselves in a situation where we have to find other ways to bring joy and happiness into our lives.
If we are to learn anything from isolation and quarantine, it’s that you make your own happiness. Our happiness comes from within ourselves, not our external environment.
Find your inner happiness by carving out time for yourself to do something you want to do! It could be to sit in the sun, drink a nice cup of coffee in peace, colour in a picture or exercise. It’s quite easy right now to find time for yourself, but when ‘normal’ life resumes, try and carve out time for yourself three times a day to do something for you!
“I’ll be happy when this is all over and we can go back to ‘normal’ life.”
Will you though?