The Pursuit Of Happiness

I spent many years being unhappy.

For a long time I thought happiness was the next bright shiny object to acquire. But then I found that the shine wore off the object really fast. And before long I yearned for the next shiny object.

This fix does not last. You crave more and more shiny objects. And finally I accepted that “acquiring things” was the wrong way to go about finding happiness.

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wisdom Is Learned:

As I grew older, light was shed on the habits I had acquired that were leading to my unhappiness.

Growing up as I did, having a family was first and foremost in my mind from the time I was a teenager. That perfect family was like a beacon that I stared at with longing.

If I didn’t have one, then I would marry into one. There would be holidays and celebrations with this newly acquired perfect family.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”― Abraham Lincoln

What I Figured Out:

Except I found out quickly that I didn’t do well in these settings. Being around a houseful of people just made me even more anxious. So I found myself cancelling at the last minute.

Many times. Then most times. And then every time.

For the pursuit of happiness, you have to really look at your life and how you’re coping with it. What brings you happiness? The simple joys that make you smile?

Time is an illusion. You can’t touch or see what is in the future or the past.

Mother Nature, if we watch the cycles of the seasons, teach us about living in the present.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”― Mahatma Gandhi

Don’t Dwell On The Past:

If we spend too much time dwelling on the past, we aren’t living in the present. Regret is a useless emotion. You cannot change one thing that’s already happened in life.

All you can do is exist in this precise moment. Any try to make the most of it.

When you find yourself worrying about something in the past, teach yourself to set a brain timer. As soon as the negative thought comes to you, do something like lightly pinching yourself to send a signal to your brain.

Reward Yourself For Being Present:

And then reward yourself with simple joys. Like looking out the window at the birds gathering in the branches. Listen to them sing.

Now you have finally taken the reins of learning how to switch your mood. By merely changing old habits and acquiring new ones.

No one can make you happy. That too is an illusion. Only you can do this.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”― Dalai Lama XIV

I recall that when I began to live alone, everything turned around for me. It was what I needed. I just didn’t know it.

To be by myself and to be solely responsible for myself. That was the first step in finding my way.

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.”― Audrey Hepburn

When The Sun Is On My Face:

In the gardening season, when the sun is shining on my face and my hands are tending to my flowers, I bask in happiness.

I have Charlie and Ivy to enrich my life. The birds on my patio. I have my house plants that are so lovely to behold and also clean the air. What else could I need?

I can live with the glass half-full or half-empty. So I choose the glass that’s half-full.

I’ve learned that the simple joys in life are always the best.

“If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present.”― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Try This:

Sit where it’s quiet and be still. Listen to what is around you. What can you hear? What do you smell? What do you see?

And then you know what you need to do. Listen to music or whatever sounds bring you peace. Light a candle or use essential oils in a diffuser to adjust your mood.

Look outside at nature which is always all around you. And it costs you nothing.


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  1. Beautiful, thoughtful post Brenda. I’d say this post is in the top 5 of your posts that I’ve enjoyed the most.

  2. Wise words that come from a place you’ve earned, Brenda. Much to ponder over – thank you.


  3. Oh, Brenda, I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes! You have spoken directly to my heart. Thank you so much. I’d love to simply chat with you.
    I’m going to share a little tidbit – I hope you don’t mind. I have a lovely small patio on the back of my home that sits empty – nothing, no furniture, etc. I’ve been trying to decide what to do with it so I can enjoy it during the spring temps. Rather than continuing to overthink what I wanted and didn’t want I decided to get on line and do some serious looking/shopping. Within minutes I spotted something that I love and will be perfect. I placed the order and it will arrive next Monday. The best part – very little assembly will be required. WooHoo It’s the little things that matter in my life.

  4. Beautiful post and your words could not be more true. I have anxiety thinking about an appointment or social get together even if I am looking forward to it. I have canceled the last minute on many occasions. Being home is my happy place. Nature and our pets are wonderful companions. I find pleasure in simple things. I think that is better than keeping up with the Joneses. With age comes wisdom and it is comforting to hear other’s recipes for success. Enjoy your day!

  5. I was thinking, reading this, and thinking of things of the weekend…that the Norman Rockwell paintings were not the life meant for us all, apparently. Cause in some clans, things just are not what we so long for. Yea, I had high hopes too…married fairly young, but life has not turned out that way. Some of my happiest years were when we were able to have dogs…and now that we are not up to that…well, one must find other ways. My mom always told me that happiness was not something others give you, it is something you give yourself. And it is the really small ways that can bring us joy, isn’t it? Wishing us all a much better year this year.

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