14 November 2016

Happiness

Isn't that what we all want? Happiness. It is a very precious commodity. Perhaps, more precious than gold.

Whose life is better? Someone with a sunny disposition who lives in poverty and blissful contentment or someone who is always miserable and restless in spite of material wealth? I would go for happiness every time.

When it comes to happiness, it is likely that you are similar to me. Life has its ups and downs. It would be great to be happy all the time but even though you want to hang on to it, happiness can so easily slip away - like a fish that escapes from your hook.

It comes in different forms. Bursts of happiness might happen at particular events - a family wedding, a party, a theatre trip or a simple act of kindness. Or it might be more long-lasting, more fundamental  - a swathe of your life in which each day you wake feeling good about things with a lightness in your step and a twinkle in your  eye. In times like those the little muscles in your cheeks are always eager to forge smiles.

We can't help who we are. Regarding happiness, I am in between kind of fellow. I have had my share of sadness, dark moods when sleep seems infinitely better than consciousness but I have also enjoyed much happiness in my life, much sunshine. Unlike so many westerners, I never needed to visit a doctor for happy pills.  

Perhaps we can only know happiness when we have something to compare it with. Ying and yang. Light following darkness as laughter follows tears. 

Should we strive for happiness or simply wait patiently for it to come back just as we might stand upon a shore waiting for the tide to return? 

Outside the super moon is presently hiding shyly behind a veil of clouds. Perhaps she knows the happiness secret. Do you?
Super Moon over Sheffield tonight.
The Sea of Tranquillity is the dark area right of centre

41 comments:

  1. When I was a psychiatric nurse this graffiti was written on a wall of the alcohol unit
    " happiness is overrated "

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    1. I think I understand why you remembered this John.

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    2. Just because happiness, in spite of what we might hope, is probably not the average human state. The graffiti has a ring of truth about it.

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    3. Happiness is fleeting
      Contentment...thats the real deal

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  2. Happiness can so often, too often, be elusive. I think a lot of the time we allow it to be elusive.

    I don't crave the material things that others have; things that I don't have. I don't envy their fancy, large homes or their loaded bank accounts (I don't envy the debts of some, either); nor do I desire a large car. My little Toyota Echo suits my needs just fine.

    In saying that I would be happier, of course, if my bank account was a bit more loaded than what it is - just enough, with a tad to spare, to wipe away those worries if something unexpected and unplanned for should arise....

    If I owned my own home and not be renting as I am, I'd be happier. Not being dependent on others for the roof over my head and the four walls around me would make me more contented.

    A little cabin would do me, not much bigger than this in which I presently dwell. I don't need nor do I want a huge abode. My needs and desires are simple...

    To be able to live a quiet, hassle-free existence is my idea of happiness.

    Peace, harmony and love throughout the world would be the supreme happiness. Yes...that would make me very happy, indeed!

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    1. You touch upon a point which I might have explored in my post. To what extent is our happiness or unhappiness connected with happenings in the external world? No man (or woman) is an island.

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  3. It is true that for as long as I can remember, I have been moronically happy. I cannot see the point of being miserable for it only makes things worse, never better.

    It is also true that occasionally, very very occasionally I become angry, angry at the tosspots that seem intent in dragging me down to the depths of despair in which they ?unhappily reside.

    We have only one chance of life and I will and do make the most of it. Life is not always kind, especially now for the one I love, but if I steep myself in misery I will fail him.

    Life is what you make of it.

    Kind regards
    Anna :o]

    PS I don’t think I have visited here since your (long ago) sheep post.

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    1. Thanks for coming by again Anna.
      You raise an interesting question. Is it possible to CHOOSE to be happy? If it is possible why isn't everybody happy? Surely that is what we would all choose if we could.

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  4. Happiness can be elusive if you try too hard to find it. Sometimes I look back on happy times and realise that I wasn't actively conscious of being happy. If you see what I mean. (Our French neighbour, Monsieur Escalier, has a dog called Happy. He answers to 'Appy.)

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    1. Doesn't "Escalier" mean staircase? That's a funny surname. You are right about sometimes not recognising when we are happy. Then when the happy period passes we see it.

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  5. You bring up some good points about happiness. It's not an one size fits all. there are two extremes and everybody is at some point in between. I count myself fortunate and think I'm much more to the happy satisfied end of the spectrum.

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    1. Your blog certainly suggests that Red.

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  6. I have had some very tough times and been miserable and other tough times when i was happy. I have learnt that happiness is in my hands, partly choice and partly self care.

    Money doesn't buy happiness but it can really help with the smoothing the rough edges of life

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    1. I note your term "self care" Kylie. I think we must learn to be kind to ourselves when unhappiness comes along. "Self care" - yes.

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  7. An interesting post with every interesting comments.
    I know I have plenty of reasons to be happy - and I am happy and grateful for them. Some of what makes my life so good is the result of me taking responsibility for it; not waiting for "the government" or anyone else to do things for me. Other things are beyond my control and I am just lucky that they are the way they are; for instance, that my parents are still alive and (relatively) well, or that I was born in a country where I do not need to fear speaking my mind, have free choice of where I want to live and work, and no restrictions because I am a childless widow.

    The line between happiness and contentment is very thin. I would say I am content 100 % of the time and happy... hmm... maybe 80 %.

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    1. Those percentages make you a very fortunate human being Meike but it is clear that you have analysed your circumstances. That knowledge is surely one of the foundation stones of your generally happy life.

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  8. A thought provoking post YP.
    Do we confuse contentment with happiness? If one feels content, then is one automatically happy?
    I think that the uncertain future facing much of the world could give rise to concern and unhappiness.

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    1. Contentment v Happiness. You flag up an interesting distinction CG. Also good that you posed the question - How is it possible to be entirely happy in hard times? Times of war or disaster. We are all touched by the world beyond our four walls.

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  9. A very thought provoking post with even more thought provoking comments. It's not always easy to choose to be happy and misery may not be of one's own making. Few people in a war zone or a refugee camp, for example, are likely to be happy nor content. I was fortunate to be relatively happy as a child when I wasn't in school (which I disliked for reasons beyond my control). My underlying nature, though, is happy and optimistic. On the whole therefore my life has been one of relative contentment with periods of considerable happiness. My dual life for 10 years in Scotland and New Zealand made me exceptionally happy. Could I have done that and achieved the same happiness without the financial means to do it? No. Could I have found the same happiness another way without those means? I don't know.

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    1. I think there have been academic studies which deduce that there is a correlation between happiness and wealth but I am sure that you, like me, have met people with nothing but happiness shines from them like sunlight.

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    2. Absolutely YP I've met people with 'nothing' who were very happy and content and people with considerable wealth who were as miserable as sin. I suppose on reflection a lot depends on what makes a one happy. For example a person who is only happy if they have the power they crave will be miserable if they don't have that power.

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    3. Happiness levels tend to be low for those in poverty but once people get above the poverty line, happiness tends to plateau

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  10. I think happiness is affected by what bad things happen to you or happen around you. However, your ability to cope with what happens, affects whether our happiness is shattered or restored. I've had a few bad things happen over recent years which have temporary knocked me sideways, but my ability to rise up and fight the challenge has helped me eventually to keep an even keel.

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    1. "Ability to cope" is an interesting notion when considering the ups and downs of happiness. A resilient character means that we can ride through the stuff that threatens to pull us down.

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  11. I think happiness comes with being satisfied, and people who are easily satisfied or easily adaptable tend to be happier in general. It's the ambition, the striving, the desiring that kill happiness. Fortunately, I've never been particularly ambitious. I just kind of do whatever comes along, and I can enjoy it.

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    1. I think you have a point there Steve. Being satisfied with one's lot or at least accepting it means that the amount of restlessness in one's life is greatly reduced. Striving may mean somebody sees a different vision of themselves in the future so that demeans the here and now.

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  12. Hey Yorkie...thanks for checking in with me. I've had a tough time finding happiness lately, and the US election was pretty much the death blow. I just...cant...anymore. I've no idea what to do with my personal blog; writing about girls seems like a horrible waste of time and I've got nothing else to day. I'll check in again when I can. Take care YP :-)

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    1. Please leave a comment when you find the urge to blog again Chris. I am afraid I'm not into American sports cards!

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  13. It's ying and yang. I'm happy with the US election. Hillary cried uncontrollably like you do when the world comes down around you. Me, I see happiness in the most unlikely situations. I have to.

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    1. The day after the election Hillary walked in the woodland near her home and met a young woman hiking with her baby. I thought it was a lovely story. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiIPkzhsetI

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  14. I think that we need one in order to compare it with the other. In any case none of us has the right to live a life of perfect happiness when the other half of the world lives in more or less abject misery.

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    1. But in that other half - the so-called "Third World" there is much happiness. It's not all misery. However, I agree with you that happiness is not an entitlement.

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  15. Now and then - not very often I'm pleased to say - I feel unhappy about something. It never lasts for long luckily then life goes back to normal... and then I'm happy again. Or I guess I must be happy because I'm not UN-happy! I'm a glass half full kinda girl and lucky to be content with a life that has been blessed with more ups than downs I guess.

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    1. Thanks for reflecting upon the precious state of happiness Helen.

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  16. Happiness, as the song goes, is different things to different people.

    It is difficult to pin down and can mean contentment, satisfied with ones lot or in my case being happy with my life, when in fact my future could not be described as rosy.

    Alphie

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    1. Often when we think of happiness we think of laughter and twinkly eyes but as you say it can take other forms. Why do you say your future does not look rosy Alphie?

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  17. I feel a Ken Dodd song coming on...

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    1. Get Trevor Rowley to sing it.

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  18. I heard a comment on the radio the other day, about happiness. He said that the world has twisted the picture for so many people and that the common thinking is that if you are not happy every second there is something very wrong. Not happy happy as in exstatic, but still, happy. He said that propbably many take pills because they can't cope with the fact that life is not one long period of happiness for anyone.. I believe happiness and contentment kind of fits together. If you can learn to be content and at ease with what you have, it's much easier to feel happiness. And if you are alert on how light and darkness coinside in the world and in life, you can tell one from the other and be happy about the rays of light that actually comes your way. And, as you say, what makes you feel happy is different from person to person, some need a lot, some just little. But we have to help eachother find the glimpses of light and not go blind on happiness in worldterms. Blessings!!! Who is Ken Dodd? This was a very nice post to read, by the way!!!

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