Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness seems to be a state that eludes many people - it's very evident from the glum faces that surround us daily - at work, while shopping, driving and even on holiday. Yes - I was once on holiday in Paradise aka Mauritius and greeted the other breakfast diners with a happy face on our first morning, only to be looked at with sullen dismay! "SMILE!" I wanted to shout - "Be Happy - You are in a tropical fairyland!" Granted they were French, but alas even cheery a "Bonjour!" didn't do the trick. My further attempts at French during the holiday, did bring an unattractive smirk to the faces of a few but c'est la vie!
Happiness is something that is so easy to find, if only one will look around. It starts with gratitude and being thankful for each day that is given to you to enjoy - a gift to be unwrapped each morning and celebrated. This year I took the challenge (Thank You Samantha Bowers) to submit photos to a facebook site called #100happydays thinking that it would be a reminder to look for happiness for the next 100 days. I have found my biggest challenge is not finding a happy moment but choosing which happy moment to photograph and post. Over the last month I have been drawn to this site www.facebook.com/hashtag/100happydays to see what is making others happy as I suspected that perhaps my happy moments were a little mundane - I had fallen into the trap of comparing myself to others which is the biggest cause for unhappiness that I know of!
Here you will see that it is not the big things that make people happy but the simple moments of joy that truly define us. It has also surprised me that whatever nationality you are, wherever you are in the world it seems that the same things make us happy and the site is full of .........

  • Proud photos of children, small love tokens and notes left by those we love,
  • Birthday celebrations
  • The adoring eyes of our pets 
  • Simple meals shared with a friend or a stranger. 
  • Having our aging parents still with us and being in the presence of wisdom brings happiness
  • The unconditional love of good friends and particularly of our parents is a joy. 
  • Pretty blue nail polish and a flower in your hair brings happiness to some while others are grateful for surviving cancer and other illnesses.
  • A scenic view of a mountain ranks the same as a city skyline if you are in a happy place.
  • Creating things whether baked, grown, painted or stitched gives a sense of fulfillment to many.
Nowhere on this site are there pictures of expensive cars, yachts or luxury items - OK there is the odd pair of designer shoes but we ladies can all relate to that! Mostly the photos are of people with people they love.
It's food for thought that we seem to think that material things are what make us happy and therefore we spend most of our life chasing a rainbow in search of the pot of gold when in reality our own home, garden and life is paved with gold.
I agree that the pursuit of happiness need not be measured in days and there will inevitably be times when we feel sadness, anger, loneliness and frustration. We need to understand that to be human we will experience a colourful spectrum of emotions - all of them ours to own and to express. More often than not we feel a flurry of different things at the same time. I don't want to merely be happy for 100 days - I want to experience all human emotions - curiosity, spontaneity, excitement, bliss, grief, resentment, surprise, restlessness, excitement, euphoria and peace and all of what life throws at me - along with the many happy moments
I have also noticed that many people depend on others to make them happy - they give the key to their happiness to others who then have the power to turn their happiness on or off as they turn that key. Likewise there are some who tolerate the cruel and unacceptable behaviour of people towards them and either suffer in silence or complain about them to anyone who will listen. It makes sense that if someone or something is making you unhappy then you need to act to change that. We teach people how to treat us and they can only treat you badly with your permission.
So - I am grateful for each  happy moment during the day and will continue as long as I live to photograph and savour these moments - celebrating life and the universe in all its glory. Be Happy!


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