Friday, 21 March 2014

HAPPY

Thursday was 'International Day of Happiness'.  I met the girls for lunch on Thursday, two really lovely girls, and for that moment, sat eating, chatting, laughing, gossiping - I was happy.  I am lucky.  Very lucky.  To have such fabulous friends, who accept me for who I am.  Who love me 'just as I am'.

This made me think.  I had already been thinking about this.  I had been thinking about this quite a lot actually.  What is happy?  When is the last time that I felt happy?  Am I happy?  So, when is the last time that you felt happy?  Are you happy?  What makes us happy?

"Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so?"  This was the thinking of John Stuart MILL (the English Philosopher and Political Economist) who wrote about ideas such as Utilitarianism, Liberty, and Freedom of Speech.  In even asking the question 'are we happy' and analysing the answer, are we questioning our own happiness, and therefore reducing the probability that we actually are happy?  Do I deserve to be happy?  I do ask myself that.  I question that.  I question whether I deserve to be happy?  I question that all of the time.  This probably isn't healthy.  Everyone deserves to be happy.  Don't they?  To find their 'own kind of happy'.  I'm sure that happiness, what it is to be happy, means different things to different people.

And I mean 'Happy'.  Really 'Happy'. As opposed to 'Content'.  As opposed to 'Satisfied'.  As opposed to 'Pleased'. I mean HAPPY.




I think for me, happiness doesn't mean wealth and material possessions or fame or fortune.  For me happiness means loving and being loved.  They say that you can't buy happiness.  This I think is probably true.  I think that it probably true for me, for my kind of happiness.  They say that 'you can't buy happiness, but you can buy tea and that is kind of the same thing'.  There is certainly some truth in that too I think.


So what is it that makes me happy? Perhaps it is true that it is the simple pleasures in life that make us happy, that make me happy.  Bring us the most pleasure and the most happiness.  For me, it is probably a combination of the following things that make me happy. I've drawn up a little list:
♥ Time spent with friends
♥ Laughing / ♥ Talking / ♥ Sharing ideas
♥ Tea / ♥ Chocolate / ♥ Ice-Cream - i.e. the three major food groups
♥ Music
 A Good Book
♥ Sunshine
♥ Feeling Warm
♥ Good Health
 Benedict CUMBERBATCH

I think that happiness is probably linked to kindness and also linked to well-being; I think that there is probably an inextricable link between the three (Kindness, Happiness, Well-Being) (see my KINDNESS BLOG post from a few weeks ago).


I have MS.  So for me 'Good Health' is always going to be a struggle, so I shall try and concentrate on the other things on my list.  There is also probably a lot of truth in the statement that: "Nobody really cares if you are miserable, so you might as well be happy."  So, find what it is that makes you happy, and don't think too hard or too long about it; but find what it is or find who it is that make you happy, truly makes you happy, and do more of that.

12 comments:

  1. Going for a walk, having time to be alone with my thoughts, listening to music, seeing open countryside, driving on a country road, reading, real ale, sitting on the sofa with Joyce watching good TV,knowing that I am loved. It doesn't take much to make me happy. I try to be a glass half full, not half empty. X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The simple pleasures. Realising that the small things are actually maybe the BIG things x

      Delete
  2. Being out for a walk with you and Fran, motorbike touring around Europe , being with people who accept you warts and all ( not that I have any warts) . Finding someone I can be happy with after two failed attempts, being blessed with two lovely children who are happy and settled in wonderful relationships and five beautiful grandchildren who are healthy,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That are all great reasons to be happy x

      Delete
  3. Happiness was in the news this week, alongside the usual burden of horror and suffering of course. On 20 March The Commission on Wellbeing and Policy, chaired by Gus O'Donnell, Cabinet Secretary 2005-12, published its final report. It is recommending that 'wellbeing' should be a central goal of government policy, a potentially radical change of direction. Drawing on the work of Professor Richard Layard, a member of the Commission and champion of this cause (he is author of 'Happiness: Lessons from a New Science', for example), they argue that happiness can now be reliably measured. They say:

    "Wellbeing is a subjective personal experience, but it can be measured. We consider three main measures:
    • How do you feel (i.e. how happy are you)?
    • How do you evaluate your life (i.e. how satisfied are you with your life)?
    • Do you feel your life is worthwhile (i.e. the so-called eudaimonic measure)?"

    In an interview Gus O'Donnell stressed that our central measure of economic progress, growth in GDP, does not reflect people's experience of personal wellbeing, or happiness. According to Prof. Layard, rich countries have not seen their increased wealth produce an increase in happiness - "all the evidence shows that on average people have grown no happier in the last fifty years, even as average incomes have more than doubled."

    As far as I can remember, my average income fifty years ago as a fairly privileged schoolboy was about 10 bob (50 pence), and my pension must be worth at least twice that today (I'm guessing), and while I'm happy enough now I'm not sure that I'm actually happier than I was in 1964 . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WOW: "It is recommending that 'wellbeing' should be a central goal of government policy". How thought provoking. Well Being does seem to be a 'buzz-word' combining a mixture of health and happiness.

      Obviously we all need money to live, but as I said, for me, "happiness doesn't mean wealth and material possessions or fame or fortune."

      Thanks for sharing Tim x

      Delete
    2. Tim, You 'share ideas'. So you (along with Benedict CUMBERBATCH) make me happy x

      Delete
  4. If I've learned anything from television(my main source of factual information and life guidance) Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet. Not sure how true this is though as I'm sure I've been happy before and I've never had a Hamlet.
    Also, as I'm a lifelong curmudgeon, I'm happiest when I'm miserable, but then I get into a paradoxical situation where my misery makes me happy, which is then not being miserable and so, I get unhappy, which in turn makes me happy again...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is strange that, yes, sometimes nothing makes you happier, than being miserable x

      Delete
    2. I'm not sure about the cigar thing either x

      Delete
  5. How about this from Sam Johnson (Rasselas) 'We are long before we are convinced that happiness is never to be found, and each believes it possessed by others to keep alive the hope of obtaining it for himself..'

    I think 'happiness' is an attitude rather then a state we arrive at by lucky concurrence of material and emotional plenitude. With practice, we should be able to convince ourselves we are happy even in the direst circumstances. However I have a theory that human beings have a low tolerance for happiness; we soon get bored and soon seek out friction again.
    Nevertheless I would certainly agree to at least eight of the items on your list. I would add only one to make me truly happy: the part of Sherlock.

    Oh and one thing you left off your list of happiness factors: writing your blog!

    XXXXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thoughtful comments on my BLOG make me HAPPY x

      Delete