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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Secret to Happiness, Look Within

A step away from food and home keeping to a little rambling on more personal things.

First off, I will say I in no way know the real secret to happiness for the population at large, but I do know the secret for myself. That is what I am sharing but if it in any way it helps someone then I will be happy I shared.

As one gets older we hope that we can say we are happy. In my late forties, I know exactly what makes me happy these days. This was not always the case. When I was younger I often would ask myself, "When will I be happy?"

The problem I had with how I looked at happiness when I was younger, was that I thought it was something I had to go out and GET! Something I had to go do or buy or see. What I have realized is the key to happiness is to look within.

1. Look at family, happiness is within your family. I could not find happiness if I was running around and not taking care of things at home. When my family is taken care of and the house is in order and the chaos corralled then I am at my happiest. This does not mean the kids or even my hubby are responsible for my mood, though they can affect if for sure, but that for me, knowing my own home is in order, means a peace of mind.

2. Look within your house. Yep, happiness is right in my four walls. If I was looking at what others had or what they were doing to their houses that I could never do to mine, I could easily get a sense of envy or dissatisfaction. The more I just stopped looking at others and instead kept my eyes on my own home, the happier I became. I spent more time fixing what I could around here and accepting the things I could not change and letting go. At some point we have to say this is good, good enough for me. I am thankful for what I have and do not need more.

This is not to say I don't want to fix things up but we can all see homes on TV, in magazines and online and think our homes are not good enough. Let that all go. I never ever heard my mother say she wished she had something. I am sadly not able to say that. But I can strive to be content with what I have. I will never have a home with bedrooms for everyone or the latest gadgets but I don't care about those things any longer.

Want to know my most favorite things in life? Being able to go to the grocery store and fill my cart and coming home and stocking the fridge and pantry. My husband laughs at me but this truly is one of the highlights of my week. A basic need to feed my family and know we have plenty. I do love that feeling. If you can imagine the stress of not being able to meet that basic need for your family, then the ability to do it is something that gives me joy. Crazy I know. But there it is.

3. Look within yourself. Boy, that is a loaded statement I know, but it is so true for myself. We are all different and we cannot look to others to make us happy. I know that is easy to say because of course the folks we live with can very much affect our happiness but it boils down to this...doing things that make me healthy mentally and physically and giving myself some time on the schedule, goes a long way to help me with my level of contentment.

Also, looking to my own self to make changes I need to make. Stop my negative thoughts, controlling my outspoken tongue, have all helped me to find more peace as I age. I have rambled on but it is true that as you age, you learn what really makes you happy and what you need to let go. Actually keeping focus on fewer, more important areas of life have helped me to feel a higher level of contentment.

I am a simple woman, with a simple life and I love it that way. I am happy. The when is now. 


Linda said...

Great post. "The when is now". Yes.

Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

It's often a cliche, but just learning to say no can bring so much peace. It may seem selfish to others, but you first need to take care of yourself. Great post!

Art and Sand said...

I am not attempting to sound smug here, but I am fortunate to have found that happiness you talk about in my 30's. If I had not found it, I would not have survived our living situation. We moved to Ventura when we were in our late 20's and had to make friends. I joined a playgroup with other mothers of 18 month old children. ALL of those women were rich and had incredible homes. I was not in their income bracket, but we shared many other things in common and they became (still are) good friends. I told myself that they were not looking at my house and what I didn't have, but enjoyed my company. I stopped trying to be something I was not and was just me. It's funny that one of the little girls from that original playground has her home decorated like mine rather than the perfected designer look of her childhood home.

Because Steve and I always lived small we are able to live comfortably in retirement. Many of our flashier friends are still working because they have so many flashy toys to keep paying for.

a8383 said...

Best post you have ever done!Just love it!And as Dorothy said," If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further then my backyard." Angela

Patty Marker said...

You are so wise but then I already knew that. Love this post!

Kathleen Grace said...

A great post Elaine. I think we sometimes hesitate to share advice like this because it may seem obvious to us or we aren't sure how it will be taken, but I am sure there are so many who need this message, even if it is just a reminder of what they already know.

Cozy Little House said...

Beautiful post, Elaine! I agree with the first comment: "The when is now" is both poetic and prophetic. I think as we age, we settle in and look to the simpler things in life. Not clothing or new appliances or a new car. Who cares about all that? Not me. I am happy to hear the birds chirp. Simple is my way of life as well.

Shelia said...

Hi Elaine! Oh, what a wonderful post! You are so right. The secret to happiness lies within us. Bless you.
Shelia ;)

LV said...

How great the world would be if more people were as happy and content as you. I am 85 and I am perfectly happy and content with my present life. It has not always been that way tho. Blessing.

Michelle said...

Great post. Everything you said was so on point. My home and Family is also where I find my happiness. When it starts to slip ( I get in a funk) I cook,read or do one of my hobbies. Before I know it Life is good again.

Susan said...

Loved this post and it's so true. Happiness is within. As they say, "Happiness is an inside job." I'm with you----homekeeping hearts are happiest. Thanks. Susan

Angela ~ Call Her Blessed said...

Great post. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Blessings~

Melanie said...

This is one of my favorite posts...probably because I can relate to every bit of it, and I also like that you took a different spin with a post and wrote something personal. I love living an "old-fashioned" (some may say), simple way of life and taking care of my family and home have always been the important and satisfactory things in my life. People that don't know me always assume we're rich because I don't work outside the home. Ha! We're able to live like this due to living simply and within our means...we drive old cars, we have a small house, I rarely buy new clothes (shop mostly at thrift shops or clearance sales), we don't have the latest electronic gadgets, and we don't take vacations. I have never felt that need to "keep up with the Joneses"; not even when I was younger. Do I ever feel envious of those in huge, beautiful houses or people who vacation every year or those with new laptops and iPads? Sure! But that envy is fleeting. I feel totally in my element and such contentment when I walk through the door of my house. Or when my husband comes home from work and we're happy to see each other. Or, when Tim comes home for a visit or we're able to visit him at school and spend time with him. Those are the things that truly matter.

Jen Vandervoort said...

It's nice to see a trend in our culture reminding us that we have enough, are enough, and to find it inside of ourselves instead of looking outwards for something to satisfy our needs.

Beautiful post Elaine, and such true words. Finding joy in the ordinary is something that will give so much more back.


corners of my life said...

. . . it is true that as you age, you learn what really makes you happy. So very true.