The quest for happiness

December 27, 2016

This is a strange week.  Sandwiched between the gifts, seeing loved ones, and the over indulging of Christmas and then round two of overindulging and partying hard that New Year’s often brings.  Many of us are off work and gifted with extra time to spend and having time in the bank can be a strange concept for us to deal with.  When we’re given time these days, how many of us pick up our smart phone or tablet and begin to swipe.  I’ve personally lost hours to those shiny lit up screens staring back at me adorned with how great everyone’s life is interspersed with adverts for things that will help me be a better/cooler/thinner/more interesting versions of myself.  Before I know it I am either consciously or subconsciously aware of a void inside me that needs filling.  So I begin the hunt to fill the void. 


But I’m not the hunter, I’m the prey, and time after time I fall into that great big manhole sized trap known as ‘The Sales’!


Whether it’s trawling shops or hitting the online stores, there are bargains to be had everywhere and I’ve always felt the compulsion to get on board and spend my money (that I often don’t have) and more worryingly spend that precious time that I often feel starved of buying stuff. 


Why do I do this? 


Because of this instinctive urge that tells me more stuff will make me happy.  That dress will make me look better; equalling happiness.  That pair of leggings will make me fitter; equalling happiness.  That new gadget for slicing vegetables will help make me thinner; equalling happiness.  Those new trainers will make me cooler; equalling happiness


…and this is just the small stuff!  I’ve purchased holidays, cars, houses, all with the same thought process behind them; to make me happy.


Many of us are on a hunt to find the perfect stuff, which is often just more of the same stuff we already have (or perhaps a better upgraded version of stuff already in our lives), because that stuff becomes the literal stuffing for the void where happiness is supposed to be. 


I don’t know about you, but I often find that stuff seldom makes me happy, and if it does that feeling is very short lived. 


This year I realised something.  Something that deep down inside I think I always knew, but somewhere along my 30 years of living I lost sight of it. 


Real happiness comes from connection, with the most important connection being to myself.  Understanding who I am and how I feel.  Then expanding that connection to understand what I need and I mean really need!  It turns out those needs are rarely things. 


Taking the time to explore this has been really hard and often painful.  It has meant loss, tears and some pretty heavy emotions that I have needed to face.  Allowing myself to be exposed to the parts of me that are dark, scared, angry and upset has meant I’ve had to feel deeper than I’ve allowed myself to for a while.  But in turn this has meant that I had to start recognising true joy, love and excitement too. 


My spectrums of feelings, emotions, empathy and compassion have moved into Technicolor and in stereo.  As a result I am more connected to myself, my surroundings and all the beautiful people who are a part of my life. 


Like stepping into Oz my world has been lit up.  Just like Dorothy, I’ve started to see, feel and experience things I never thought imaginable.  Some things dark and scary, and others so awesome they make me want to sing and dance. 


And bit by bit I am discovering all those qualities I yearn for are there not just in those around me, but inside me too. Courage, heart and wisdom.


And just like Dorothy I am starting to realise that there is no place like home.  Only home for me is not a physical place.  Home is inside of me and right now true happiness lies with being comfortable with who I am.


With self-acceptance, self-love and self-compassion I am discovering and loving me and that is the most grounding and homely feeling there is. 


Everyday I’m discovering things that make me feel happy and every day I am surprised where I find them.  But most of the time it comes from connection.  Connection to myself, connection to my surroundings, and real connections with the people around me… and I aint going to find that in the post-Christmas Sales.


So whilst you’ve got a bit of extra time over the next couple of days, before you hit the shops to buy more stuff, ask yourself this:

…How do I feel? 

…What do I need?

…Then go on a beautiful adventure and find it!

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