How Happy Are You?

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Yesterday I found a piece of glass in the street. Dark green and smoky, the edges rounded as if fashioned by an artisan. I picked it up and put it in my pocket. It nestled, snug, as if it had been cut to fit. As I walked home it sung to me, faint as my far off childhood; nudging me with memories of sea glass found on Irish beaches.

I held the glass in my hand till it grew warm. Bubbles of light converged in the thick of it, splitting the colour like grass in the ocean. I wondered where this glass belonged, abandoned on the side of the road. Who had made it with such care then discarded it? I also wondered why holding it in my hand made me feel so happy.

I have been through a lot lately, but then again, who hasn’t? It sounds almost trite to say so, but trials and tribulations are to a certain extent, the stuff of life. Many psychologists say that things don’t always need to be going right for people to be happy. I am inclined to agree. I am a little stressed but not necessarily unhappy. I see instances of joy everywhere I look.

So I took a test a friend told me about. The Happiness test. Happiness is a concept that is discussed a lot these days. What constitutes it, the pursuit of it, whether or not it is in fact, attainable. To me happiness seems so metaphysical that I doubt any test could fully gauge its presence or absence. But this test came up with some unexpected results for me, even though I gave what I thought were quite negative responses in some cases.

Who would’ve thought that I am –

Free and happy
You really have got happiness down to a fine art. You’ve got a brilliant approach to life.

At the core of your approach is the understanding that if you’re not happy, then it’s down to you to sort it out. There are things you can do about it – changing the way you think, feel or the way you handle your problems. You have the confidence and self-belief never to simply accept misery as a way of life.

You believe in yourself and your ability to get through things. You’re not smug, but at peace with the real you.

It could be, of course, that you aren’t 100 per cent sorted in all areas of your life – work, play and love – and that’s natural. Or it could be that you lack some happiness skills, such as goal setting or managing your emotions.

The result of this test makes me feel, well, sort of happy. Maybe you don’t have to have a lot of stuff and success and a home in the Bahamas to be happy. Maybe I’ve been missing the point for years. Maybe what I think I’m looking for has been right under my nose the whole time. It’s a realisation that’s liberating and scary all at once. How much time have I wasted saying “I’ll be happy when…..”; “I would be happy if….”

There is an African proverb that says:

“From contentment with little comes happiness.”

Do I dare to believe it might be true?

How do you define happiness?

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12 thoughts on “How Happy Are You?

  1. I am surprised with my test results!

    Free and happy
    You really have got happiness down to a fine art. You’ve got a brilliant approach to life.

    At the core of your approach is the understanding that if you’re not happy, then it’s down to you to sort it out. There are things you can do about it – changing the way you think, feel or the way you handle your problems. You have the confidence and self-belief never to simply accept misery as a way of life.

    You believe in yourself and your ability to get through things. You’re not smug, but at peace with the real you.

    It could be, of course, that you aren’t 100 per cent sorted in all areas of your life – work, play and love – and that’s natural. Or it could be that you lack some happiness skills, such as goal setting or managing your emotions.

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  2. Meleah – I am not surprised with your results. Despite your recent hardships there is an underlying sense of joy in your writing that always shines through!

    Miss Britt – well, thank you so much!

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  3. “There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery” –
    — Dante alighieri

    And nothing makes one appreciate happiness more than to have experienced and survived through times of misery.
    In fact, if someone led a life without trials and tribulations and stress would that person
    truly know what happiness is? What is day without night?

    “A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it: it would be hell on earth. “ George Bernard Shaw.

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  4. Selma, a great post and yes, I agree with you test, you seem to be content and happy. It oozes through your posts! Happiness seems fleeting–changing as emotions do–contentment seems more stable, it sticks around in good and bad times.
    I think at the base of all of this is a healthy sense of self-respect. You trust yourself to make the right decisions, you take life as it comes and you live in the present. You know you can weather the storms, etc. That’s my American two cents…

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  5. DavidM – you always include such moving quotes. I particularly love the George Bernard Shaw one, that is so like him! I agree with you, you must experience the downs to appreciate the ups. There is no way out of it!

    Laurie Anne – your American two cents are always welcome. You are so right, you have to trust yourself to live the best life you can. I like how you describe happiness as fleeting. Perhaps that’s why we’re so bent on finding it because we know we can’t restrain it.

    Ms Karen – knowing you makes me happy. Sounds soppy, I know, but I just wanted to say it!

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  6. I think the fact that you can find pieces of glass like that in the street and let them give you a glow of happiness says a lot about your general level of happiness and your openness to being happy. I think the real problems start when you let issues cloud your openness to life. I took the test too and got the free and happy result.

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