Although not the BEST film in the world, I really enjoyed watching Simon Pegg leave his old life as a therapist and venture out into the world (really preferred it to Eat Pray Love). His quest: To understand the nature of happiness and what makes us happy.
1. “Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.” [Click to Tweet]
How often do I find myself wishing I had what so-and-so has? Oogling at adventurer’s Instagram accounts and damning myself for not being like them? Why won’t my hair curl like hers? Why am I bumming around when my friends have careers / marriages and babies? In the quest for happiness, we must stop making comparisons. We must learn to be happy just as we are, right in this moment.
I like my brown hair.
I like where this year is heading.
I like my blog.
Try thinking of 3 things you like, without comparing them to anyone else.
2. “A lot of people think being happy means being rich or important.” [Click to Tweet]
In all seriousness, would I be completely happy if I was rolling around in money? If my career made me a really prominent person? Well.. no- not entirely. There’s so much more to balance than just money alone: money doesn’t stop loneliness, or bad health, or bad luck in relationships- money provides certain joys (sure!) but it isn’t the answer to fulfillment in our life.
As for being important, I’m a big believer that each and every one of us is important. We all have a role to play; we are a cycle. Even me right now, working in a lame supermarket preparing and cooking whole chickens day in and day out.
It definitely isn’t the most fulfilling job in the world, but I help people: some people struggle to cook, they only have a 10 minute lunch break, their health is too bad to prepare their own food- I provide a service for them. Try and think of 3 ways doing what you’re doing is important.
3. “Many people only see happiness in their future.” [Click to Tweet]
THIS IS ME! I am almost always thinking about the future. Planning for the future, dreaming about the future. Oh things will be different in the future. I’ll be thinner/richer/happier. The sad thing is I’m missing out on all of the happiness around me right in this moment:
The warm, cosy fire burning next to me, feeling blissfully exhausted after a long day, crawling into a freshly made bed, how soft my skin feels. See if you can think of 4 simple, happy things right in this moment.
4. “Happiness could be the freedom to love more than one woman at a time.” [Click to Tweet]
I’m a bit of a serial monogamist so I don’t agree entirely with the quote, but I understand the sentiment. Hector has all these wonderful feelings when he meets this new woman, it’s exciting and fresh, not same and ordinary like his life with his girlfriend back home.
It depends on what we mean by ‘love’. I love my best friends as well as my partner. My family. But that’s different. I fancy other people (a girl can’t help looking!) but that isn’t love. Can we love two different lovers at the same time? Or is it more about the feelings they give us: one may give us courage, support and security, the other exhilaration, motivation or self-confidence.
If I had to really think of one person I truly love, to the same depth and breadth of my partner, I’d have to say me! It’s taken about 10 years of self-hate and agony but for now, I’m there.
I love my determination, I love my good heart, I love my yoga practice. Concentrate on 3 things you love about you.
5. “Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story.” [Click to Tweet]
How many times have we skipped out on certain details to avoid hurting somebody? Like when we’re young and mum tells us our pet hamster ran away to be with his family in the forest…
I’ve always thought that if someone did a really bad thing to me, I’d rather not know. Why would I want it hanging over me for the rest of my life?
On the flip side, sometimes you need to know the whole story- the good and the bad- in order to grow, to learn.
I wish I could undo the last half of 2011 to the first half of 2012, it wasn’t just bad, it was ugly. Still I managed to come out strong from it all, and through the heartbreak and the gloominess I found that I could travel, that I could make a fresh start. That I wasn’t worthless. Can you think of a time where the whole story has brought you sadness or frustration, but you managed to overcome it? What did it teach you?
6. “Avoiding unhappiness is not the road to happiness.” [Click to Tweet]
I was quick to judge this seemingly simple phrase. Well of course avoiding things which make you miserable isn’t the same as reaching for things which make you truly fulfilled.
We can’t go through life always avoiding things we don’t like in order to try and be happy. I have to go to work, I don’t much enjoy it, but a job is a job. If I decide not to go in today, this will not make me happy. I’ll be annoyed with myself at the money I could have earned, my boss will be annoyed, I’ll let the team down.
My younger brother avoided getting a job for as long as he could (mostly laziness, but anxiety too) but this didn’t make him happy either. If you always avoid confrontation with your partner because it makes you unhappy, then how are you two going to get anywhere? How will things change? I don’t like exercising but if I don’t do it, I won’t be very healthy or feel those energizing hormones, I’ll huff and puff just climbing the stairs (okay I still huff and puff but you get the idea). Rather than avoiding unhappiness, we need to face it head on and conquer it.
Can you think of a time you avoided unhappiness and found that doing so didn’t actually make you any happier? Now think of 2 times you reached for something good and it brought you joy.
7. “Does this person bring you predominantly a) up or b) down?” [Click to Tweet]
Onto the big one. Sometimes people are the source of our unhappiness. Toxic people who say or do toxic things. But we love them and we keep on loving them, even when we know we can’t be happy with this person. This could be a sister, a partner, a friend– anyone. This person is probably never going to change. There comes a time to ask yourself the question.
If a), by how much? 60/40? 70/30? Why do they bring you down? Could you talk about it together?
If b), you are not a mat for this person to trample on in order to feel better about themselves. You don’t deserve this kind of toxic energy in your life. Free yourself…
8. “Happiness is answering your calling.” [Click to Tweet]
How can we strive for happiness if we spend our life doing something we can’t stand, or something that limits personal growth? If you’ve got a passion for art or acting, or working in human rights or starting a business, you’ve got to filter out all the negativity from other people (and from yourself, too!). People are always annoyed when other people try to follow their dreams, saying it’s irrational or impossible, but just remember to:
Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs- Farrah Gray Click To Tweet
Travel was my calling. After failing university (twice) I realised that I needed to make the decision and go for it. I liked working with children so looked into how I could combine the two, and discovered the world of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Since then I’ve developed passions and hobbies such as yoga, diving and blogging, and who knows? Perhaps one of those will lead me down a new path.
Do you have a calling? Something you’ve always dreamt of doing? How could you materialize this dream and make it your reality?
9. “Happiness is being loved for who you are.” [Click to Tweet]
Change is important, we need to be open to change in order to grow. However, if everyone around you (including yourself) is never satisfied with you nor your accomplishments, how can we ever find happiness in ourselves?
Remove these toxic people from your life. The ones who just can’t seem to accept you for who you are, warts ‘n all.
I love my determination.
I love my love of reading.
I love my love of cosy evenings in my PJ’s watching reruns of Lost.
What three things do you love about who you are?
10. “Sweet potato stew.” [Click to Tweet]
In the film, Hector discovers the simple joy of sweet potato stew- a delicious, cheap meal he was given by a complete stranger he met on a plane. Sweet potato stew is a symbol that happiness is the simple things in life. Sure, £300 champagne and lobsters might make me pretty happy but I do not need to strive for such things. Happiness is a fish and chip dinner in front of the TV with my god-mother. Happiness is making little cookies from scratch with my nephews. Happiness is finding whatever you’ve got left in your cupboards and creating a meal to share with a friend.
See what you’ve got lying around, make something tasty and share it with someone!
11. “Fear is an impediment to happiness.” [Click to Tweet]
How can we be happy if we’re overrun with fear? A fear of flying, a fear of trying new foods, a fear of social settings, we all have fears. I’m not demanding you need to overcome it right this moment, nor am I saying that forcing yourself through a fear will make you happy.
My big fear is being alone. I feel I spent a great deal of my childhood alone and since I was a teenager and started dating, I’ve had an uncontrollable desire to find my soul-mate and be together forever. My fear is break-ups, my fear is the painful ache of heart-break, my fear is turning out to be a huge disappointment.
Now I’m a little older, I’ve started to learn that being alone can be refreshing. It gives me time for me. Most importantly, it allows me to grow and become whole in myself instead of desperately searching for someone else to do it for me.
Do you have any fears? How do they stop you from being happy? Think of some small steps you could do to try and break free from your fear.
12. “Happiness is feeling completely alive.” [Click to Tweet]
Can’t dispute this one!
I tried out a new yoga class last week and even went with my mum. This was a breakthrough for 2 reasons: 1) I don’t go out much and haven’t attended a yoga class for 2 years, and 2) This is the first time Mum and I have done something just us girls for a loooooooooong time.
When I left that class I felt on top of the world. My juices were flowing and I felt like I’d achieved something good, something really happy. I get the same feeling when I publish a blog post, or go walking in the countryside, or finally nail a song on the piano.
Can you think of three things/activities which make you feel completely alive? See if you can incorporate them more into your life!
13. “Happiness is knowing how to celebrate.” [Click to Tweet]
Whether you’re celebrating your own success or the success of a friend’s, you gotta celebrate in a way you love! Some people love all night partying, others like to invite their friends over for a bottle of wine (or a sleepover, never too old for a sleepover!).
I was offered a new job and my family and I went down to the local for a delicious Sunday roast. I haven’t plastered it all over my social media as honestly I don’t really believe it’s happened! But also, I find it hard as I tend to receive envious responses.
Be proud of your achievements and those of the people around you. Envy is a toxic thing and will hinder your happiness dramatically.
Suffering with Fibromyalgia, even waking up with less amount of pain as usual is an achievement for me. Or being able to finish a shift at work without getting stressed out. What have you achieved today/this week/month/year? How did you celebrate?
14. “Listening is loving.” [Click to Tweet]
Sometimes you just need someone to sit beside you and listen. Sometimes that’s all friends or family need of you, too.
Giving someone your undivided attention is one of the best gifts you can give. And it costs nothing.
One night a couple of months ago I stayed up with a friend who was suffering in silence and simply listened, accepted without judgement and embraced this part of them they had been keeping quiet for so long.
I’ve found the more I listen, the more people are willing to listen to me, too. Try to devote time to listen and love.
15. “Nostalgia is not what it used to be.” [Click to Tweet]
I don’t know about you but I can’t help thinking about ‘the good old days’ from time to time. The sand on my toes when I went to the beach with my friends. The ice-cream van’s tune coming down my road. Riding my bicycle down hills and feeling the air whooshing past me.
The ironic thing about this quote is it says that even these good old days aren’t good anymore. That the longing itself (for how things used to be) isn’t as good as the longing used to feel. Maybe this is because Hector found that after his life-changing trip, the things he used to look back on and miss do not seem that important to him anymore.
Nostalgia is fine, I think, so long as you don’t find yourself living in memories of your past and wishing, hoping, that things will go back to that time.
Breathe, trust and let go. Embrace today. Yesterday is gone.
16. “We all have an obligation to be happy.” [Click to Tweet]
Absolutely! The very fact that we are here now, exactly as we are, is a downright miracle. Think of all of the conditions that had to happen in order to bring you here today. The least we can be is thankful that we wake up each morning with air in our lungs and a road full of possibilities ahead of us.
We only have a limited time here in this life, with these exact conditions, surrounded by these people who we love. Do we need to strive for something to be happy? Do we need something in particular in order to make us happy? Are we missing something which if we had (money, love or otherwise) would make us happy?
……. NO. Happiness is within ourselves. We do not need to attain anything in order to be happy. Once we can understand that we are happy as we are, everything else in life are beautiful bonuses.
17. “Learn to love as you’ve never loved before.” [Click to Tweet]
We’ve talked about love quiet a lot here. Love for a partner, a friend and of course self-love. I’ve always found falling in love a bit too easy. I think it’s because as I hadn’t felt loved before, I loved someone deeply simply for showing an interest in me.
Loving makes you alive and human. I dated a guy once who had love issues and I hope that one day he moves past it (if he hasn’t already) and loves someone with all of himself. It’s a magical, uplifting feeling!
Always try to love yourself as never before. It’s very true that you can’t be right for someone or love someone deeply if you aren’t right for you; if you don’t love yourself first. That means each day, allow yourself to love YOU just a little bit more, fully accepting you for you. I wish I had tried this 10 years ago– still, better late than never!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these 17 Happiness Quotes and my interpretations of them. Please let me know and let’s have a chat in the comments!
For now I’ll leave you with William Martin’s – The Parent’s Tao Te Ching:
“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”