Thoughts on the importance of happiness |June 2016

 

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*Written in June 2016, Sydney

Sometimes words of advice stick with us forever. We heard them as we were growing up, we can still hear them now. We hear the voice who spoke them. We recall times they were shared.

Whatever the situation in hand was, no matter how small or large, my Mum always said ”I just want you to be happy”. I didn’t realise, until I sat down to think in preparation for writing this post, just how much her wish was ingrained in my psyche. I am extremely grateful to have lived a very happy life, to date. Saying that, I could get blown away by the #SydneyStorms tomorrow, who knows.

When things have being going awry in my personal life I have done my utmost to keep my head above water in work. There has always been another channel on which to focus the goods. My career has never let me down. If anything, it has often been the bolt holding me together. I like to think that we all have something that keeps us true to who we are at the end of the day, regardless of what else we might be juggling on the side.


I’ve never had reason to question my views on ‘being happy’ or ‘happiness’ as it were. But recently I am noticing more folk who are quick to pick holes in how others live their lives. I post every day on social media, so naturally people are going to form opinions on my shares. I acknowledge that fact. I also appreciate that everyone has a right to say what they want, whether I like it or not.

A handful of my friends have often quipped ”Shut up, you’re too happy” ”No one is this happy all the time!”. I have always done my best to laugh at them, to brush it off. Knowing they are teasing as though we are back in the playground.

Recently I’ve seen a few things online that have made me think about just how important our inner state of happiness is. And how crucial it is for you to grip onto whatever makes you feel really good, regardless of what others may think.


I would admit to being happy 90% of the time and can only fix on certain periods of my life where I know I was decidedly not so. Cue the flashbacks of the breakup that took me two years to get over in my early 20’s. Two years sounds excessive but it was that long before I started to feel a little bit like myself again. Love does bizarre things, especially when you lose it.

Life throws a lot at us sometimes and I haven’t always come out in tact the other side. Burned bridges, illness, injury, missing home, disappointments in work and the most difficult of all; dealing with death – these are just a few obstacles we may have to tackle.

To say I could be on point while enduring these times would be ridiculous. A lie. It would also be completely unnatural. Many things in our lives are about balance – to fully appreciate the best highs you have to experience extreme lows too. So in light of my aforementioned friends comments, indeed they are right – no one can be that happy all the time. Not even me.


Your outlook on your life effects everything you do. Your work, relationships and friendships are all a by-product of what you give out on a day-to-day basis. Fact.

One blast from my past used to say all the time ”You’re so happy”, ”You’re too happy”. I would laugh and shake my head at these words. Sure enough, I soon saw him as a dark area in my life. His attitude didn’t gel well with mine. I felt like he was trying to suffocate my enthusiasm. I soon realised we were not matched. Not at all. He didn’t have the appreciation for life that I had. If anything my positivity wore him out. But there was no way I was going to change – my swift exit did us both a favour.

The happiest couples I know look at their world in the same way. They make the most of it together – I really think that’s how it should be. If someone is draining the sunshine out of you, they are most certainly not for you. It pays well to notice this sooner rather than later (easier said than done). No one wants the energy sucked out of them because someone else can’t keep up.


Being happy comes naturally to me, probably in-part due to my Mum always wishing it upon me. I am grateful to be aware of how to nuture my own wellbeing. It is something we should all do more often. Work out what makes you feel good, inside and out, make sure it is weaved intricately into your life.

Many times I’ve been asked ”Are you always like this?”. Once was on a train back from a festival in London, four years ago in July 2012. I clearly remember a girl asking me what I thought was an absurd question. I have had to defend my chirpy outlook far too many times. As though how good I am feeling is a bad thing. ‘This’ is how I was born. My disposition is naturally bright; I also set about magnifying it as best I can.

Since moving to Bondi in May I will eagerly tell anyone who will listen just how much I love it here. Whether that be in person / over the phone to family / through my daily Instagram pics. I can’t pinpoint an exact reason, I have many, I just know I love the bones of this place! As a traveller who is now settled for a while, I think finding the place you really love has to be one of the greatest joys of travel. Of life.

Meanwhile, at home, my 10 year old sister is obsessed with Bondi. She watches Bondi Rescue and talks about the beach every time I speak to her. I love how much she loves where I live even though she is yet to visit Australia. A world (and 20 years in age) apart – our appreciation for Bondi is a connection we share.

Any comments I receive that mock my happiness often come on the subject of my dedication to Bondi. Do I need permission to post what I am passionate about on my social media accounts?. My little sister checks my Instagram every day. She loves to see images of Bondi life. My pics from the Bubble won’t be stopping any time soon.

If said little sister ever reports a bad day at school I always, always focus on the best bits of her day. We don’t make too much time for bad times in our family. We always look to the positives. If I could wish for anything in the world for my family it is to be happy. Whatever they do, to be happy about it. I see now that that is what my Mum always wished for me, and she got her wish tenfold. If you are full of the joys of life you can’t ask for much more.


Many of the people we cross paths leave us as quickly as they arrived. Often we find that people stick around for a short period, to guide us to see things differently. One of my (now) best friends was once crying into her hands down a backstreet in Thailand before I knew her name.

I offered to talk. I tried to help her to clear her mind. I did my best to cheer her up, to make her as happy as I could without prying too much into whatever had brought the tears. I didn’t know her at that point so my best bet was to gently remind her that we were in paradise. I encouraged her to take in all the good things around us at that unique time in our lives.

She soon pulled herself out of her blip. Our friendship went on to become unbreakable. She is one of the most jubilant people I know. I thank all the stars that I crossed her path that night. Her spirit had been broken for a short time there but she soon sorted herself out and came back happier, stronger. Everyone learns something from their worst days. 


The positive feeling we are lucky enough to call our own isn’t something that we can buy. But it certainly is a gift. Joyful people are thankful for the tiniest things. If you make a conscious effort to appreciate more widely, your mechanics will soon enough make you think in a more upbeat way. The more you eat, the hungrier you get right?.

Yesterday (and again today!) I woke up to harsh wind and rain swirling around Bondi. I haven’t experienced such British weather here before!. As soon as I registered that Winter had well and truly arrived I thought ”Plans are off the table, what can I do indoors?”.

My mind then raced back across the globe to my wardrobe at home where my favourite navy jacket is hanging, unused in the English summer – what a waste!. Back to Bondi and I wasn’t about to weather-wallow. I got up and started writing. I chose to ignore the stormy bump in the road and made the most of my Saturday.


If you have experienced loss you will know that when people leave this earth we treasure the special times we shared with them. We re-live the best of the best moments again and again. Fortunately those memories never fade. Nor do the glowing faces of those gone. We don’t look back thinking ”He was grumpy” / ”She moaned a lot”. And why would we?. Why would anyone ever want to focus on darkness?.

Life chucks enough curve-balls at us whatever our health, wealth and status. Our lives are short and damn right they go fast!. I feel it is our duty to make the most of every single day as best we can. Be determined about it. Make a conscious effort to be your happiest version of you.


If you are guilty of digging at others for enjoying their life perhaps you should assess why you’re saying the things you do. My happiness and the positive outlook I share online has been picked apart a few times. The same people often saying the same things more than once. Surprisingly enough I did hear them the first time – I purposely ignore them because I know what makes me happy. It isn’t living in their heads, it is staying steadfast in mine.

What if these comments ended up making me afraid to express my feelings because I became worried about what would be said?. What if I lost my confidence and stopped writing?. That is not a proud circle to be a part of. Of course this is no real concern for me, but for others it might be a different story. Sometimes we really do need to remember that people are sensitive souls – a few detrimental words could effect someone’s whole outlook. We are all different.

Interestingly any negative opinions have only ever come from (a handful of) men. Women seem much more at ease with sharing in each other’s happiness.


In our life, our attitudes are infectious. Think of a time you have worked with a really positive, upbeat boss. Compare it to a time that you have worked with someone who walks around like bear with a sore head. Who would you rather work for? Who would you work harder for? There is no question.

As I was writing this one of my lovely friends from my London days shared ”Wow, I love my life” on Facebook.  Three of her friends in turn commented ”I love your life too”, ”I love my life too” and then a simple but strong ”love life”.

Seeing this made me happy for her!. Not only was she proud enough to share with the world that she was in a good place but her friends were quick to support her good feeling too. In a world where social media influences so much of our thinking – this is the kind of thing we need to see more of. Positivity breeds positivity.


Life can be trying and absolutely ”The worst day ever” at times. Some of the most content people I know have been through hell on earth. Losing loved ones in tragic accidents, battling cancer, starting-over after failed marriages. The list of difficulties can be endless. But people miraculously rebuild and find strength, seeing themselves as lucky to be where they are now. I admire so many people that have crossed my path.

When you feel good it is easy to tell others to feel the same. When I have been down I know my loved ones have become exasperated with me. Almost losing the will to keep my spirits high, but that’s what we do. We pull each other up when we’re down and we ride Cloud 9 together when the going is good.

I most certainly haven’t got it all, far from it. If I sat down and thought about the ‘things’ ‘missing’ in my life there would be some ginormous gaps straight off the bat. I’m single and childless at nearly 31, in a world where 30 is deemed the age by which I should have both of those boxes ticked. I could go on.

If I spent my days trapped in thoughts about what ‘I don’t have’ my world would spiral. Would that make for a better life?. A better life for everyone who interacts with me? No. My point exactly.

Life is best when you make the most of it in any which way you can. It is really important to lift other people. Look out for them when they are struggling, be happy for them when they are happy.

Once you begin to actively appreciate the value of your own happiness you will find yourself living an amplified life. Everyone you come into contact with will benefit from you just being you.

@LaraLain

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