Health, Wellbeing, Happiness

The Pursuit of Happiness

It’s what we all want isn’t it…..to be happy?  I know I do….and it’s not that I’m not happy.  I think modulations in our moods is quite natural and normal.  I do have happy days and some not so happy days, but the ultimate pursuit of happiness still eludes me as there are some gremlins I have that often derail it.

I decided to write on this topic as it is so relevant to how I’ve recently been feeling.

In my pursuit of happiness, I decided to start this blog.  I love to take photographs and though not a professional photographer, I thought this would be a great way to improve my photography skills and familiarise myself with a newly purchased camera.  I love to write.  I’m not a journalist nor a professional writer, but have done quite a bit of writing in my line of work.  Writing provides a wonderful outlet for self expression!  There is so much in my local area and beyond that I see that is beautiful, and I always find myself wanting to snap it into a photograph to capture and share the beauty, and there is so much self-expression inside of my mind just bursting to get out.  So, this blog was begun to indulge my love of writing and photography, to share my part of the world with others, and to provide me with a creative outlet .. in my pursuit of happiness.

I have drawn an image below (not my best artistic creation but does the trick) that explains what has been happening.  Imagine I am driving a bus – ‘my bus’.  My destination – in the pursuit of happiness – is:  Happiness, Self Confidence, Self Esteem, and Pride in Self.  When you drive a bus, you don’t have control over what passengers jump on board.  Take a look at my bus and see what kind of passengers are on board.

I will explain this as it has been for me over the last couple of days.  I am driving merrily along in my bus in the pursuit of happiness by the creation of this blog.  Starting out, I was driving along singing to myself, happy as Larry, and those passengers you see were not on board.  I was excited, bursting with ideas and stories to tell, loving the endless creative opportunities this blog provided to me.  Then the passengers jumped on board.

Self Doubt started whispering in my ear.  “You’re going to make a fool of yourself”, “Look – you’ve only had 12 likes on your Facebook page.  It’s a sign – no one is interested in what you have to say.” ” I don’t reckon you can do this Min.  Do you think you can think of something to talk about every day – HA”. “You’re going to bore everyone to tears.  What you find interesting is not always interesting to others”.

Self Criticism started shouting at me “You’re not even a proper writer or photographer”, “No-one will read your blog posts – you’re too boring”, “You’ve only got 12 likes on your Facebook page.  No-one likes you. You’re an idiot for even thinking of doing this.”

Perfectionism started saying “Oh my god – people are going to expect such good things from you.  You have to do this properly and there is so much you have yet to learn. You are bound to fail.” “Look at all those ‘proper’ bloggers, how can you compete with them”.

Anxiety stammered to me “It’s gonna fail Min.  How embarrassing. You’re going to look like such a fool.  What are you going to write about tomorrow, what about the next day huh”. “Maybe you should just delete it all and go back to your anonymous world where this kind of creativity and self-expression is just a dream.  It’s much safer there.”

That is just SOME of what my passengers have been telling me, and I turned around and  listened and let it affect me and bring me down….and….it’s exhausting!!  I lost sight of the original purpose of starting this blog.  I let my passengers derail me.  As driver of the bus, I lost sight of my destination!  Who cares how many likes I get on the Facebook page.  Who cares if no-one reads my blog.  This is primarily for me!!  I have to accept that I have no control over who jumps on board my bus, but I also must learn to not listen to what they say and let them distract me from my purpose.

A publication called “Taming the Black Dog” by Patrick Ellverton says: that irrational and unjustified self-criticism inflicts more and more damage to our self-respect each time we do it – and it is cumulative.  It also says that low self-esteem follows self-criticism.

Here is another extract from the “Taming the Black Dog”:

Remember some of those old wise and tested adages?  ‘If you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything.’ ‘Always look for the best in others.’  If these sayings are appropriate for how you should think and talk about everyone else, then they are appropriate for you.  So, if you have nothing good to say about yourself, shut up!  From this moment on, whenever you have a self-critical thought, kill it with the words ‘Shut-Up!’  Then summon up a success thought about yourself and say ‘Now that’s good.’  Keep a bank of good thoughts ready to be used on these occasions:

  • Recall the help you have given to other people
  • Admire your attainments
  • Warm to your love for someone and their love for you
  • Relish your successes
  • Think about your current objective
  • Focus on your purpose
  • Remember the people you admire
  • Say aloud, ‘I am succeeding and I am proud of me’
  • Look forwards, not backwards.

I have always had this innate need to be liked by others and have the approval of others.  This makes me feel very self-conscious and  diminishes who I am.  It quashes my creativity and ability to be myself and express myself as I would like to, for fear of disapproval or rejection.  This innate need fuels ‘my passengers’ and their ability to derail me.

No more!  Ok – so these passengers travel around with most bus drivers.  Some handle them better than others …. but this bus driver is not listening to them anymore!  I want to be free to be me, without caring what others think and so … I am back in control of the bus and I will reach my destination, enjoying the journey along the way.  I will be the bus driver who appears to have a tic…..shouting out ‘SHUT UP’ quite frequently!

Oh … and if you read this … pop on over to my Facebook page and ‘like’ it if you haven’t already.  Haha – only kidding 😉 … just thought I’d end this post on a light note!

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6 replies »

  1. OMG you are truly one of the most creative people I know. You are right get those thoughts out of your head. I am so proud that you are doing this and you have an outlet for the creative genius within. On a lighter note I have been meaning to get Jack to check that I have been “liking” your blog!! The technical person that I am!

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    • Oh Vicki – you’ve always thought me to be more creative than I believe I am myself. So nice to think you’re proud of what I’m doing. Don’t worry about whether you’re ‘liking’ my blog LOL. You have been my most devoted fan from the start, always commenting and liking. I’m very lucky to have such a lovely friend 🙂 xx

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  2. Don’t stress so much Min. My blogs have been going for 3.5 and 2.5yrs and for most of the first year of Diet Schmiet and first 2-3yrs of Debbish I had NO comments. Even posts that I laboured over and did draft after draft over a period of a month or two – nada!

    I try to remind myself that I do this for me (because I’m passionate about writing), not for others and that helps.

    Deb

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    • Hi Deb – yeah I’m a doosh – got a little sidetracked for a bit!! I’m in it for me too for all the reasons I listed in the post. I have to keep remembering that. It’s early days – I’m still shaping my blog into what it is ultimately going to be as I get the feel for it, learn more about the blogging world, and based on what the stats tell me. I am loving blogging and that is what matters most 🙂

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