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On Wednesday, I published a post called 10 Things That Make Me Happy and it got me thinking. So today, I’m asking What Makes YOU Happy?
I had a bit of writer’s block when I was planning this week’s posts and struggled to decide what to write about. I think I was anxious after writing a few posts over the last couple of weeks that have been fairly well received. It makes me worry that the next post I write won’t be as good. But then I get stuck not being able to write anything at all. Thanks a lot, Brain!
Anyway, I started writing 10 Things That Make Me Happy, because I thought it would be an easy post to churn out to break through my block. But I was surprised to find that it was actually really difficult to write. Not because I’m unhappy – I have good days and bad days with my mental health, but on the whole, I’m reasonably happy at the moment – but because I realised it’s not something I think about very often.
I spend a lot of time thinking about what will make everyone else happy, but I rarely think about what makes me happy. I suppose, as a mum, that’s fairly natural, right? My kids’ happiness is far more important to me than my own. In fact, my happiness hinges on theirs. And I’m OK with that. But my own, individual happiness is important, too. It shouldn’t have taken so much effort to think of 10 things that make me happy.
So then I started wondering where we should draw the line. If we think of our own happiness too much, are we being selfish? But, if we think of our own happiness too little, do we risk becoming resentful of those around us? There has to be a balance and I think it’s one that lots of us struggle with.
So what makes you happy?
Can you think of 10 things that make you happy? Just off the top of your head, without putting too much effort into it? They don’t have to be big things. I have naps, cheese and sunflowers on mine. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference to our day – and to our mental health.
I wrote a post about Why Self Care Is So Important and I talked about how taking just 5 minutes out of your day to do something for yourself can make a big difference to your sense of wellbeing. I think the same applies here. We should be taking time out of our day to enjoy something that makes us happy. Or even just to acknowledge that something we’re doing makes us happy. For example, I watch my children play together every day, but I rarely sit and just think about how much joy that brings me, without using the time to think about all the other things I should be doing around the house. Just occasionally, we need to be putting ourselves first and taking the time to be grateful for the little things that make us happy.
I want to be clear. I’m not suggesting that you forget about everyone (and everything) else and put yourself first at the expense of those around you all the time. But the world will not end if you put yourself first sometimes. You should not always come second – or third, or worse – in your own life. Self care is not selfish. Allowing yourself to be happy is not selfish.
Maybe I’m the only one who stresses out about this? Putting myself first becomes this big exercise in anxiety, where I worry that everyone will think I’m a terrible mum/wife/friend/person if I admit that sometimes my happiness is about more than the people around me. Or I worry that they’ll think I don’t love them enough or that they’re not enough to make me happy. Right now, when I’m not feeling anxious, I know that’s stupid. But that’s the frustrating thing about anxiety, isn’t it? It just doesn’t listen to reason.
So, if you’re anything at all like me, if you think that your happiness is somehow less important than someone else’s, I’m here to tell you that what makes you happy is important and I want to hear about it. Please leave me a comment below and tell me what makes you happy and how you’re going to make time for yourself today.