Surround Yourself with What Makes You Happy

We hear it just about everywhere these days. Surround yourself with what makes you happy. Fill your life with what you love. 10 Ways to be happy. Let go of whatever doesn’t bring you joy so you have space for the good stuff.

As many of my readers know, I’m a meme junkie. I’m addicted to memes. So many memes are swirling around in my head that I can barely think outside of those pretty meme boxes.

So for far too long now, I’ve been soaking in these memes about filling your life with what makes you happy. And I’ve been trying to do just that. And running into brick walls with utter frustration and bafflement with every attempt. It took me awhile to pinpoint the why of that frustration and sense of failure. It took a long conversation with a good friend recently to help me finally put it all together…don’t laugh, though I did when I finally figured it out.


Can you believe it? I had to shake myself and pinch my own arm to make sure I wasn’t just dreaming. I mean, my life is by no means perfect, far from it. And yet, the primary reason why I was getting so frustrated was because I was chasing after something that was already mine. No wonder I couldn’t find it “out there”, it was in here, inside of me, all this time.

Not to say that I’m still not having to deal with that tugging inside of me for “more”, an ever-evolving yearning to keep moving forward into the next adventure and to unwrap the next new tidbit of joy that comes from learning or discovering something new. I’m forever feeling that draw to stretch myself towards new possibilities.

I think it’s healthy to have that yearning, I no longer see it as an indication that I’m not already happy with what I do have here and now. As I said a few posts back, we were not born to stagnate…we were born to be continually evolving, to experience, discover, learn, reach for the stars and enjoy every tidbit of adventure along the way.

But we’re innundated with this message that we need to do this or that in order to be happy. Get rid of this, add this, try this, avoid that. It’s bewildering and tiring if you try to follow everyone’s advice and every meme’s directions to get there. In fact, in my experience it did everything except bring me happiness. The quest for happiness led me further and further away from my own self. And what could be less joyful than being separated from the self that knows you better than anyone else?

Yet, I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working for me. I even asked myself “What makes me happy?!” At first I kept whining “I don’t knowwwww”. But then as I began to listen better, the answer kept coming at me “I already have it.” “No”, I would say to myself, “You can’t possibly already be happy. There has to be more to it.” “Well” I would say back to myself, “well, let’s make a list then.”

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. I love making lists. So I did. I made a list of the kinds of things I could surround myself with that would make me happy.

Loving husband – check

Good friends – check

Food in the fridge – check, check and triple-check (two fridges, a freezer and two pantries stuffed full)

Being able to live life at my own pace – check

Good relationship with God – check

Knick-knacks from my family past – check (I liken them to surrounding ourselves with their light and love)

Souvenirs from our travels – check, lots of magnets on the fridge that remind me every day of our wonderful adventures abroad

Travelling – check, we’ve had such fun seeing so much of the world already, and we’re not done yet. More to come!

Nice colours in my clothes closet – check, lots of orange, orange always makes me feel good when I wear it.

Beauty – check; roses and marigolds still blooming in the garden, leaves changing colour, squirrels playing in the back yard, sunsets and sunrises that take my breath away….lots of beauty everywhere I look.

Aside from the complex clutter in my mind, I’m actually a fairly simple person. I don’t need a whole lot of material things (other than orange clothes, LOL) to make me feel complete or happy. So as I made this list and checked it twice, I realized how very content and quietly happy I genuinely already am with my life. So what if my happiness isn’t a big exuberant bubbly jumping for joy all the time. That’s maybe what I’ve been searching for, but it’s just not me. I’m not a joy jumper. I’d probably never be a contestant on a TV game show because I don’t jump for joy. I’m quite boring in my joyfulness. It’s a quiet, peaceful contentment that draws a heart-felt “thank you” throughout the day, and sometimes even songs of praise and thanks to my God here and there.

In many ways, I’m very very adept at complicating life for myself. I admit that I might even have a tendency to sabotage myself, though less so now than in earlier days. I struggle with angst and fear of failure, and with a constant drive to “do it right”, to live each day as best as I can with kindness and grace. I overdo it. I overdo it, perhaps to compensate for past mistakes and the regrets that some of those failures left behind.

It can be much simpler than that tiresome searching for something I think I need, something that those memes insist I need….the simplest way to find it is to be still long enough to realize that I already have it. I already have it all. I already have a life surrounded by the things that make me happy. I did that. Years ago when my life was shattered and left me fumbling through the rubble, I figured out what I needed in order to build myself a life that I could want to wake up to in the morning. I figured out what would make me happy, and then surrounded myself with that. I’m there. There’s no need for more. Only to just wake up every morning, and live this wonderful life that waits for me to – as my friend Kelvin put it – to jump right into it.

Those memes and their messages are helpful in their time and their place. They can provide inspiration and perhaps road markers to get us started. But at some point, we need to just step back and consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, we’re already there. We’re already happy and just forgot to sit still long enough to enjoy it.

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Copyright © Sharon C. Matthies, Meanderings (blog), 2015. All rights reserved.
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About Sharon

I love to write. I love to write myself into being right here right now. Writing releases something in me that needs wings, writing opens doors and windows that I often don't even realize are possible, writing helps me breathe out the dusty old, and to breathe in the new and possible. My hope is that maybe writing here in this blog will bring new light into these dusty old hallways and help me to clear out the thinking processes and mindsets that just don't work for me anymore. I seek to breathe new light and life into the nooks and crannies of a soul that has been feeling somewhat lost and frayed because of the last few patches of road I've had to travel.
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5 Responses to Surround Yourself with What Makes You Happy

  1. Angelika Schwarz says:

    You’ve come along way Baby! Wouldn’t that have been wonderful to have read your own article 10 years ago? But sometimes the rocky road is necessary to reach that special revelation and the path that leads to it, heightens the reward. This is a beautiful and heartfelt article; it depicts the way you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you so much, Angelika! And I’m sorry for being tardy with my response, I was sure I had answered you earlier this morning. Yes, there is so much I wish I had known 10 years ago, 20 years ago. I seem to excel at complicating even the simplest things by overthinking, and underestimating myself. It really is, or can be, as simple as waking up each day and just jumping into the day with joy, rather than with angst about doing better or more or going in circles finding the joy that’s already there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Angelika Schwarz says:

    I did alot of planning and I guess you could say overthinking, what my retirement was concerned. And I’m glad I did, because now I’m harvesting the fruits. Without the foresight and the worries that went along with it, I wouldn’t be enjoying my life as much now. So planning and thinking things through can get you to places too. Who says you can’t do both.. enjoy the present and prepare for the future. :-)… butI know you are doing that too. So it wasn’t all in vain. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon says:

      I fully agree that both are necessary. We make the choices, wise ones we always hope, to get us to the place we envision for ourselves. I think the overthinking part comes in when we’re chasing after some of the intangibles, like peace, joy, happiness…we can plan and make choices to a certain extent, to ensure that we’re surrounded by the right nourishment for our souls and bodies (to ensure longer good health), but at some point, as I’m finding right now, I have to slow down the chase and just relax against the good that I’ve managed to accumulate, both the physical/material and the soul/spirit good. I was driving myself crazy with this endless desperate search for “happiness” and in so doing, was totally missing the wisdom – and simple joy – of just jumping into the happy life that I already have built for myself. Missing the tree for the forest sort of thing?


  3. Sharon says:

    Angelika, I love your comments and insights. xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

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