As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and take a look once in a while, you could miss it.” And that’s why from time to time, I check in with myself to make sure I’m happy. I never want to wake up some morning and realize I haven’t been true to myself. (Sure, we are rarely 100% happy with everything going on in our lives at any given time, but as long as the happy-o-meter tips toward mostly happy, that’s sufficient to me).
One of the most eye opening thoughts about leading a happy life was something I came across randomly. The person mentioned that there are two facets of happiness: Enrichment – the feeling that comes from love, relationships, family, friends, and Fulfillment – the feeling that comes from personal growth and achievement from your life’s work, career or other personal accomplishments. That was kind of an a-ha moment for me because “they” (you know, who they are) say that family and relationships are the most important things for happiness as though you should never want for anything else. So if you do “want for something else” there is basically something wrong with you or you don’t value the people in your life enough. IT’S SO NOT TRUE. For me, it’s definitely the difference between enrichment and fulfillment. We all need love, but we all need to feel a sense of fulfillment from the work we do because…well…simply…in this life we need to work to live. That’s a lot of time that needs to be spent away from family, so it should be spent on something worthwhile! If we could spend all of our time with our families, perhaps that would be enough. But we can’t, so we also need personal fulfillment.
And this really isn’t limited to a career. It could be volunteering and doing charity work or a fierce love of quilting. It’s just something you do on your own that gives you a profound sense of accomplishment.
This may not be how I will assess my happiness in the future, but for now, it works for me. I do believe that the Eastern philosophical notion of contentment through just “being” is probably the higher road to aspire to, but I admit that I’m just not evolved enough yet as a human to pull that off. Maybe someday.
In the meantime, I will “do” and enjoy working. Here’s a sneak peek at a new painting I’m starting soon…
Do you check in with yourself once in a while to make sure you are doing well and on the right track? How do you measure your level of contentment? What contributes to your happy meter?