I was always a person who sought happiness and yet it eluded me a great deal of the time. I believed that if I had that bag, that hairstyle, that house, that job, then I would be happy but as I got older, I realised that no amount of money could buy happiness – it is a state of mind.
From a young age, possessions were important to me and could make or break happiness. I remember my excitement one Christmas as I had asked Father Christmas for make-up (I think I was ten). Thinking about the make-up I was going to receive made me incredibly happy but when I received it (sorry Mum I know you’ll read this) the happiness disappeared. It was a plastic Charlie’s Angels make up set that wasn’t real make-up.
A few weeks ago, my daughter wanted an acrylic nail set – this apparently was going to change her life! She had to wait four weeks to receive it and the anticipation brought her such happiness. She was so excited the day it arrived and used it a few times, but what brought her the greatest happiness was what she imagined it would be like – not what it was like.
Jobs can sometimes be like that too. Waiting to find out if I have an interview – joy at discovering I do. Waiting to find out if I have got the job – joy that that they chose me. Waiting to start….joy on my first day. I have discovered though, that with some of the jobs I have taken, the happiness has ebbed away shortly after starting – thankfully, that is not the case with my current role! So what happens? I think for me I imagine how things are going to be, in my rose-tinted way of being and then reality hits like a two tonne truck. I think that can be especially hard for NQTs. They get their own class for the first time but not only do they have to teach, they also have to deal with everything else that teaching brings with it. That is why it is so vital that they get the support they need so they don’t lose their joy.
Okay so back to happiness. I think I am happier now than I have ever been in my life and it is not because of what I have. It’s because, as I said at the beginning, that I have realised happiness isn’t about having things but it is actually a state of mind. I am happy because I choose to be happy and it is a choice. There is a Buddhist saying:
In order to be happy I had to reframe my thinking. I had to change ‘I will be happy if….’ to ‘I am happy because…’. Happiness is here today, right now, in this very moment. You just have to choose to grab it!
If you find that hard to do here is my top tip…put on ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams and clap along to it – that always works for me. Choose happiness – you deserve it!