Monday, 15 February 2016

Working On Being Happy

To some of you, that title may seem silly. What do you mean, 'working' on being happy? Happy is just how you are, isn't it?
Maybe to some, but to us melancholics, happy is a state that we need to consciously work on. I am not a naturally happy person - believe me, I wish I was - but that just isn't my reality. Relying on God and reading His Word has helped me a lot, as has blogging and all the encouraging words I read at other blogs, but I still need to work at it every day.

That's why I was pleased this week to find this post, appropriately entitled Being Happy, at Life Is Good. The title of that blog post and the name of the whole blog just sums up how I really want to be.
The post lists guidelines for being happy. Again, this sounds silly to those naturally happy people. But for a melancholic who loves list making and list following, this is a perfect solution for me!

I also acknowledge and accept that this is a major part of my lack of happiness problem. I just can't seem to embrace the 'bloom where you are planted' concept. Things in my life have not gone the way I would have wished and I admit I am having real difficulties with that. But one of my daily prayers for 2016 has been to try and let go and just let God lead where He will. I need to let go of the resentment I feel and the lack of control I feel over where my life and that of my family has headed and just live for now. And God will take care of the future. It may not be what I had in my mind, but His plans will always be more than I could ever have imagined. I pray this verse every day.

I realise that I am making my hubby's life and that of my children not as happy as it should be with my moping around. Not that I am saying anything about it, but just being sad around them and not being the best wife and mother I can and should be.

So I am going to:

For me, it definitely means making that choice and sticking with it every day. And if that means following a list, even if I don't feel happy, so that I can act happy, then that is what I will do. And eventually, with God's help, I am praying to actually reach a state where I am happy where I am and don't need to follow lists to help me.

I am hoping there are others who understand where I am at, maybe have been there themselves and come out the other side. I am sure that I can beat this, but I would love to hear from anyone else for whom this has been, or still is, an everyday reality.

I am linking today with Darling Down Diaries for Good Morning Mondays,

and with Strangers & Pilgrims On Earth for The Art of Home-Making Mondays.


  1. I find being happy pretty exhausting (to be very honest) - I am working on just trying to be content. At least them I am happy on he inside even if I do not show it.
    Society screams discontentedness at us in so many ways - the carrot a-dangling stuff....
    Great post - loved it.

    1. Thank you. I probably should have used the word content, as I agree, that is a much better state to achieve. People seem to think they should be deliriously happy all the time, when quiet contentment would be so satisfying.
      I think too that society associates our right to be happy with buying stuff as we deserve it - holidays, expensive cars, clothes and jewellery - so many people think that is where happy comes from.

  2. Hello Jayne,

    I found your blog yesterday through Life is Good and immediately came here to become your newest "follower". I've met Karen (or Happy One from over at Life is Good) personally and she truly is an optimistic and happy person.

    When I came here today to read and found your post on working on being happy I thought that I would leave a comment for you to let you know that I do understand your plight to a degree. I have a health issue that leaves its mark through chronic pain, which can often leave me feeling "down and out" if I don't keep on top of things.

    "Keeping on top of things" for me basically is seeing God in every thing and everyone around me...right down to the way the sun shines across a wooden floor and the shadows it casts. :) I'm also a "list maker" and so one of the "lists" I keep is in my Gratitude Journal. Every day I make it a point to list at least five things I am thankful for right then. It is part of my morning quiet time with the Lord. Being reminded of those things first thing really does help to set the mood for the rest of my day.

    Karen mentioned about realizing that there will always be someone better off or worse off than ourselves and that we don't need to compare ourselves to others. That is another BIG one for me. At one point in my life I was totally miserable because of constantly comparing myself to others. I found it truly does lead to discontent with ones own life. Jesus died for me and rose again that my sins could be forgiven. How could I be discontent? I did...but only because of comparison. I'm grateful for the way He worked in my life to change that area of my life.

    Another way that I've learned to be more content and happy is when I am in pain, which is pretty much every day, to focus on others. I write notes, letters, make phone calls, bake a special treat, etc. Getting the focus on doing for someone else rather than myself makes life fun again.

    I'm adding you to my prayer list and will be praying for you each day. I'm looking forward to God's blessings on your life as you care for your husband and children...and getting to know you better.

    Grace and peace,

    1. Dianna,
      Thank you so much for visiting and following, but especially for your kind and encouraging words. What a blessing it was to wake up this morning and read your comment.
      It must be terrible to be in pain every day, but you seem to have reached contentment with it. I agree, if we really want to play the comparison game, there will be never be anything to compare to Jesus dying on the cross for us, so why compare at all?
      I feel very blessed by your words and that you have chosen to follow me - thank you so much. I will be praying for you also.

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  4. Good morning Jayne. As a fellow melancholy I can emphasise with you about the issue of happiness. But we also need to question the terminology of happiness and how it line up with scripture. In my opinion the bible doesn't focus so much on being happy but rather focuses on being content, satisfied and joyful. One may ask isn't being happy all of those things? I would answer not necessarily. To me being happy is a societal, perhaps you could argue a modern construct. Happiness is an emotion that is based on ones circumstances. The problem is as you mentioned in your post we are not always in control of our circumstances. As a melancholy who is also a procrastinator I often find myself in a state of anxiety and discontent because my environment doesn't match up with what is in my mind. I also fret when life circumstances which are out of my control are contrary to my internal dialogue. This is where as a Christian we have the ability to overcome and be more than Happy. Paul sais that he had learnt to be content with what ever circumstance he found himself. To me contentment means knowing where your source of Joy comes from and looking towards Christs for our needs knowing that He is in control. Of course I don't mean that we should just roll over and accept anything that comes our way. Of course some circumstances as illness or obstacles to the salvation of family and friends are to be resisted through petition, but it needs not rob us of our Joy as the bible tells us that the Joy of the Lord is our strength which I believe is a marker of who are as a believer with an eternal hope. My apologies for such a long post. I don't mean to preach, actually I think I'm preaching to myself. You're absolutely right that we should not allow discontentment rob our family of Joy. As mothers and wives we often set the tone for the household. I pray that in 2016 we learn to be more content and live in the moment with the Joy of the Lord that transcends our current circumstances.


    1. Thank you so much, Therese, for the blessing of your kind words. I just mentioned in a reply to a comment above that I probably chose the wrong word. You are right, the word I meant would be contentment. Happy definitely has a societal twist now that I don't like - in that, people feel that have a right to be happy all the time, that they deserve that and should do all they can to make that happy. It is all about making themselves happy though. I was thinking the other day that the words sacrifice and serving others have become almost bad words, as though we should all just look out for ourselves. It makes me very worried for the society my children will grow up in, especially as Christians are a minority. Will they be taken advantage of, as they seek to be kind and serve others? It is a bit of a dilemma, I think. Maybe another post there?
      Again, thank you for your kind words. I am going to get off the computer now and get busy for the day. I find I need to keep moving and busy - stops me dwelling too much.

    2. When you think about the living conditions of people in the third world (such as where my husband comes from) or people living a century ago, I think that they would be more than happy or content with one tenth of what we have. My husband was one of 6 children and slept in a double bed with all his siblings on a dirt floor. Now we complain if our mattress isn't plush enough. Even these days people have to collect wood and cook on an open fire, where some of us complain about having to cook in our electric oven or microwaves. I've observed with my own children that often the more we have the more we want. Certainly food for thought.

    3. Absolutely true! I sponsor children and they send letters thanking you for the simplest things that they have been able to receive from sponsorship. One girl was so thankful to receive a tin pot to catch rain water so they could drink clean water. We are definitely not thankful enough in the Western world.

  5. I'm sorry to hear you are going through this because I am too and I know what it feels like. Actually I hit rock bottom just before Christmas because of stress and anxiety of traveling to see all the family on either side and how awful it makes me feel. I look for the simple joy in life and practice mindful living but I find that it does not help if others are not being mindful to you. I've been melancholy since I can remember. I think we live in a terribly self centered world and some people can be quick to judge and hurtful. I'm a terribly sensitive introvert. It's comforting in some way to hear your story so thank you for being courageous in sharing this.

    1. I know what you mean about Christmas - it is a very stressful time for me too. I would so love to just stay at home with just us, but it never works out that way.
      We certainly do live in a self-centred world and people can be so hurtful, whether deliberately or just through not thinking about others' feelings. I am sorry that you are also going through a bad time, but in some ways it is nice to know I am not alone in this.
      Thank you for sharing this with me.

  6. Jayne...

    My blog "Happy in Dole Valley" is called that because I daily stive for happiness. I completely get this post as I'm a meloncholy, too. As I once told someone, and I think I blogged about sometime ago, no one would want to read "Meloncholy in Dole Valley" now would they? :)

    For me, it's the remembering who God is and who I am in Christ Jesus. It's remembering His promises and, yes, being in the Word.

    Psalm 146:5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.

    And so while I may struggle wit meloncholy, I am indeed happy as I know you are, too.

    Hugs and love to you!
    xo Lisa

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely words. It feels lonely to be a melancholic, but maybe there are more than I think and we are all just striving to hide it away. You are right, no one really wants to hear about someone else's unhappiness.
      I guess our happy just looks different to other people's. My hubby is always mentioning other women that are so 'happy' because they are always so chirpy and, to me, a bit over the top. I know that will never be me, but quiet contentment is enough for me.
      Have a lovely week and thanks again.

  7. Good morning Jayne! I live with a melancholy person and it does so affect the household. Praying that you find contentment and joy in the Lord and the circumstances you are in. It helps to let go of your expectations and work to be a blessing to your family each day in the little things. Your home will glow from these efforts and perhaps one day you will awake to find out your life is just what you hoped for... as you have created a special retreat of peace for your family from the rest of the heavily distracted world.

    1. Thank you so much, Jes. You have said exactly what I am praying will happen. I am focusing on the little things and letting God take care of the rest.
      Thanks for your kind words.

  8. Dearest Jayne, I've missed seeing you on my blog roll these last couple of weeks. I hope everything's going all right in your life!

    As for happiness, I know what you mean. I waver between euphoric happiness and mopiness almost all the time, never knowing what the next day might bring. It is such a struggle. And those are the days when I always need to remind myself that no matter what happens, no matter what darkness or evil deeds I see, no matter how frustrated or anxious I become, God is still in control and He still has a plan and purpose for my life that will bring me a hopeful future. But it's always, always, always an uphill battle to remind myself of that so simple truth. May He continue to remind us both, on a daily basis, that He is our joy and that He plans to prosper us. Hugs!