Being self-happy part 2

Monday, September 24, 2012 Permalink

At the end of last month I signed up for ZenHabits Sea Change Program. It all seemed most apt given that I’m about to do exactly that. Literally.

I’m hoping the program’s creator, Leo Babauta doesn’t mind me sharing part of a lesson which focuses on our need to seek happiness from external sources.

I touched on this a while ago in my post about becoming self-happy. But now that I’m unemployed no longer a working girl (and I mean the kind of girl who works, not the hooking kind!) I’ve been catching up on some lessons from Leo’s course.

I Understand Life

Leo posed some questions allowing us to consider whether or not we seek happiness from external sources:

What are your external forms of happiness?
Food, wine, books, TV

Can you be happy without them? What would happen if you spent a few hours alone, with nothing to do or watch?
I would be bored and have too much time inside my own head!

Are you happy with your body?
Shit no! Not even vaguely! Am overweight obese.

Do you need to be with people?
Nope. I’m more than happy to be alone!

How do you shut others out?
Avoidance – I don’t speak to people on the phone; don’t make plans; don’t ask for anything.

Are you insecure, jealous, lacking confidence?
Yes. All of the above. I envy those I believe have what I don’t, or can do what I can’t.

Do you trust yourself?
I trust myself but don’t have ‘faith’ in myself.

Do you think you’re awesome?
Sometimes I can be awesome.

Do you think the world is awesome as it is, or do you constantly wish things were different?
I constantly wish things were different (in relation to my own life!). I’d like ‘more’.

What kind of changes do you fear?
Not having enough – of things.

What do you expect of life?
Happiness, fulfilment, contentment.

What do you expect of others?
Consideration, respect and appreciation.

It’s no secret that I struggle with the concept of self-happiness and seek solace elsewhere (usually at the bottom of a corn chip packet or by inhaling a kilogram of chocolate!). And today I’ve really struggled!

I’m feeling a bit angsty. It could be that I’ve finished work and feel uncertain about what’s next. It could be that I need to start a bloody ‘to-do’ list cos I have stacks of stuff to do. It could be that my place is on the market and I’d signed a contract, which today fell through. Or it could be that I need to decide whether or not to put an offer in on a property elsewhere or miss out.

It could be any of those things really.

And all I really want to do is sleep.

today i will be happierSo I’ve spent much of the day feeling low. I almost jumped in my car and drove the 300km to my mother’s place to hide out there for a few days I almost decided that my low mood allowed me to buy the food I love so I could binge-eat for comfort. For happiness.

Again, I was looking for love happiness in all the wrong places.

Obviously I did none of those things (oh, except sleep. I did do that!).

It’s gonna take some work… this self-soothing, self-happiness thing. But if I take it one day at a time (unburdening myself to you, as I tend to) hopefully I’ll get there.
Do you look for happiness from external sources?

PS. Did you note that I actually said “Sometimes I can be awesome.” Now, that’s progress! 


  • Char
    September 25, 2012

    I have a few ‘go to’ activities for when I feel like crap. My best is to get out of the house and do some exercise. It can’t be at a gym – it has to be in the open air where I can see water or trees or mountains. And it doesn’t have to be running. A walk is best when I’m feeling bad. Music is my other self-soother. I crank it up loud and sing along and it always makes me feel better. But if all else fails there’s nothing like a good nap.

    I hope you’re feeling better soon.

    • Debbish
      September 25, 2012

      Thanks Char. I wasn’t too worried about the blah-ness and know everyone goes through that. It wasn’t surprising for me that my thoughts turned to my external forms of comfort and happiness (food!). I realise though that you also talked about some external forms of comfort (music etc) and not everything ‘outside’ of ourselves is negative!


  • Jo Tracey
    September 25, 2012

    ummmmmm yep! It’s one of the things I’m trying to let go of, but seriously struggling with.

    • Debbish
      September 25, 2012

      I think it’s a common theme!

  • Marion
    September 25, 2012

    Hi Deb! I bet you are “often” awesome.

    I’m usually happy, but also mostly always frustrated. So I’m not ever defined as “content,” mostly because I want to do better. You’re like that too.

    🙂 Marion

    • Debbish
      September 25, 2012

      Thanks Marion. xx I had a skype session with Karen Anderson (as part of her new practice) last night and got to the point where I was able to say ‘I’m okay,’ but struggled cos I feel I need to be better than that! (Will be writing about it in next day or so!)


  • Priska
    September 26, 2012

    Hi Deb,
    I used to struggle with being happy. The struggle stopped when I discovered that we’re not always meant to be happy, lol, how simple was that. I could have saved myself twenty years of ‘How to be Happy’ work.
    Like Char, I have stopped going to the gym but I do derive a lot of pleasure from my daily walk. Taking the dog (cos she loves it) and listening to an audio book (cos I never find the time to sit and read at home) has really motivated me to want to get out and do it cos it’s now my time for fun and I’ve kept the practice up because I would rather listen to more of the book than go home and do chores.
    Is this me relying on external stuff for happiness or do the dogs happy face and the story give me internal pleasure?
    Like you said, I think that there is some external stuff that brings us pleasure and thats OK. But external stuff is always going to move on or die or change in someway, thats when we have to call on our own resources once more, in the end, it’s all we’ve got.

    • Debbish
      September 26, 2012

      So true Priska – I like that… that ultimately WE’VE all we’ve got!


  • Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
    September 26, 2012

    I struggled with being happy for years. I stopped letting food make me happy and I started making myself happy by doing other things I loved, like spending time with friends, working out or playing guitar. It is a hard change, but it will be so worth it when you get there.

    • Debbish
      September 26, 2012

      Thanks Dannii… I am hoping to get there some day!


  • Sacha
    September 26, 2012

    I love this, Deb, and am going to read the zenhabits link later this evening. Your honesty and candor inspire.

    • Debbish
      September 26, 2012

      Thanks Sacha. I enjoy the Zen Habits blog. It’s a good mix between the motivational ‘hype’ (for the want of a better word… isn’t ‘memes’ the latest?!) and some practical suggestions!


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