Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year - Take 2

Oh dear, now I'm on backtrack mode about the happy new year thing from my previous post. It seems my husband and other readers took it that I don't like to say or hear "Happy new year," like the Grinch who stole goodness away from the whole year and slapped hands for even thinking about pleasure and happiness. Erg! My fault; I wasn't very clear.

Actually, I don't mind saying or hearing that friendly, well-wishing greeting at all. In fact, I say it a lot, like when I answer the phone or shopping at the store, buying a coffee, on blogs. And I mean it. For everyone (myself included) I wish for good times ahead, a year where love, peace, joy, good health, and happy times flow amply. Positive thinking is a good thing and greetings like this are likely to contribute to more happiness in the world through psychology's concept of self-fulfilling prophecy or the ripple effect.

So when I wrote: I've been slightly bothered by the phrase "Happy new year," I didn't mean bothered as in irritated or annoyed, rather more in the sense of perplexed. Saying and hearing it so often at this time of year makes me think about happiness in general and the pursuit of it.

This seems to be a good opportunity to look at my own need to be happy and what I do to get there. Ten things I did in pursuit of happiness in the past (and with a few exceptions in the present as well):
  1. Eat sweets, especially chocolate.
  2. Shop for shoes or clothes.
  3. Call a friend.
  4. Buy art supplies.
  5. Write morning pages.
  6. Cook a special, fancy dinner; maybe invite friends.
  7. Go out for breakfast, lunch or dinner with my husband or a friend.
  8. Call my parents or sibling.
  9. Bake cookies, cake, sweet bread, etc.
  10. Play card games on my computer.
Huh! A bunch of these things have to do with food. Well, that's no surprise. Using food to medicate is a life-long habit. Just thinking with my keyboard here...

what's under my behaviours
avoidance of
loneliness, boredom, grief, despair

and what's under my avoidance
maybe a sense of entitlement
a sense that I deserve to be happy

and what's under my sense of entitlement
maybe it's ego, a strength of will
seeking control

shall I look at
avoidance, entitlement and control
from a different perspective
shall I say instead
a whole me
notices what is
and accepts lack of control

what if I let myself feel despair
stop trying to push it away
invite it into my heart
allow it to be a part of me

and despair is just one
shame, anger, loneliness, sadness and fear
are her sisters
I push them all away
maybe in small part
because of some intrinsic belief
that I need always to be happy

maybe if I don't run
from anti-happiness
maybe then
happy will be all the brighter
when it's with me


  1. We deserve to be happy.
    Yes, but I sense that
    we don't know what that really means...
    Sometimes it's not at all what we thought
    it would be
    Sometimes I think we don't understand
    our own best interests!
    When we are all learning
    here in a classroom
    (that is really disguised as a blog)
    It's easy to get rid of the shame
    and get back to learning!

  2. You know, I really liked wishing us all a "whole new year" like you suggest in your previous post. That, to me, is a very happy thing: a Whole New Year! And it's just exactly what I want and need.

  3. I'd also like a whole new year and wish the same for you...

  4. Happiness is a wonderful visitor... to be welcomed when it comes for a stay. But for me, I am learning that I don't have to be threatened when the unpleasant emotions visit, especially when there are valid reasons for them.

    I don't have to numb them with food, or try to escape, using my "drug of choice". That I will be just fine, honestly facing them, and not running away. That I need to tolerate the frustrations, the harder stuff a little more. To not crumple at the first UNhappy emotion.

    It has helped me to think of it as the tide... high and low tides, coming and going, revealing things along the beach at low tide...

    I've enjoyed these two posts, they made me think.

    And I liked the "whole new year" too! It has such a feeling of Promise to it.



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