happy or content, which is better?

are you happy?

what exactly does that mean? people claim to be happy, but are they really? and, what actually constitutes as happy? what makes happy, happy?

i wrote in a previous post about the drudgery of my life. my dear hubby was a little miffed and confused by this critical description of my current phase in life. i explained that it wasn’t meant to be negative, but rather an observation of my life at this moment i7n time. he seemed to understand, but i don’t think he actually did. our lives are actually quite different; his and mine. he has this whole other part that does not involve me at all; another part that i can’t really even talk with him about because it’s about computers and tech things that i know nothing about; another part that includes a myriad of people i don’t know. his life outside our home is a bit of a mystery to me in many ways. not because he is secretive, but because it is beyond our family and the four walls of our home.

my life is not a mystery at all. dear hubby knows all the ins and outs of my life, the routines, the people we see and the places we go, because he participates in those activities. in fact there is nothing fascinating, stimulating or intellectually challenging about it. my life, my every day revolves around the needs of my family. my kids are top priority, as is my husband, then the house, the car and i guess i fit in after the car, but before the garden? not sure.

this shattering realization about myself hit me smack in the face several weeks ago. like really, SMACK, in the middle of my brow leaving a mark to remind of the lack of value i place on myself. and, because i place such little value on myself, others follow suit without even realizing and without meaning to be hurtful. how is it that my needs, however big or small, have been worthless enough to ignore for so long? 

my life is pretty dull as it cycles through the daily, weekly routines meeting the needs of others. a few weeks ago someone close to me asked what i wanted to do in life, where i saw myself in 5 or 10 years. i sat there and was unable to come up with an answer. i have no goals, no aspirations, which is honestly quite unlike me. i have always been working towards something whether it’s been with schooling or saving money for a big purchase or whatever. 

it’s as though i have given up on myself. my life. it’s as though i am here only as a vessel to help my children navigate through childhood into adulthood, and to support my partner in his goals and aspirations.
(augh, i write that and i am embarrassed and ashamed that i have allowed this to happen.)

it doesn’t even matter how i got to this place, but what does matter, is that first i find a path that will eventually take me to the road i want to be on in life. in MY life. i have to step away from my kids and dear hubby, and allow myself space to focus on my needs, so that i can start to feel whole again. so, that i will re-learn how to place value in myself. my worth cannot come from others, but must come from inside myself, for myself.
how did i not know this before? isn’t this the kind of thing oprah has been jabbering on about for years? how did i not hear it or understand it?

so, am i happy? i think, at this point in my i’m actually looking for long term, consistent contentment and satisfaction in my life, rather than happiness. because, as surprising or confusing as it may sound, i think i am actually already happy with my life. i am happy for everything that i have, the people, the things, the experiences, the adventures, the heartaches… i am happy with all of it as it is all a part of my journey. 

my self worth obviously is not connected to my happiness. 
my happiness obviously has come from external elements.
my happiness does not guarantee satisfaction with my life.

this mama has some self-care to get to right about now.
how you at tending to your needs?
are you happy? 
how do you know you’re happy?

xo, mama lola
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  1. says

    This is definitely a though-provoking post!

    I think each of us get to define “happy”, and I think, not only is it ok, but it’s awesome to get to a place where we can look around and say, “I’m happy. This is where I want to be in 5-10 years. I’ve reached it!”

    Sure it’s always good to have a goal or two to work on, but I don’t believe they necessarily have to be life changing ones!

    I’m going to go ponder this a bit more.

    Thank you so so so much for linking up! (:

  2. says

    Visiting from Tidbit Thursday : )

    Yes, thought provoking. I suppose you are right that you can be happy but not content. I think all moms can relate to this. I know that I feel a whole lot more content since I started my blog. I get to express myself and make goals. I just love it : )

  3. says

    When our kids were about 8 and 10, I suddenly saw the next ten years and realized, this moment I have right now, where I am focused entirely on them, will not be forever. As the years tick by, they will be stretching and growing and turning into their own persons, and I will have to be letting go. I might as well stretch and grow with them. I started making time for myself, for my hobbies and interests, and now 8 years later, I’m so glad I did! It’s made the future, my future, open to all sorts of possibilities.

    • says

      michelle, thanks so much sharing your experiences. sounds like you had great supports as well. i am enjoying my small pockets of time away and as i get better at stepping away and meeting my own needs, i think i will really start to feel the benefits of it. thanks for stopping by!

  4. says

    Happy with where you are… then there’s no shame in that. Happy with where you are going… that’s a good thing. Happy and content. Good.

    If not, then pick something to change … just a little change may make a big difference. Meanwhile, you’re focus on your family is a good goal to have. And it will challenge you daily!

    Thanks for sharing so openly what many of us feel inside and keep to ourselves because we’re afraid of what others may think. I’m surprised to find that I share so many of my “inside thoughts” with many other women. We’re more alike than we realize.

  5. says

    So much of what you wrote, is exactly what has been on my mind lately. I wrote something on this in my journal, but wasn’t quite ready to add it to my blog. I’ve only been writing and sharing for a little bit, so I haven’t gotten over the shyness yet. Thanks for the post, look forward to reading more.


    • says

      thanks for stopping by courtney. i find being honest and sharing openly on my blog very therapeutic. it can be hard knowing so many people know what’s going on in my head, but then on the flip side, there’s something comforting about that.

      your readers will appreciate your honesty, no matter how deep or personal your content is.

  6. says

    oh it’s so true…… and it’s so good to be able to write about it and read about it. But our lives are not necessarily as open as we may think. I realized, as my husband was looking at a series of photos I shot of our youngest son, that he doesn’t really know our days either. He was laughing at the absurd poses our son was doing and so I told him, aaahhh, you don’t know what we do during the day! We are busy! I told him how Luke told me to take his picture and he made up these poses and I just kept on shooting….. I agree that our happiness, our contentment does come from within ourselves and our children don’t really belong to us, but rather are an entirely distinct species all their own. I love to remind myself of that and to be thankful that I am able to catch a glimpse of their childhood and remember what that was once like. I tell myself that to get through the drudgery of the chores of a houseful of people whom cannot seem to remember to pick anything up and put it away…..

  7. says

    You need paint and brushes. Get some! Art saved my soul. I can relate to this all too well. It’s hard to say you are unhappy when you are surrounded by so many good things. People will say, “What do you have to be unhappy about?” I am most content and most happy when I am doing my work. That work might be painting, cleaning out the closet, or writing. I like having goals and accomplishing things. Painting has done that for me and it is something I love. I think that combination improves happiness and contentment. I still have moments and periods of feeling sort of second place in my own life, but having something of my own has reduced those moments greatly. I’ve also created a community around it and now have my own “secret” life…or things to talk about that my husband doesn’t already know about. I hope you find that thing that makes you realize how much worth you truly have!

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