My new mug, pictured below, has provoked quite a lot of thought on what it is that makes me happy and that I should be doing more of. I have been pondering on the difference between happiness and contentment. I am of course not the first to have explored this subject and I did consider delving in a little deeper, but even a quick skim of google results left me with the impression that it’s all pretty subjective and that in fact I’m not sure it matters all that much! In my own very simple terms happiness is occasional, the moments of joy and pleasure experienced during certain activities or with certain people; for me contentment is more the overall satisfaction with my life and its content.
I just listened to a really good podcast in which Amy White of We are Social Butterflies rounded up her experience of Blogtacular this year (listen here) and several of her points made me really stop to think about what can result in me feeling frustrated and discontented rather than enjoying what it is I have chosen to pursue.
Firstly, I need to stop comparing myself and my business with everything and everybody else out there. I am so inclined to believe that everyone else is running a successful, well organised business with a plentitude of enthusiastic clients, and that they manage to do so in parallel with marketing their offering via beautiful, perfectly scheduled social media accounts, well written blogs and perfect networking pitches while simultaneously loving their family life and being the perfect wife/mother/daughter etc.
Secondly, I should quite honestly stop worrying about what people think of my blog and social media. In all likelihood nobody who doesn’t know me in person will read this, no one is awaiting my next blog post with baited breath, and if I take a break from social media I don’t think anyone will really notice.
What I should be focussing on is my purpose in running The Simpson Sisters. Quite simply it is to explore, encourage and enjoy creativity: by doing more of it myself, encouraging others to have a go during my workshops and by offering an inspiring space for creative people to benefit from. The idea is that making stuff is often simple, very satisfying and in my experience extremely pleasurable while doing so in good company. It is these moments of pleasure or happiness, such as during workshops, that contribute enormously to my overall feelings of contentment.
So, what else is it that makes me happy and which I should do more of? It truly is the simple stuff; I made a list actually to remind myself of these things and I’m happy to share it here:
- Family, the special times we spend together such as Father’s Day last weekend, and the ordinary evenings around our kitchen table with just the four of us.
- Gardening, it really and truly does give me a feeling of peace, simple tasks such as dead heading are as meditative as sewing or knitting.
- A glass of wine in the garden on a sunny evening with my lovely husband.
- Flowers, in the garden, on the table or by the roadside. They make me smile.
- Having something to show for my efforts at the end of the day. The days on which I make something leave me feeling satisfied and accomplished, even when the result is imperfect.
- Volunteering, it’s so easy to persuade myself that I’m too busy, but I love the regular volunteering I do and often feel I get more out of it than I give.
- Pets, I still miss Betty who we lost 18 months ago, but I love the chickens and very much enjoy the company of our borrowed doggy once a week.
The poster pictured in the barn above is something I saw online sometime last year and which I also have as the lock screen on my phone. It serves to regularly remind me of what I strive towards, and that for the most part I am on the right track. I hope you are too. x