Happiness is something that every single one of us wants. No one purposefully seeks to be unhappy. (Except for that weird Silas dude from the Da Vinci Code, maybe…) It’s built into us from the moment we take our first breath of air and start screaming. We want to be cuddled, soothed, given in to, pampered, appeased and accepted.

But how happy are we ever? From one to Pharrell Williams, how happy would you say you are? Being happy, or seeking happiness can be very confusing. We may think that eating MAGNUM ALMOND ice-creams every day, 3 times a day, would make us happy, but that happiness will go out the window the day our doctors bill arrives and we have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and have to poke needles into our stomachs for the rest of our lives. Plus, no more MAGNUM ALMOND’s again? Ever? Smells like un-happiness to me.

It’s tempting to think that we need to fight for what we want to be happy. That if someone says something we don’t like, or takes a stand against us – from their opinion on Crocs (eeuw!) to their viewpoint on the political situation in our country – we have to fight them, put them in the ground, prove them wrong and ultimately exonerate ourselves and our own perfect opinions to be happy. That that would make us happy?

Only, what I realized not too long ago, is the more I fight a point, the more un-happy I become. Because all I end up wasting my energy on is fighting, and I miss out on so much of the good stuff that is still out there. Not much fun.

Never get into a fight with a pig, because all that happens is you get covered in mud, and the pig has all the fun – Dharma & Greg

So where is the balance? How do we know when we are finding happiness, or pushing so hard for it we end up covered in blood?

Seems to me happiness is a tightrope of carefully placed tensions. As a child, I believed that happiness was something I got from being given what I wanted, but the older I grew, the more I realized that is not true. Happiness is a process, an effort, a go-and-get-‘em – or maybe just a state of mind?

I don’t have all the answers, but I have had a lot of fun exploring the topic over the past 4 weeks. How to live your life like a rainbow has been shoved up your every moment has been an enjoyable journey for me, and I hope you have all had fun with the Rainbow series too.

For my last installment on this topic, I would like to speak about a concept shown to me time and time again:

1000_wordsLiving 80/201000_words

It seems that in everything we do or experience, there needs to be a time when we can take a break. Nothing in this world is black and white, and it’s the wiggle room that gives us the opportunity for some sweet, sweet relief.

pink_shoeAll Work makes Pami a dull girl

In Part 1, I spoke about how important it is to be a child from time to time. But in part 2, I shared the importance of being an adult, and an authentic adult (part 3). The trick is to live 80/20. Being all grown-up-ity about careers, nutrition and taxes can sometimes exhaust us with the mundane. So be a little bit naughty on the side. Whatever is naughty to you, once in a while, just go for it. Nibble chocolate, drink a glass of bubbly on a Tuesday, get shamelessly flirty with your hubby in public, or even better, get WICKEDLY flirty in private. Read something you ‘probably’ shouldn’t (be it Heat magazine or MeanGirls fan fiction), and watch a little girl-porn (I mean shoe websites, of course!)

Taking mini breaks from being the responsible adult we all know you are is as good as taking a holiday – and much easier on the credit card than 10 days on a Thai beach.

pink_shoeLove Yourself

You have to be kind to yourself. You can’t be 100% on form all the time, 100% perfect all the time, or even, (wait for it, ladies) 100% right all the time. True story. So remember to take that 20, and be kind to yourself.

This is NOT an excuse to throw a pity-party 24/7, but there are times when you will fail, you will let yourself and others down, you will be less than stellar, and you will come last. It’s ok – you are only human after all, just like the rest of us.

Remember that you are the kind of person who reaches for things (how else could you ever have failed?) and get back up when you fall. Once you have mastered remembering that failure is a sign of progress, shake the dust from your tail feathers and shimmy on to the next thing. Life is not lived in a straight line – there are highs and lows, constantly varied cha-cha-cha’s. You just have to keep pushing forward and you will get through anything.

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pink_shoeThink of Others

We are not bad people, but we can get so caught up in our own stresses and daily troubles that we forget to be gentle with others. No need to be a doormat, but a please and a heartfelt thank you goes a long way, especially after a week of meetings, traffic, broken nails, appointments, baby-bath times, dwindling bank balances and time pressures. Try to remember that those you care about have things going on in their lives too, and if you need to set a reminder on your phone to send a follow-up sms to your friend who was writing an exam or visiting the in-laws, do it.

Try to help people when you can because not only will it make them feel good, it will make you feel good too. We are social creatures and designed by nature to connect with each other. It takes a village, right? Spending all your time doing all your stuff is fine, but saving a little time to actively think of others will create so much more happiness in your life. Doing little things like offering to pick up your friends child from day care when they are having a particularly difficult time, or bringing in the post when you visit your mom – every gesture will make a difference.

If you simply don’t have the time to consider someone else in the moment, do your best to at least say thank you to show your appreciation of them. Husband and I say thank you to each other every day for the basic things – like when I cook, or when he pours me a glass of wine, or when one of us sets the table – we make it such a habit to say please and thank you that we find it easier to appreciate and acknowledge each other in the tough times.

I read somewhere that ‘Sorry’ is the most disarming word in the English language and I have to agree. If you stuff up and someone is about to blow up in your face, saying sorry can stop them right in their tracks, and not only will it help you move on from your moment of stupidity, it will set a leak in their hot, fuming gasket and let out some of that steam too. And really, how hard is ‘Sorry’?

Perhaps something has happened and it seems the world is against you? Our instincts might be to fight to the death, to never be wrong, but that kind of collective external negative affirmation might be a glimmer of a clue that you aren’t perfect after all. Use those times to be humbled, swallow your pride, say sorry, and focus on what you can do differently next time.

pink_shoeWake Up

You might think I’ve digressed into a Miss-Manners speech, but bear with me. Thinking of ourselves and thinking of others has to be in balance. Sometimes it’s important to put others ahead of our own wants, (any good mother will understand this one) but there has to be a reserve of 20% for ourselves or we will loose ourselves in the needs and wants of those around us. Sometimes it’s right to be all about the numero uno, (when in poor health, suffering a tragedy or trying to break through a wall in our own personal lives) but there should still be a 20% awareness of those around us throughout it all. The trick is to know the difference, and to never fall into the 100% trap.

I could go on and on about this. How when trying to loose weight, eating 80% healthy nutrient rich foods and saving 20% for treats will work better than any fad diet you have ever heard of because it’s sustainable. How when trying to further your career you have to give it 80% (which is a lot – most of us cruise along at about 60 or even less) but should always reserve 20% to take a break and avoid full on burn out at the end of the day. But I think you get the point.

o-LOVE-YOURSELF-facebook

I will, however, leave you with this.

If you feel that you spend your entire life doing things right, giving your all and doing what you need to do to make life better for those around you, yet you still don’t feel happy because no one is ever paying you the same kind of consideration, giving you anything you want/need/desire, maybe it’s time to magic up a little happiness for yourself?

After all, you are the only person you have to live with for the rest of your days, so you may as well be nice to you. I’m not talking about the basic things we do for ourselves, like eat or sleep or read – I mean the cute things we do for others when we like them.

Imagine you are your own secret admirer. What would you do for a girl like you? Maybe it’s a spritz of perfume, even though you are only going to bed. Maybe it’s putting out the good napkins and having a candle-lit dinner even though no one is coming over. Maybe it’s a long bath with fresh lavender soaking in the water to make you feel special. THIS, ladies, is why lingerie was invented – I’m convinced! I bought myself a gorgeous bunch of roses the other day, not because I was sad or because I wanted husband to see the kind I like – just because I saw them and though they were absolutely beautiful and so I bought them for myself as a treat.

It doesn’t take much – but is worth every effort. So remember to set that 20% aside to do things entirely, completely and unashamedly for you. Because, as Loreal says, You’re Worth It.

Be beautiful, inside and out

Pami-sign

 

More in the Rainbow Series:

pink_shoeBe a Child

pink_shoeBe an Adult

pink_shoeBe Authentic

pink_shoeLive 80/20


IMAGES: Unfortunately I lost all info on image sources for this post. Please refer to disclaimer.