What Makes People Happy
I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on what makes everyone happy. I WILL, however, pretend to be an expert on what makes me and many of the women I know a lot happier in their daily lives.
Here's my partial list:
- autonomy within my job which translates to trust that I'll get it done with results
- being spoken to in a way that respects and elevates me which translates to generosity
- having lots of free time to do the things I enjoy with translates to renewal
- connecting with people who "get me" on a daily basis which translates to community
- doing things I'm good at which translates to being of value to others and having purpose
- creating time to take care of my shit which translates to a feeling of a control and order
- surrounding myself with simple yet beautiful things which translates to a feeling of enrichment
- reminding myself to not take things too seriously and laugh as much as possible with others which translates to a feeling of joy
If I re-read the list, it is clear to me that some of my core values are trust, generosity, renewal, community, purpose, order, enrichment, and joy! The more I have space for these things in my life, the happier I am on a daily basis. Everyone's list looks and feels a little different, but some of these things are universal.
We don't have control over so much of how life goes, but we can control a few pieces of the puzzle and, by doing so, we can make our lives just a little bit happier and healthier.
When it comes to how we work (and where we work and who we work with) I find myself looking to insert all of these values as much as possible. I need to work with (or for) people who make me laugh and trust me to do my job. I need to work in a place that is physically elevating. I need to work alongside a team and not alone. I need time for all aspects of my job to create a sense of order (time for organization, time for connection, time for taking care of my shit). I need communication that is based in respect and is exceedingly generous.
When I use the word "need" what I'm really saying is "this is how I best operate".
These values also translate into the relationships I foster. I know now in my life that I cannot have a partner who does not operate with many of these same values. Or a best friend. Or a boss. The end result is more happiness! I chat with women all the time who have so many unhealthy relationships in their life and it bogs them down with guilt, task lists, and feelings of unworthiness. They actually hang out with people they don't even like! I don't get this fully, but I do know that it's super common to want to please others despite what they're not bringing to the table or how they make you feel.
When I come across these situations in my own life I re-evaluate the relationship as fast as I can and create boundaries where necessary so other people's junk doesn't invade my space.
I allow room for empathy, support, and love in spades but I do not allow room for toxic communication or rampant unkindness or people who's values are the opposite of mine. Life is short, as they say, and I will control the parts of it that I can so they are as full of happiness as humanly possible. I've been told I value happiness above all else and much more than your average person. I think it was meant as an insult when it was shared with me, but I took it as a compliment! I'm someone who skews a little sad most of the time if I allow myself. I tend to be easily annoyed and moody. I can also be pessimistic. For me, it takes a fair share of work to stay committed to happiness and it has become my greatest value.
It's not selfish to create an intentional world full of joy. It's actually one of the best things you can do to add more joy to the lives of others.
I understand the world is full of awful things. I have experienced some of them. I also understand that I cannot shelter myself from evil. It is pervasive and insidious. I will not, however, invite it in with open arms. I will not pave the way for it's entry. I will not open my gates to it's poison. And you shouldn't either.