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This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

This is a “thought bubble”. It is an illustration depicting thought. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why is it that most ‘great’ literature seems to come from tragedy or tragic events? Why is that happiness seems to be the most elusive abstract idea to write about?

I was having a conversation with a friend recently and we landed up discussing happiness, I made the throw away comment that all the literature that we tend to teach at school seems to be tragedy, and my friends and colleagues and  I laugh about this fact. Then we thought about it seriously and we all agreed that perhaps we needed to change some of our texts, afterall ‘Macbeth‘, ‘WW1’ poetry and ‘The Great Gatsby‘ were hardly ‘feel good’ texts, yet from a written perspective, sheer brilliance.

And then I thought about my blog and what I wrote about and it seemed that all my writing involves crisis and parental challenges. This has got me thinking as to why I have never written about, happiness. Did it mean I was unhappy?

I am obsessed with checking my emotions and understand the sad illness, depression so I thought about my moods and I believe they are fine. I laugh most days, work hard, enjoy my job and enjoy hanging out with my daughter so why am I not writing about happiness?

I also noticed that I wrote my blog when there seems to be some kind of ’emotional’ stress or my kids do something disasterous. Why? When we read the news, we are rarely shown positive or happy events. We read about crisis after crisis, and in any romance novel or comedy a crisis is required to engage the reader or audience. This then made me think, does it mean happiness equates to boredom?

Can we define happiness or measure happiness? I am not sure but I do know that there are hundered if not thousands of self-help books devoted to the pursuit of happiness. These books are often percieved negatively with our inner cynic yet some of us will buy them and read them and then hide them away as we are embarrassed by our desire to pursue happiness and improve ourselves.

With this in mind I decided I would try and measure my happiness. What do I need to make me feel happy?

My list involved the following:

1. Happy kids

2. Financial safety and security

3. Friends

4. A beautiful home

3. To meet and grow old with someone

and then what would increase my happiness levels

1. To travel

2. To be able to buy whatever I wanted

and then from a ‘shallow’ perspective:

1. Flatten my stomach

Out of the list I am on the first one, and actually I may not be financially secure yet but I am happy. My son is happy because he plays Rugby for the first team and University. My daughter is happy because she loves her school. We have a lovely home (although I would love someone to clean it for me.) I love my job and I have amazing friends and colleagues and I am working on meeting someone I love,  so actually, I am happy and I feel it everyday.

So why haven’t I written about being happy? I think I have not written about happiness because it is a feeling almost impossible to describe or explain. We just know the feeling. It is like the moment your child is born, there are no words suitable enough to describe the feeling.

Therefore it seems that whilst we can be happy and experience happiness, we must continue to write about crisis and tragedy as our language is insufficient to describe the feeling and state of mind that we call: Happiness!

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