The search for my missing happiness


I am a happy person, an eternal optimist some may say. But this is no accident. It has been a life-long pursuit, a conscious effort to choose happiness – to learn what truly makes me happy and to practice those things regularly.

Since I had a baby 11 months ago, of course my life has been filled with infinite joy. A simple, innate, ‘light up your world’, kind of joy. Bursting with the clichéd type of love that everyone talks about when you have a child. I have also been blessed with joys that I never expected. Like sharing the experience of falling in love with this little bundle with the ‘love of my life’, my husband (let’s call him Mr Bread). But if I’m totally honest I must admit that I seem to have misplaced my happiness – that underlying sense of peace – somewhere along the way.

I am a working mother and the primary income earner in our household. I live in Bangkok away from my family; the support network one would normally have when raising a child. But we have built a great group of friends here and have the priceless help of a wonderful nanny, who loves our baby (Monkey[1]) as much as we do. I think my feelings are pretty common for new mothers. It is no doubt a combination of exhaustion, hormones, a body that isn’t really yours anymore, unrealistic expectations from yourself and others, never having enough time, etc etc etc. It has all been said before.

It’s not that I’m unhappy, but I feel a bit flat, less joyful than I used to be. Like I’m surviving, not living. My mind doesn’t feel clear. I am more anxious than I remember. And even when my Monkey does sleep, I am not resting calmly.  While this may be a very common experience, I don’t think we should accept it as normal. To be expected, when expecting. I am committed to recapturing my joy because I truly believe that my purpose in life is to be happy. I believe that I deserve to be happy and that the only way I can teach my son is by example.

So I am going on a journey of self-discovery, re-exploring some of the truths I have learnt over the years about happiness and hopefully discovering some new ones. These are not new ideas, or even my ideas. Most spiritual traditions point to the same truths about love and happiness, but I need to make them my own, and see how they can work in my new everyday reality. Like searching for that elusive odd sock – I need to find my inner happiness to match the outer joy that I know life has to offer. So in this blog I will reflect on the ups and downs as I try to re-discover my happiness. But things don’t change only with self-reflection. We have to take action. So I will also make concrete plans of action and see where this takes me.

I know this blogging thing can seem quite self indulgent. Perhaps. But I believe happiness is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, our families and humanity. “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” -Buddha

So here goes…

[1] Hopefully it is clear that this is a pseudonym and I’m not some crazy mother who actually named her child Monkey.


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