Friday, March 14, 2014

Definition of Happiness {through the years}

My outlook on life and money has significantly shifted especially in the past 2 years.  I have enjoyed the result and a transformation of living happier for less concept. I can't deny that a transition was very challenging but it was worth the effort, sacrifice and frustration. It is like a breath of fresh air when you learn to  redefine and seek joys through simple things, and to not heavily tie happiness to material possession.

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As funny as it may sound happiness in my early 20's was mainly through shopping.

When I was bored,  I headed to the mall.
When I was happy, I headed to the mall.
When I was sad, I headed to the mall.
When I was hungry, I headed to the mall.
When I had nothing to do, guess where I went? - the mall.

It didn't help much when a shopping mall is literally 5 mins from my house.  Growing up in a very busy city / concrete jungle like Bangkok, most people's lives are evolved around shopping malls. It is not very surprising. Don't talk about spending time outdoor at a park smelling flowers or anything like that. Shopping was certainly a way to go for me. It made me feel as happy. Those pretty shoes, oh that purse, how about that top and this and that. They made me soooooooo happy.

When i was in my 20's, I relied heavily on material possession and I thought that was happiness.  It actually was but superficial and a very short lived one. Through the years and as I get older I start questioning myself about my theory of happiness.  

Why at times I was still unhappy while having everything I wanted? Why i was not content? I used to be a girl who constantly thought about what to buy next. That was almost like my hobby. It took me almost 5 years to find the answer I was looking for.

There is one situation that totally changed my perspective towards money and has significantly transformed my money attitude.I will dedicate an entire post for this later.

Happiness is truly an internal factor as well as sadness. No one or nothing in this world can really affect you as long as you don't allow it. You decide and create your own happiness from within. That was like an "Aha" moment / light bulb lit up in my head. 

I am in charge of creating and defining my own happiness.  It is a state of mind thing. We can learn to be happy with "what we have". The reason why most of us are not happy is probably because we constantly "want/need" things. Sometimes it makes you feel miserable when you want something badly that you know you can't have. I soon realize it is important to understand where I stand financially and learn to be content with what I currently have and make the best out of it. Do not compare with others because every individual's situation/financial background is totally different and unique (with that said, I do not intend to say people who shop have problems).

Enjoying life for less concept goes hand in hand with a minimalist approach which I am trying to accomplish.  These days, looking at flowers really make me feel good versus 10 years ago I knew it wouldn't have the same effect at all. 

I see beauty in a lot of things I had never seen before in my entire life.

I find joy and excitement in things i never thought  a big city girl like myself would do (digging through dirt, planting, horseback riding, cooking for example).

I stop and smell the fresh cut grass in our backyard and the fragrant of flowers in a way I never smelled when living in a city.

I hear birds chirping in a way that it makes me feel lively and cheerful.

 I think I somewhat have successfully accomplished my goal.

What is happiness to you?


  1. Well said. I felt the same way when I was younger. All my friends and I used to hang out at the mall, it was the place to be.
    Now, just being w my kids and hubby makes me happy. We can just be at home, as long as we are together, im happy.

  2. Love what you said in this post Nelah! There's a quoe that goes something like "we're as happy as we make our minds up to be" which I really believe is true. I agree that one's outlook can be the greatest factor. I find I can be happy with doing nothing as long as I'm with those that I love.

    Rowena @ rolala loves

  3. Yes I think it is something about youth. You know when you were depressed or board as a teenager and your parents would say but it is beautiful out go outside...I think it comes with maturing when you start to appreciate the "beautiful" days and then you start talking about it and sound just like your parents!

    Allie of ALLIE NYC

  4. I remember when you made the transition Nelah! I thought it was so awesome. You had reached an entirely new level. I've learned to live with less. About 4 years ago, I got rid of the excess (closet, home etc) It made me feel so good. I didn't need that top in 5 different colors etc. It's ashame what I wasted. Now I just buy what I'm truly interested in. Keep it up! You're my inspiration. Have a blessed weekend doll.

  5. this is so true. i wanted so many things when i was younger and i got even more sad when i didn't have enough money to buy it and got into a lot of trouble with using my credit card. i love the thought of living with less (although i'm far from living that lifestyle). but i don't rely on materialistic things to get me happy. such a great post nelah!

  6. this post is so poignant and even more so, this post is entirely relatable! I have been the "victim" of purchasing/buying material goods to soothe any emotional condition. Whether I was happy/sad/celebratory, I looked towards material goods to satisfy the emotional change. Then, it turned into something like an addiction. I just kept wanting more but didn't need it and sometimes, I didn't even use what I bought! It wasn't as bad as it could be for some, but in the end, I never felt satisfied and therefore, never felt happy. To be frank, only within the last year or so I have found comfort in a balance of material goods and of emotional happiness. I'm not quite there yet but, I strive to be. =)


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