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How to find out the things that make you happy

(19 Posts)
Mamaka Sun 05-Jun-16 18:23:05

I'm posting this here as I know relationships is a busy board and I've also seen advice here to do the things that make you happy as a way of feeling fulfilled rather than expecting dh/dc to fulfil you. So how do you find out the things that make you happy?
Bit of back story:
Been married 5 years got 2 dc. Dh and I are up and down a lot and have split up for a while and got back together. I am seemingly never really satisfied and can be a perfectionist which I don't like. Today I feel fed up and grumpy and don't know what to do with myself (after having nice but very tiring day out with dh and dc). I don't really have any hobbies, I see them as a "waste of time" (don't like this attitude but can't shake it). I've just been away with old friends and had a lovely time but don't get to see friends that often due to age of dc (friends don't have kids yet). I can't figure out what I'm good at although I know I'm bright and articulate. To make it all worse I seem to be putting weight on, I've always been slim but I like my food and today I caught my reflection and I look a good 2 sizes bigger than I'm used to. Had an abusive childhood which doesn't help matters as I never feel "good enough" and nobody else is good enough either. I am thoroughly fed up with myself and my life and seem to be losing myself to the role of bored and bitter mummy.
Any advice please?!

Mamaka Sun 05-Jun-16 18:28:12

Oh and I do work part time in 2 different jobs. One I enjoy and the other I don't and am giving up soon.

Inexperiencedchick Sun 05-Jun-16 19:07:47

I used to think I'm not good enough as it was at my childhood...

Now I accept myself good enough for myself and it's enough.

Things make me happy:

Flowers, nature, children's smiles and tears, morning shower, nice song/music, a walk, clean household,etc etc... I usually feel happy from very little and simple things.
No hobbies at the moment, and haven't had them for a long time.

Hope you will find something that makes you enjoy yourself. Good luck, 💐

HappyNevertheless Sun 05-Jun-16 19:17:06

You will need to try different things and see what works for you.
I personally have found that, when you start trying things like this, you find some are boring, others very enjoyable. And then some are enjoyable for a while and then they aren't fulfilling anymore.
Keeping curious about things is the key!

I'm curious to see why it is you see 'hobbies' as a waste of time. And what do you call a hobby.

Because if a hobby is anything that isn't work, going out with friends or exercise, what the heck do you do when you are at home? HW and TV??

One last thing is, avoid MN, FB and the Internet in general. I found that these are making everything worse for me (incl not wanting to do anything at all)

Mamaka Sun 05-Jun-16 19:25:49

I don't watch TV and I'm not on FB. So when I'm at home, yes housework (if that is what HW is) and I like to read books and articles online, I like cooking (and eating!) but that's about it. I think seeing hobbies as a waste of time comes from my childhood which was all about hard work and being pushed to achieve.
Maybe I'm just really boring?
What kind of things can I try?
I don't exercise either!

schmalex Sun 05-Jun-16 20:15:44

Exercise might help you feel better OP, I find it is essential for my mental health. Is there a local running group you could join, or maybe try a couch to 5k plan?

Mamaka Sun 05-Jun-16 20:52:09

There are local running groups and my sister also wants to start running. I'm a bit scared as I must be very unfit. Last exercise I did was year 10 P.E.
I think I would prefer something like kick boxing to take out my frustration but don't know where to start!

chakachumchom Sun 05-Jun-16 21:18:33

I'm on a similar journey to you with young DCS and now wondering what I like to do for me. I've started doing a lot of crafty stuff... loads of ideas have come from Pinterest which is great as I've created boards to reflect my interests as I've seen ideas pop up.

I'm currently putting a scrapbook together of interior design ideas from my interior design magazines and having a go at creating mood boards. It's something for me and a bit more exciting than watching TV! smile

Mamaka Sun 05-Jun-16 21:30:16

Mood boards sound fun chaka! It's good that you've found something to get into. I still don't really know where to start. I just know what I'm NOT into!

Mamaka Mon 06-Jun-16 08:33:02


TheNaze73 Mon 06-Jun-16 10:14:43

I think exercise is my "thing" per se. Especially if you do a group class like boot camp. The endorphins from exercise are marvellous & you get to meet some great people. Certainly helped me when I felt a bit disillusioned with life

HappyNevertheless Mon 06-Jun-16 10:28:50

What sort of articles do you enjoy reading? Any particular subjects?
What about joining a reading club and share your love of books?

Apart from reading, what do you enjoy doing when you are at home?

Do you like gardening, singing, drawing, colouring, art and craft, decorating the house, DIY?
Is there any blogs that you enjoy reading? What sort of subjects are they on?

I have the chance that my job is also my passion so my main hobby is my job (learning more about it, meeting people etc...).
I also enjoy anything to do with nature. Think about taking photos (even if I'm not great at it, it's the process I enjoy iyswim), going camping, going for a gentle walk in our nearby park, trying to grow some plants (I do fail quite often at that game but again, it's all about the process).

Start with you enjoy doing. And if you can;tfind something you enjoy, then start with what you really don't like and try anything that doesn't make you go 'Nooooo'. You might be surprised at what you actually enjoy.

RiceCrispieTreats Mon 06-Jun-16 10:49:15

I think you could pursue two things at the same time: sorting through your inner feelings of inadequacy, and finding external activities that feel right for you.

For your inner life, find a therapist you can gel with, and talk about your emotional reactions, your past if you want to, and find alternative ways to handle your negative emotions when they occur.

For your outer life, make lists of everything that you feel some kind of "spark" for. Could be really mundane things, that just feel kind of good when you do them. Then ask yourself what it is about them that makes them feel right for you. See if there are any patterns or connections. There are plenty of online lists of questions and workbooks for people like you who are searching for what they should be doing.

There is no one thing you "should" be doing, but there will be lots of things that will be a more natural fit with your personality and natural talents. Are you more of a systematiser, who has the organisational skills to make things keep going? Or are you more comfortable with creative chaos, which can lead change in organisations and handle human complexity?

Consider hiring a coach for a couple sessions, once you have established what kind of person you are, and what qualities an occupation has to have in order to feel fulfilling to you, in order to narrow down a few choices for you to test.

This can be a very long process. Give it time, if you are serious about it, and be willing to follow a number of dead ends while you figure out what really fits (so tell that perfectionist inside you that it's ok to experiment without Achieving Tangible Success for a while!)

Good luck.

RiceCrispieTreats Mon 06-Jun-16 10:59:19

I like this video as a starting point.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Mon 06-Jun-16 11:31:05

Sounds like you've never goven yourself permission to be happy, what with your patents glaring at you in spirit.

O'Rourke's Law: if what you're doing would make your mother cry, you're having fun.
So: Screw the housework for a day. Have impromptu sex. Go to a park and greet a tree. Have an argument and lose (good for the soul).

I have two friends who run naked at Midsummer dawn round a (very remote) stone circle every year. Keeps them young.

janaus Mon 06-Jun-16 11:42:35

You could look for a course, maybe an evening class, DH could look after little ones. Or maybe a daytime class that has child minding. When my kids were little I took up 10 pin bowling.

CommonBurdock Mon 06-Jun-16 12:48:00

From your previous comments I'd say martial arts would be ideal. Find a good club where they do adults and childrens classes and just go. It motivates and keeps you fit and doesm't give you time to think about stuff, you just get on and do it. Also if the club's good it'll be very social.

BertieBotts Mon 06-Jun-16 12:52:40

Exercise is surprisingly good. It doesn't have to become an all consuming thing but it definitely lifts my mood and I like feeling strong. I had never done anything since school but after finding out it was PE and sport and competition I didn't like, not exercise, I've found it easy enough to get into. Just pick something and try it out. If you don't like it you can stop.

Have you had therapy to help you deal with and process your childhood? Perhaps that would help you feel more able to take time for yourself?

Mamaka Mon 06-Jun-16 13:14:43

Thanks so much for all the suggestions! Exercise is definitely going to the top of my list although don't know if it's considered a hobby. Common - I just contacted our local martial arts club on a whim so hopefully can have a go at that.
Happynever - Things I feel like I'd like to do but don't know how - grow veg and herbs, I've wanted to do this for ages. I've not managed to keep anything alive in the past so kind of gave up. I also love to dance, I used to be a bit of a raver and so when I'm alone I put on drum and bass and rave in my kitchen grin but wouldn't know about dance classes or anything. Cooking is a new love and I can make some mean vegetarian dishes. My dh has commented how good my cooking has got which is big praise from him.
Blogs and articles I read are mainly about parenting but I am weaning myself off because they make my perfectionism worse. Could do with finding something new to read. I used to love travelling but don't get away much now because of dc and money.
Ricecrispie - As far as the inner stuff goes, I've had several lots of unsuccessful therapy with different counsellors. I have to say that nothing seems to work unless it's completely self-directed (cos I'm an anal control freak) so when I have periods of praying/meditating every day I feel much better about myself. I struggle with keeping it up though so I did think of turning my spare room into a kind of Zen room to encourage me to take more time for myself in there. I like the idea of working through those questions with someone impartial.
Disgrace - I think my mother has a lot to do with this actually. She spends her life servicing others and I swore I'd never become that person but here I am. She lives very nearby too and helps with childcare so can't really break free as much as I'd like to. She disapproves of a lot.
Right, I'm off to make a list.

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