Monday, September 26, 2011

Are you happy, or happy enough?

Over the weekend I re-read Enough by John Naish. I think what I like best about it is its title. It basically sums up his whole thesis, in an imperative tone which I think is intentional.

One of the arguments Naish makes in his book is that Western societies in particular must regain a sense of 'enoughness'. That we will have more satisfaction with our lives when we stop trying to grasp everything we can, including a sense of happiness.

I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that I would be more happy if....

If the kids were just a little bit more independent

If we didn't have to rent a house

If my mum lived closer to us

If I had a little (ok, a lot) more time to write

If I had a little (maybe a lot) more money to buy new-season clothing and shoes

If we could go away on a proper holiday

The thing is that I know the list of ifs could go on and on. It's a point Naish also makes in his book.

By making our happiness conditional we will forever rob ourselves of the joy we can have right now in each moment.

Another thing about thinking this way, which Naish did not address in his book, is that it is so self-centred.

I can go around all day thinking about the things that are wrong in my life and why happiness and security is so elusive, and no one gains from me doing that - ironically, not even me.

I can fret about not having a nice photo to go with this blog post for example, and scramble to find and upload one, or I can go and join in with the game my children are playing in their bedroom.

This post is ok without a photo. I'm happy enough with it.

How about you? Do you find it hard to be content with good enough, or happy enough? Do you think it's a worthwhile way of thinking? Are there exceptions?

Stumble Upon Toolbar


  1. You have to be content with good enough, or you will always chase happiness. Happiness is so much more about the small things. Small things add up, I believe. :)

  2. Love this post Marilyn. I always tell my children to be happy with what they have but I don't say this to myself nearly enough. I don't want more things but I am always lamenting in my mind that I need more time.

  3. Great post! I often catch myself having these type of unproductive thoughts but have been trying really hard to instead think "I am so lucky that..."

    I do notice that reading magazines or even online shopping sites make me reflect on what I don't have so I've been trying to avoid them. Or at least put things in my 'cart' and leave them to stew for a few days- most times I forget about them and realise they certainly wouldn't have made me happier!

  4. Therese, I've found a great website that's helped me in the way I think about my time and that is 148 hours: you have more time than you think. I'll post about it soon.

    Katie, I've stopped reading mags completely for the same reason! I loved them, but then I always felt unsettled afterwards, and then inevitably end up buying something I didn't really need but felt I did, like $100 under-eye cream!!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin