Proverbial Friday – Happiness

Do not waste all your happiness

by overlooking everything you have,

for everything you wish you had.

If you do, you will never have enough.

~ Polish Proverb

Great ocean Road

“Happiness is a quality of the soul…not a function of one’s material circumstances.”


Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog.

I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.

Mostly anonymous, proverbs are a portal through time to generations past and echo a diverse range of cultures.

They speak of the experiences of many lessons learned and the wisdom from thousands of lives already lived.

They offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something. This week we are examining the concept of being happy.


Do you agree with Aristotle or the Polish proverb?

Is attitude, in itself, integral to feeling happy?

Charles Swindoll seems to think so.

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of Attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home.

The remarkable thing is that we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our Attitudes.”

~ Charles R. Swindoll

jump joy happy

I invite you to join in the discussion by leaving a comment.

Everyone’s opinion is important. What is yours?



35 thoughts on “Proverbial Friday – Happiness”

  1. I tend to view happiness as an external expression of feelings. As such, it can be rather fickle and blown about by circumstances. Joy on the other hand abides inside, protected, secure, constant. Joy is the font of all true happiness and as such isn’t affected by circumstance. Joy is the smile through the tears, the peace in a war-zone, and the soft giggle at a funeral. Those who have it can seldom explain it well and those lacking in joy can never hope to understand it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Faeriefiles! I have always considered Joy to be more instinctive than happiness. Joy seems to me to be a feeling of happiness you experience when others are feeling happiness. I perhaps are one that can’t distinguish between joyful and happy feeling in myself? Your examples did help. There is a nuance there. Do you think the people who never experience joy would be a very lonely, and definitely unhappy?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The view of what we have should make us happy. Comparing to others can not bring any happiness. Neither when we see misery nor when one feels envy. If this view is not inherently given you should certainly learn it.
    Nevertheless, it is important in my eyes always to have dreams and realistic goals, because without this task that we need in life, no moments of happiness will set.
    Aristotle is certainly also right. How far it has to do with the soul is beyond my imagination but happiness has definitely nothing to do with material things!
    A positive attitude, courage, trust and confidence are most important, because in fact life and other people can play badly. How I master these situations is up to me. Anyone who radiates happiness also gets lucky, who distributes hatred gets hatred. I believe that everyone gets back what he hands out.
    There must be a universe justice as there is a universe order.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Comparisons always lead to disappointment! Always as in some measure one comes up short…
      Agree that opening up to feelings of happiness can be learnt. A simple smile, even a forced one, can lighten one’s dark or dull mood! Your caution to keep happiness realistic is wise. No point living in a world that doesn’t exist, ignoring any negative point at all. That is just fantasy and might lead to a brutal reckoning when finally confronting reality. I have only met one or two persons who live in a fantasy world, and it does make me wonder what motivates them to ignore reality, where I am firmly rooted!
      But to display happiness is difficult for those of a pessimistic leaning, and they have to work harder to bring that forward in life. Those early values influence how easy it is. Was your home life in the early years positive or negative? Charles Swindoll, summed it up when suggesting that attitude, is a choice and defines how we view our daily lives. That is something we do have control over, no matter how pessimistic our early values might be.
      Universal justice indeed – it is all powerful, Anie!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. to display happiness and to smile, even if it is hard, sounds cruel…don´t you think so? I cannnot imagine how my attitude is getting better in forcing myself to smile. I do often force myself to smile, but I know it does not help me but the persons around me because they think I am happy.
        Learning or relearning means for me to concentrade more on beautiful things, even is there are only little things and ignore mean things, which sadden me.
        So I decided not to read or listen to things anymore, which personally makes me miserable. I know, that we should not ignore all the bad and unjust things in our world. But at least the world profits more from me, when I am full of positivity than depressive.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There has been some research into brain waves after a forced smile versus a genuine smile. It has been shown that in both cases the waves produced by the brain are remarkably similar. I have tried it when I feel a bit down and it does change my attitude but does not of course solve the problem. It gives me time to breathe and distracts me d from getting bogged down in the situation. True – it helps others more, by concealing one ‘s negative feelings, but it produces happy endorphins too. For some reason our brains don’t distinguish between forced or natural smiles. If you find it hard to believe that, at least in forcing a smile we are exerting our choice which gives us a measure of control over a situation, true enough? Some choice and control is better than feeling powerless.
          On ignoring mean things – that sounds sensible to protect yourself from barbarism!! ( negativity and unkindness) and to maximise your potential, for exerting good over evil.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. hmm, here i do not completely share your opinion. I do not care, what scientists or doctors found out in research, when I know exactly why I feel good or bad … it’s what I think, in combination with what I feel. If I am hurt, exploited, betrayed or even fooled by people, from whom I have expected so much, then there is an imbalance between heart and mind. To think that a forced smile outwits the brain is completely ineffective. Likewise, I could take an aspirin because it promises to relieve pain. Of course, choice and control is better than feeling powerless. But not every person is a control freak. I am not, and will submit myself powerless, suffer and bear all the consequences to the end…everyone has his own way to carry his burden.
            To return to the proverbs. I think it always depends on whether and how a person gets his happiness and why he is unhappy and sad. Is it his own soul, his ego, his experiences. Happiness and the path to it is individual and the barriers on the way to happiness as well. So of course a forced smile and a laughter training can maybe help certain people, whose own basic attitude is a barrier. On the other hand,I suspect, that people who are mourning or are in another crisis that are caused on very specific life situations, thre must be sought other ways and solutions.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. I tend to agree that a one size fits all approach is ridiculous and ineffectual. People are so very different. And of course we can disagree yet still value our own and each other’s opinion, andI absolutely value yours. But we can disagree! That is still a healthy discussion. I tend to be believing in scientific proof but also anecdotes if they make logical sense or prove themselves, which this does if and ONLY IF it works to lift or change the mood or Perhaps the word forced is also not quite the right word as it suggests unwillingness or pressure. I did like that you describe that as an imbalance between mind and heart. That does sum up those reactive emotions nicely and suggests a possible way forward if a person wishes to address the imbalance.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. I did not want to belittle the scientific merits in their importance and necessity. I find it often difficult to give these findings a weighting. Because I think this statement is difficult to make, because every human being is also very influenced by his emotions. Everything we see and experience in life is within us and is not only processed within us, but also generated. There are situations in life where some people break up and others are relatively easy to overcome the same situation.
              The imbalance of heart and mind is certainly a very stressful situation. But how should such a way look like, to eliminate this imbalance?

              Liked by 2 people

            3. I cannot answer how such a way (forward), might look like, because, as you alluded, reactions and emotions are so idiosyncratic. The person themselves must work out whether it is the heart or whether it is the mind that needs attention first. I am thinking that an imbalance of the heart might be related to a break up of a romance or unrequited love, and working towards acceptance of disappointment and crushed expectations could be a way forward through unhappiness. If it is their head where the imbalance potentially lies, I am thinking that an example might have be someone having irrational thoughts or having experienced mental trauma, or suffer with a mental condition like anxiety or suchlike.
              This can be the area of focus to move forward.
              To your point that some folk are more resilient than others, gosh I wish there was a recipe or formula for that!!
              As you say, we are all so different. It is significant that you mention we process everything, but also that we generate life’s experiences, as well. This implies we have a certain influence over our destiny! And in many ways, we do. Not all experiences, but yes, we play a role in fate in our actions.

              Liked by 2 people

            4. it is interesting that you make up the imbalance on one of the two (head or heart) … I thought it must be a healthy togetherness, that means they are always both affected.
              But your comments are very logical! Accepting disappointment is certainly a big affair of the heart. But only when the mind gives a clear signal ( because of clear information that make it possible to analyse the situation exactly) the heart can finish, can gives up hope, and accept disappointment…this is the start to go a new way.
              Unrational ideas or even fears come rather from the head.
              But since we need the interaction of both, it is one thing that is probably very hard to manage alone. Mind and heart need “food” ( informations and emotions). So we need external stimuli from the outside world that build trust, help mind and heart to be balanced, or even directly give the heart or head what they need.

              Liked by 1 person

            5. Thanks for coming back to me on this, Anie. I agree that many timesthe heart and head must work together in a healthy togetherness. Both are often affected. I like the way you describe the heart finishes the mind’s process of handling disappointment. The heart and head, are definitely together in the healing process. food for the heart and food for the mind! Interesting that you mention trust in this equation! It is fundamentally important, especially in terms of all relationships. Do you find you continually assess, (perhaps subconsciously), the level of trust with colleagues, friends and maybe even family? Or do you think folks trust family implicitly?

              Liked by 1 person

            6. Thank you so much for answering once more. Interesting question if people continually assess trust. I hope not, because in my eyes this means that there is fear. Folks should trust in family and friends. If you trust because you believe in the good of people, you do not fear or doubt … you can completely concentrade in beeing happy🙂!

              Liked by 1 person

            7. Yes, Anie, folks should be able to trust in family and friends. It might be a difficult life if you are always looking over your shoulders and cannot trust even those living close to you. I think work colleagues, acquaintenances and definitely strangers, are assessed continually for trust. Of course, so people are more open and trusting of strangers than others. They are often risk takers. I am not in that category! Although I do often take calculated risks based on gut feelings. Having said that, I have recently visited Japan where it stated at a Shinto shrine that I was born in a year of bad luck, and that only strength and determination can change that. However, my gut feelings usually stand me in good stead, more often than not.

              Liked by 2 people

            8. Gut feelings are a good thing and 🤔 what to say to your shinto shrine? I always tended to ignore things which did not please me and were kind of bad conditions… like bad horoskope when I was a teen or my birthday ( friday, 13.) But I am definately a person who trust nearly everybody and I never ever really asked myself if there is a risk… it worked because I always were lucky…and may be some kind of protected…but now I experienced also the other side and I see how hard it can be… but never the less I try just to learn that I have to put some limits of trust, try to recognize „bad“ people and don’t let them touch me. But trusting and believing in the good in people I do not whant to quit, because it is a wonderful way to live!

              Liked by 2 people

            9. No! Sometimes I recognized that the person I trusted is not really trustful ( or a friend or someone from family told me that I am horrible credulous) … but I always got off fairly lightly…and I hope for my future that it will stay this way!

              Liked by 2 people

            10. I hope that you won’t evet have to alter your open trusting nature! That all your experiences and your intelligence will serve you well. I am more cautious with people than you. Perhaps yo are the glass half full and I am the glad half empty kind of gal!!

              Liked by 2 people

            11. Thank you so much, yes I hope too that I can in some way keep this rose 👓 and keep my childish fews… even I know life can test your attitude a lot. i wish you a beautiful sunday!

              Liked by 2 people

  3. The word happy is a tough one to nail down for me. Joy is another. I tend to roll them over into the words of contentment and peaceful. I’m happy when my daughter is spending time with me and joyful when a gift I’m making for someone works out perfectly. Those two emotions can be fleeting where as when life is going to hell in a hand basket, I can choose to remain peaceful and content with it as it is knowing that life is fluid and will change momentarily. I too have a stone sign hanging in my room that says “attitude is everything”. I do agree with Aristotle. Material wealth has little to do with happiness. Swindoll is on target as well. Great quotes. Have a wonderfilled week.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Marlene! Happiness is indeed fleeting, yet we all seek it constantly. How much things can change in an instant, fluctuating from highs to lows, depending on arising circumstances.
      Some of us think happiness will result in contentment, yet due to its transient nature, can never fulfill that task on a permanent basis. Right now, my life is very fluid and there is loads of change. Happiness seems illusive. Contentment for me, is when I can relax, and feel secure in an orderly and peaceful environment. Even though I know, attitude can make such a difference, it is indeed a challenge to alter my attitude, as I struggle against those feelings of lack of control resulting from stress. It is important to deal with it, recognize the situation for what it is worth, and I am still learning the lesson in letting go and finding contentment in the small things amidst the chaos, otherwise contentment and happiness will distance themselves from me even further.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Life is an ebb and flow and no emotion or experience will always stay permanently. That would cause stagnation. I have the ultimate challenge to stay in a happy/ positive place in the face of one of life’s harshest experiences. It’s a moment by moment challenge and I keep working on it. I’m probably not the person to ask about this right now. 🙂 It sounds like you are having challenges of your own. Hang in there.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I like that you use the concept of stagnation. It struck a chord with me when I read it, and helped me see that: Yes things are tough, but growth is still possible, even though that growing process may be somewhat, or even extremely, painful.
          I am so sorry to hear that you are going through a harsh time and I have no wish at all to burden you with yet more negativity. If the discussion is causing you grief, I totally understand you avoiding it. Sometimes hearing what others have to say makes things worse for oneself.
          But I do have to say, very well done for maintaining the positivity in spite of the maelstrom around you!!
          Periodically, I remind myself that if I am to give in an inch and resign too much, I let open the door to negative feelings so brushing them away is a way to still live in the present. The ‘Present’ being the only moment that really matters!! The future is not any kind of reality, nor is it set in stone, and the same goes for the ‘past.’ (our memories appear to be subject to subtle changes each time we recall them).
          The future is what worries me most these days. Ironically, when I was younger, it was the past that troubled me most! Whichever is bothering you, I wish you all the strength to cope, and as much inspiration, if not more, as your wisdom gives me and other readers.

          Liked by 2 people

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