7 Sep 2017

The Best Kept Beauty Secrets #18

The Best Kept Beauty Secret: Happiness on vickiarcher.com

What is the most obvious beauty secret of all?

Is the beauty “secret” we take for granted, the one we struggle with and the one we rely on others for, on top of your list?

I am thinking it is happiness, with a capital H.

Happiness is directly related to inner beauty and our inner beauty is what truly makes us shine.

It is easy to take happiness as a given and it’s not; it is not something we should ever rely on.  Life is messy and unpredictable every single day and we never know what might be coming our way. Our “guaranteed” happiness can be snuffed out in an instant.

What is important to know is happiness will re-appear but it might not happen alone. It is a work in progress and like most of what is worth pursuing, it takes practise.

Some people would seem to be born with a penchant for happiness.

They make happy look effortless as if cares and troubles are not on their radar. It’s not true; everyone has problems, tragedies and disappointments to overcome. We are not immune and it is a question of how we deal with darkness that makes or breaks.

The simple pleasure of feeling happy can oftentimes seem to be unattainable, but in my experience, all it takes is a little know-how and dedication.

How do we re-discover happiness?

Happiness starts with ourselves.

It is important to look within to find our own contentment and ultimate joy and we cannot depend on others to do the work for us. I try and reconnect with old pleasures that brought a smile in the past; it is so easy to forget when they are lost in the layers of everyday life. Once we understand our own happiness we can share it with others and pay it forward. It is a quality that has no bounds and no limits and truly, more is more.

Happiness is not a given.

We won’t necessarily wake up happy each and every day. Life intervenes and moods can swing and good spirits can require routine and perseverance. Expectations should be realistic so we don’t set ourselves up for disappointment. It is okay to have a bad day, a day where nothing seems promising. The art is to recognise, define and accept those feelings and to be aware they will not be permanent.

Happiness is about the practical.

A problem solved is one way to feeling happier. Losing the weight of worry can help us channel our brighter feelings. Dealing with problems and compartmentalising, so they don’t suck the positivity from our lives, is an important skill.

I find exercise is one way to relieve stress and allow happiness its rightful place. The other is to spoil ourselves in ways that please; to do what you enjoy not what you think you should be doing. Read the romance novel if it brings a smile, the Economist can wait. Watch the latest TV series in a binge; the housekeeping is going nowhere. Treat yourself in small ways and see huge effects. Use escapism to re-set the balance and recover some light heartedness, remembering it is a short-term fix.

Happiness breeds happiness.

Spending time with others who are upbeat is like an injection of positivity and nothing feels better than being around happy, I find it is infectious. The opposite can be said for those who view the glass half full.

Happiness in small bites.

Happiness does not always come super sized, life does not allow for that. Take the small wins and be thankful for those. We need happiness to be attainable, not elusive. There is much to be gained from small blessings.

Happiness and appreciation.

We can appreciate the beauty around us or we can ignore it. I choose to appreciate the beauty in the everyday and I acknowledge some days are harder than others. The smallest glimpse can elevate our mood and release happiness. It may be fleeting at times, but in my view it all counts. It is about riches but not about wealth. I have known those with so much who have so little and those with so little who have so much. I try and believe if we are grateful for the small, the rest will follow.


Happiness, there is no better feeling. xv

image, annette bening

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In This Post:



Taste of France

Those people who laugh and joke easily are so attractive. Even when they’re serious, the laugh lines express a kindness, a tolerance for human weaknesses, that make it easy to trust them and to want to get to know them.

Jacqueline Prajza

The art is finding unconditional happiness. Happiness no matter the circumstances. Always reaching for the good-feeling thought.

Anita Rivera

And this is what gets me through a hectic and sometimes “imperfect” day at school, when things don’t go to plan. Laughter and just simply being approachable for the students is spelled with a capital “H” – yes, I believe this is my go-to beauty secret. Thank you dearest Vicki!

Mimi Gregor

I find that doing a “gratitude survey” is a great mood elevator. As my eyes take in everything around me, I pick out the things I love and remind myself why I love them or am grateful for them. Most people seem to concentrate on what they don’t like, and wish for things to be different. I firmly believe that what you concentrate upon, you give energy to, and you get more of. So make sure you concentrate on what you love!

Some people seem to think that trying to make ourselves happy is a selfish endeavor, but it really isn’t… and it also is. See, when we are happy, the people who come into contact with us absorb some of that happiness and it elevates their mood. But also, when we try to make other people happy, it helps us to be happier. It doesn’t take much; holding a door open for someone, complimenting the woman in front of you in the supermarket line, making conversation with the wallflower at a party. The best ways to make people happy are free, and they only take a few seconds to do. And by doing so, we get a boost. Win-win!


Absolutely, Mimi! My philosophy too! Think of all the people who are lonely and quite alone – going to the shops may be their only contact with others during the day. If at least someone smiles at them or makes way for them – it can add some brightness. By being in the present you can relate to so much to those around you, instead of feeling impatient when waiting in a supermarket queue at the check-out we can look at the people around us, their shopping trolleys, how they’re dressed, how old they are, how stressed they look – and share a smile with them. It’s one of the reasons I love the French code of behaviour – whenever they enter a small shop, they greet the sales assistant and sometimes the other customers before they say anything else. Even in doctors’ waiting rooms as people arrive they wish good day to the others there. It’s something I always try to do even back in Oz, having learned this lesson from the French. Sometimes get strange looks when I do this as people aren’t accustomed to it – but others just light up at being acknowledged. I remember how chuffed my mother used to be as an old lady when complete strangers would stop her to compliment how she looked. It really can make a difference and lift people’s spirits. Best wishes, Pamela

Linda B

I can’t tell you how huge this very topic is looming for me right now. I’ve had so many unexpected challenges rising up in the last year. I keep trying to do all the right things to find the little daily joys and take good care of myself, but at this point it is not enough to balance the demands and difficulties, it seems. So now I am questioning the basic premises of my life, and considering some big change–as in, do I retire after this school year? Seems too soon, at 60. So what would I do instead of my current work? I need some new imagination of what this could be, if I make this choice. . . Meanwhile, I won’t neglect to follow your advice above, Vicki!


Absolutely true!!! Always try to find something to smile or laugh about in our daily lives.

Angela De Marco Manzi

I am sure that all the people in the US who are currently affected by the massive flooding due to Hurricane Harvey and those about to be affected by Hurricane Irma have these ideas at the forefront of their collective consciousnesses. Great thoughts, though.


But even in the midst of danger and disaster, people can show kindness and concern for others. One of my work colleagues was far into her pregnancy and also had a toddler when the Canberra bushfires (over 400 houses were lost and several people died) swept through the suburbs. She had piled all her valuables and children’s clothing into the family car. But because there was no power she couldn’t open the garage door to get the car out and escape with her child. The fire was a couple of houses away by then and roaring through. She went out into the street in desperation to see what she could do – and was seen and rescued by a neighbour further along the street – he drove down to pick her up and take her with his family (her husband was away for work at the time). Otherwise she would have died. She lost everything – her home and all their family possessions – but because of the kindness of a neighbour she and her child survived. Best wishes, Pamela


I keep telling people – do something nice for yourself. We tend to forget that we need to take care of ourselves first. Yesterday I was stressing out about things that are trivial – I had to take a deep breath and remind myself – you’re retired, you have money, you have your health – don’t get upset if the oil for your homemade onion rings isn’t hot enough yet!! Silly, I know!!


A well timed post. Everything seems to have gone pear shaped recently. I agree exercise helps also meditation. I do Headspace everyday. Apparently when you smile (even if you don’t feel like it) your facial muscles affect your physiology which alters your state of mind. Worth a try. To make matters worse my computer “died” today. How dependent we are on our devices.

Carolyn McMillan

This was so, so good for me to read. Thank you for sharing. As a “recovering” widow, I love receiving your uplifting emails Vicki.


yes, even little bits at a time HAPPINESS is the beauty secret we tend to forget about.

nice writing VICKI


it’s the 2nd time you deleted my comments. What’s the matter? Did either abusive
nor divergent the topic. Or is it my English…I’m not a native

Vicki Robb

You have a great deal of common sense, which isn’t common at all. I’m a big fan of Fake It Til You Make It — put a smile on your face regardless. The rest of the world has their own problems, so burdening them with yours is not helpful. Gratitude is a good attribute to cultivate. Not a day passes that I don’t hear a story that shows my life to be a cakewalk. And I am grateful. I enjoy your posts, even though I can never adopt shorter jeans! I spent my entire youth vainly searching for pants long enough, so cropped pants seem like backsliding.


Just what I needed to read today. Happiness is a choice and so often overlooked. Thank you for your inspiration!!


Vicki! I love your site and really it is the only one that I make sure I take the time to read. I’ve become a bit obsessed with all things french and absolutely love Paris! At 58, I went for the first time last April, to this beautiful city. I woke up my first morning, left my mom to sleep off jet lag and walked out to a quaint little coffee shop across the street from the Notre Dame Cathedral. I was in Paris, on a sunny spring day being filled with all the gorgeous buildings, bridges, food, flowers. It must have been reflected in my face because a gentleman, across the way from me said, “you are beautiful”, “you glow from the inside”. Oh Paris! Thank you for reminding me that even at 58, wife of 38 years, mother of two, grandmother of 8 that I can still be beautiful when I allow that glow from within me to come out! You are right, Vicki, the most beautiful people are those who are thankful for every beautiful moment.


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