For Lent this year I focused on my happiness, and though Lent is now over, my happiness will continue on and hopefully grow some more!
“Being happy never goes out of style.” -Lilly Pulitzer
This past Lent I wanted to focus on my happiness. In a world where stress and sadness can easily take over, I want my life to be a beacon to others, but as my youth pastor once told me, “You have to fill yourself up first before you pour yourself out for others”. So I examined my life and found four habits in my life I wanted to change in order to create a happier life. Not only did I find happiness, joy, and positivity for myself, but I was so filled up, I was able to share it all with others. All because of a few simple changes.
When I decided to start smiling at myself when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t realize how much of an impact that would have on my happiness. It really has become a habit, and that small bit of positivity makes a world of difference. I look happier, so I feel happier. My self-love and self-confidence have sky-rocketed, and because I see myself as having so much happiness, I’m more able to share my happiness with others.
My next habit change was cutting down on my social media time. As time went on, I did start scrolling a bit more, but with the extra time I had not being on social media, I picked up a boxing class twice a week, a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class once a week, enjoyed long dinners with my friends, and had time for a sudden increase in meetings. And when I stopped subconsciously comparing myself to the lives I saw through pictures online, my life became nothing less than the best life possible. Like I mentioned above, I was so content and happy with my life that I was able to spread a little more cheerfulness to others, especially since I had more time to do so.
My journey with food continues every day, and while some days it’s a positive journey and some days it’s not, it’s a learning process that is overall heading in the right direction. For Lent, I wanted to cut out sweets like I usually do, but ran into a problem when my cravings of the “forbidden” food caused me to be unhappy every time I stepped into a dining hall. I did stop snacking on packets of Peanut M&Ms (one of my weaknesses), which I consider a huge success. And through this journey I discovered and explored my relationship with food. I’m currently abstaining from sweets for one week (because towards the end of Lent I was eating more sweets than real food), but I plan to continue trying new things and seeing what works in my relationship with food in a healthy and happy way.
The older anyone gets, the more they find themselves working too much. Throughout my high school and now college career, I overworked myself far too often, many times to the extent of making myself physically sick. During My Happiness Project I found myself so focused on creating content, that I began treating it as a series of posts instead of a series of Bible studies. The reason I’m working on my happiness is to become a better tool for God to use in the world. You may have noticed that I didn’t create any more happiness posts after this one, and that’s because I stopped treating it like a scheduled job and instead treated it as a written expression of what was happening in my life. I haven’t felt like posting, so I lived my life without sharing it online, and it’s been great.
As I focused on maintaining these new habits and as my happiness levels increased, I didn’t really find the need to change anything else, and though I didn’t post about it, I’ve been reading my Bible a lot more, specifically in 2 Corinthians. One of the verses that immediately jumped out at me was 2 Corinthians 1:4 — [God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. Just like the comfort in the verse, God gives us so much happiness that we are more than able to share that happiness with others. My happiness came from looking at the world through His eyes and seeing what a beautiful life I have and what a beautiful creation I am. Even though this past week was the hardest week I’ve had at college so far, these habits conditioned me to stay positive, keep joy, and be a light in the lives of others.
So what makes you happy?