reality check//happiness

I know what you’re thinking. This title sounds a little scary, but there’s a very obvious and normal reason for why I headed this post, ‘reality check’. Please don’t be scared.

Lockdown has done a lot of rubbish things to all of us, and in more ways than one it has been less than enjoyable; but the increased amount of downtime alone and with my family has given me a lot of time for reflection and thought. I do love my good ole funny blog posts and thinking of good jokes to squeeze in there but I’ve decided that some days I’d really love to spend just a little amount of time on a bright or more profound thought I’ve had that week. You see I want to truly be able to share my own thoughts this way as well as my usual quirky posts, and I decided a short thought would be just the thing.

I am not exactly what you would call an optimist — in fact I most open hope for the worst! But the truth is we all need a little bit of sunshine in our lives (including me) and the way I would like to express that would be to share a little tidbit of life with you as often as I can so we can all learn a little more about how to deal with life’s joys and journeys.

(Plus I really need to start practicing using joy in my own life, and for me writing something really helps me learn and DO it more; hence this post)

So if I hadn’t hinted at it enough already this post is about happiness. I know, I know — pretty much every teenage blogger on the web has already posted about this and I can’t possibly compete. Which, in fact, I can’t. There’s a lot of good stuff out there and it needs to be thought over; today I merely want to focus on how we can gain a happy, optimistic perspective and what that looks like.

We’ve all read those cheesy books about happiness and wondered who the heck these people think they are…but secretly feel jealous that they’re so upbeat (at least, that’s my experience). But I seriously believe that everyone is different, simply because none of us are the same. Okay, I know that sounds like a redundant sentence, but our fingerprints are unique — so is our DNA. We have different blood types, personalities and genome structures. Mind boggling but true. What can we gather from that? We’re all unique and therefore we can’t all expect to fit in the same “happiness” box the experts try to place us all in. In spite of this, I think there are three basic things that all of us can try to make our lives happier.

  1. Be grateful. This is probably the hardest one for me to grasp. I’ve been struggling with mental health issues for a while now and let me tell you, being grateful is HARD, especially when your world feels like it’s literally falling apart. I don’t know if this is the same for you all but gratitude journals and lists generally don’t work for me because I often think of the rough side of things as I try and think of the good. So how do I practice gratitude? I actually admit to myself that I felt rubbish the other day, and look forward to when I feel better, and when I do I use my time as wisely as I can. I think about my feelings and experiences, and use them to empathise with others. I accept that some days will not be as good, but I CHOOSE to have a great day whenever it is possible AND ENJOY IT WITH A THANKFUL HEART. Because unlike a lot of those cheesy books out there, gratitude doesn’t just mean sitting on your butt for five minutes a day and getting down some things you think make you happy. Happiness should come from a deeper place than just a cappuchino from Costa, though yes that is nice. And that’s where we move on to the next point…

2. Choosing happiness. I know very well that feeling when you get up in the morning, look in the mirror and all you can see is a tousled, grumpy and rather grim faced version of yourself. Another slog in the long list of days I have to get through before the weekend, you think. Another day of feeling sick and dizzy from medication after getting up two hours late and nothing to do because of lockdown. Happy Monday. Notice something about what you just thought? You actually have a choice here. You can set yourself up for another “awful” day or you can grow your happiness through the small things that matter; picking you your three year old sister, making a craft,enjoying that feeling of accomplishment after a bike ride even though it hurt and watching a silly family comedy with your older brother. Even in lockdown life has perks — don’t ignore them and in doing so miss it.

3. See the best in people. Perhaps this is the hardest one of them all because we don’t like it when people say something in a particular way to us. This is a really difficult situation because it’s another choice — you can choose to accept the rudeness of your best friend, the swearing that guy gave you when you parked your car “too close” or the depression of your uncle, or you can lash out, sulk or whine. Despite how “good” that might feel at the time, you won’t really be happy; just angry and loving that instead of feeling joy at knowing that you held your tongue. The truth is people just like you are going through struggles just like you every day, no matter how big or small compared to yours. We need to show them we aren’t going to be brought down by how they act, and we need to encourage them the best we can, even if it’s just not shouting back or giving them a smile when they pointedly ignore us. It’s not weakness; it’s something that takes a lot of strength. Even the best people can be brought low by their situation, and they need lighting up!

I just want to let you know that no matter where you are or what awful things you are going through, you have a choice to be strong and be brave. You WILL get through this and when you do you will see how much stronger you have become because of that.

So choose joy.

Choose happiness.


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