This morning I got up before my alarm, and took a walk with my dog. It was a clear and beautiful beginning to my day, and for the first time in a while, I wasn’t rushing to get off to work. I took him home, got ready and waited for the bus. When I finally got on one, I stood behind a man sitting down, writing in a journal. His writing was so big that when I just happened to look over his shoulder, I was able to read it from where I stood. It said
“Ok I feel like crap. I could probably do something about it but…”
And just then he noticed me reading his inner thoughts, and he shut his notebook and put it away. He looked so sad, so defeated. I knew that this wasn’t just a normal “i don’t feel good”. This person genuinely felt lost. In that moment I was hooked. I wanted to know why he was sad I wanted to know why he thought he couldn’t do anything about it. I wanted to reach out and touch his shoulder and say that things will work out if you work hard for it.
It got me thinking about happiness.
I’m naturally a negative person. It’s a glass half empty world for me. I see flaws before I see strengths and things could always be better.
Most of my life I didn’t even realize this was a problem. I saw the world as something that could be improved, but never perfect the way it was. It wasn’t until college when people started calling me out on my negativity that I realized it was just that: negative.
I remember this job I had where I worked for my school and part of my job was to sit in the room with a bunch of people and pitch ideas about new school events. I was in the middle of my second year and had become quite pessimistic with my program, with the school politics, and even the students themselves and in result of that I shut down a lot of ideas. To this day I still think that they were terrible ideas, but that wasn’t the point. I know now that it wasn’t necessarily the act of shooting down the ideas but how I shut them down. I chose to be flat-out blunt about speaking my mind and it wasn’t until years later that I realized that I had made a choice to be this way.
After a little counseling, my life turned around. I found love, I mended relationships with family, I saw success, and I was given praise. Life was good, but I still didn’t see happiness in everyday life. I still looked to the future, saw more goals I hadn’t reached and frowned at the hurdles that were keeping me from them.
I realized that my idea of “happiness” meant achieving ALL my goals. But as soon as I achieved one goal, I would create another one, and I fixated on the obstacles that are keeping me from my goals.
Today when I read that man’s words “I feel like crap. I could probably do something about it but…” I realized that he is aware of his state but is creating his own hurdles to achieving happiness it and I’m doing the same thing by focusing on what’s left to do instead of what I’ve already accomplished.
I realized that happiness is a choice and it’s something I have to actively choose. It wont be easy, but I’d like to start some sort of weekly record of things that make me happy and grateful. My thinking is that with practice, it will get easier over time.
Here are the rules:
I must doodle, write, or collage something once a week (to start). It could be something that happened to me that week or something in general that just makes me happy. It could be as rough or as complete as I want it, but it has to incorporate type. I’m going to post them via instagram/twitter with the hashtag #MyPieceOfHappy. Follow along!