20.7.15

Earn Your Happiness

If you met me in real life, you may end up describing me to someone else (or thinking to yourself). The words that you wouldn't use to describe me wouldn't be "peppy" "smiley" or "full of joy." The words you might use are "wild" "high-energy" or "annoying." But I definitely don't think if you met me, you'd say I was one of those perpetually happy people, who is always smiling about something. I'm okay with that. I've got friends who are like that and I love them. It's just not me. 

Happiness is a weird thing. It's something we strive for, but it may not be something we're very aware of for the first 18 or so years of our life. I mean how many 10 year olds do you know who are contemplating the level or satisfaction they are getting out of their life? How many 12 years olds are sitting there thinking "am I happy with my life?" 

I started becoming extremely self-aware when I was 19. It was my sophomore year of college and I started to notice things about myself. I realized how passive I was. If you know me that's really hard to believe because I don't think many, if any, people who know me would use the word "passive" to describe me. But at this point I realized how passive I had been about my life. I realized that whenever someone said they liked something, I always agreed, and said "ME TOO!" Hello!? This is an issue! I also became very aware of my happiness level. For the first time in my life I felt the feeling of not being overall happy or satisfied with my life. I didn't feel fufiled, and I didn't feel hopeful. I wasn't depressed, but I was extremely passive, and lacking in definite personality. 

This was the year that I "found myself." I think every girl transitioning into adulthood goes through this, but that's a subject for another post. There are a few people I knew at this time who greatly influenced this process of "finding myself." There was this guy who I became friends with, I think because we wanted to date each other. We never really did, but we became close friends and I don't think he's knows this, but he pushed me to decide who I was. He was getting to know me, and I guess I seemed like a mystery to him. Turned out I was a mystery to myself! So I stared thinking about myself, who I was, what I liked, and made sure people knew it. This may be a little closer to the person you would describe today if you met me. 

Since this time, I would probably say that throughout time my happiness levels fluctuate. No, I would definitely say that. I think as an adult, the level of satisfaction and fulfillment I get out of my life depends on the work that I put into it. Which leads me to the subject of this blog post. Earning Your Happiness. 

A few weeks back we had a lesson on church derived from The Teachings of Presidents of The Church: Ezra Taft Benson, Chapter 4: Living Joyfully in Troubled Times. If you want to read the whole thing (which I highly suggest), the title is linked. But one section really stood out to me. The section headed "Happiness must be earned from day to day, but it is worth the effort." This got me thinking about the ways that I earn my happiness. I also thought of the ways I might be earning sadness (by sadness I don't mean "depression or mourning." I mean lack-of-happiness). This really took the way I looked at my daily life, and flipped it on it's head. If I really want to be happy, I've got to earn it. 

Here are some of the things I thought of that I currently do to earn my daily happiness
  1. Recognize God in my life. Praying and thanking him daily.
  2. Listen to the "Happier with Gretchen Rubin" podcast. It gives you tips and strategies to live a happier, more productive life. 
  3. Exercise. It sounds miserable, and sometimes it is, but it's a really nice thing to do to your body, mind, and spirit.
  4. Create something. There's just something amazing happens when you can make something new. Whether it's a piece of art, a pancake, or a spreadsheet, making something where there was nothing is an extremely satisfying feeling. If you're struggling with that, watch THIS video or read THIS.
  5. Music. Filling my day with extraordinary music elevates my happiness level like you wouldn't believe. 

I really think what we put into our days result in our overall happiness and satisfaction. I want to challenge all of you to think about the different ways you think you earn your happiness, and tell me in the comments below! I would love to hear more ideas! 




4 comments:

  1. I absolutely love this post! It really hit home with me. One way that I earn happiness each day is by taking a look at my little girl and thanking Heavenly Father for her. When I realize what a gift she is, I can't not be happy!

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  2. I watch one of my housewives shows.

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  3. This is perfect! I'm 20 now and I can remember vividly around the time that I turned 18 I was seriously questioning my happiness. It was never a problem before, it came so easily as a child, but it's so true that you have to earn it. Life has recently been throwing me curve ball after curve ball, which is to be expected, but it takes more effort to create that happiness. I think it's also important to not bank your happiness on the future of big milestones i.e. getting married, graduating college and having a big girl job, kids.(Which I have been doing a lot of lately) It's important to find it now, even in the simple, mundane day-to-day life. I am definitely going to be reading your suggested talks and articles. Thank you so much for this reminder!

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  4. brooke, i love your blog and i love this post. it took me back to my 19 year old self, because that was the year i decided that who i was in high school, or who my family thought i was WASN'T who i had to be. i had the choice to re-define myself, and i still CAN, every day! (although it's easy to forget.) also i love your "earn your happy" list - isn't gretchen rubin just the best??

    one thing that i try to do that keeps me SO happy and fulfilled, is making weekly goals. they are usually small and simple, like an extra day of exercise, or 10 minutes extra of scripture study, or call an old friend and catch up - but since progress can be so easily lost in day to day life, i really feel like i am going somewhere as a person when i make and fulfill smaller goals! progressing forward makes me happy, and those goals help me quantify that progress, even if it's in a small way. anyway, i think your fab and i love your thoughts!!

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