🙃Genuinely You, Genuinely Happy: International Day of Happiness🙂

international day of happiness, international happiness day, actions of happiness

(I know those two words probably don’t quite go together for some, but it’s International Happiness Day, after all.)

In one of my previous posts, Self-Doubt Made Me Do It, I shared with you that my teen years were filled with episodes of changing many things about myself, to fit in at school. Did I mention that it even continued into my years at university?

Whether it was choosing to dye strands of my hair with bleach (yes, you read that right! Clorox!) so I could have light-brown highlights, wearing shoes that I looked silly in (but I was convinced looked cute, because, well, everybody else had them too), refusing to read aloud in English Lit class, or no longer writing my own poetry (I stopped writing for years), changing the things that made me ME, seemed like the only way to change things. Changing things about myself  felt like the only way to be liked, or at least not to be disliked and teased, and ultimately to be content.

But how did I ultimately get to a place of being authentically myself, and totally at peace with it?

Why, years of stress and ‘trying-too-hard-ness’, of course!

See, the brown highlights were cute for a while. Until the bleach started breaking off my hair. Those cute shoes were trendy but they fell apart in no time flat. When I stopped writing poetry I had time for all the other things girls around me were doing but it stifled my creativity, and I had absolutely no outlet for expressing myself. I even stopped writing when I was by myself. You’d think that since I was trying to hide those sides of myself from others, I would be doing it whenever I was alone, right? Wrong, wrong, wrong. I’d spent so much time doing everything but writing, that it no longer came natural to me (Remember, you snooze you lose).

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I’ll let you in on a little secret.

With everything that I tried doing to look, sound, be like everyone else, you’d think that I’d be walking on cloud nine everyday, right? It never happened. I still wasn’t accepted in the circles I was trying to be in. Crazy thing is, the people who were my true friends, were not trying in any way to fit in.

The Lightbulb Moment 

pexels-photo-52910.jpegSo when it finally dawned on me that I was losing the ‘me’ I knew, loved and was most comfortable with, some layers had to be shed. I went back to doing what I enjoyed, went back to places I felt most comfortable, and with that came a contentment I hadn’t experienced in a long time. With more time to do what I loved, I was comfortable and content being myself.

When I got back to writing and other small creative things I was naturally good at, with time I began to be rewarded for just that. I entered (and won!) several essay competitions, and even got a partial scholarship for a poetry program in Scotland. This didn’t happen overnight, though. It took weeks, months even, to get back into the flow of writing, and writing about anything and everything that came to mind.

Find The Time

international day of happiness, happiness, do what you love, time, self esteem

When you’re truly happy, your time isn’t spent:

Worrying about whether or not people will like things about you;

Trying to find ways to be just like another person or persons;

Trying to find ways to downplay or deny your personal quirks.

But instead you can:

‘Free yourself’ to engage with a world of people who are just like you (and they are out there). With social media platforms being what they are, the options are almost endless when it comes to forming or joining a community of people around a common interest, or hobby. When I first moved to England, the website and app Meetup.com was a great way for me to meet new people (outside of uni) in a big city like Bristol. I was able to meet other writers, poetry-lovers, craft-addicts, even other young women my age who were new to the city!*

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Put your all into the things you enjoy and are naturally good at. Even if you can’t find other people around you that like the same things, keep at it!

Is photography your thing? Take some time to go outside each day, observe even the little things surrounding you, and take some pictures!

taking pictures, photography, hobbies, happiness, do what you love

Are you a bookworm, like me? Take a half hour (or more, if you can spare) each night before bed to read something. If paper-based books aren’t your thing, Audible or Kindle can be your best friends.

reading, books, hobbies, happiness

I know lots of people who find painting therapeutic. And there’s absolutely nothing you can’t paint. You can paint plain white mugs. Paint canvases. If paints aren’t your speed, colouring books are a dime a dozen!

Do what you love, even in small ways, and with time, the rewards will overflow. The biggest reward though, is your peace and contentment. It sure beats the alternative: stressed, frustrated, possibly even broke, falling over backwards to do things that aren’t for you, and aren’t you.

When was the last time you did something that’s so you, for you?! Let’s chat below!

Wishing you a fabulous Monday and International Day of Happiness!!

*  Disclaimer: Never meet with people for the first time in a non-public place. If you are unsure about a particular event, take a friend with you.

Written by

26 year-old writer, unabashed bookworm and coffee addict.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • echoesofhervoice

    I love reading, painting and writing…..I am passionate about them and put me at ease!

  • Thank you so much for sharing this! I couldn’t agree more, authenticity is so important to overall happiness and we all need to put our happiness first in our lives 🙂

  • Jo

    Great read! I’ve been more intentional about doing things that make me happy lately. Life is too short to be miserable. 🙂

  • This post was very timely. I’ve been in quite a slump for many years, which spikes here during college. Much of it was/is definitely rooted in self-doubt, and losing myself. Really love these tips, and your ability to share this.

    • Aww thank you for reading! College can be a rollercoaster-ride of a time isn’t it?? Alot of my content comes from things that happened during those years.

      • Yeah it’s quite a ride. I’m going to have a lot of reflection pieces coming up.

  • I LOVEEEEEEEEE this we have ALOT in common!!! I was the same way. I am so glad you came into who you are because that is what the world needs!!! GREAT Post!!

  • Loved all of this! I think self-love is extremely important, and you touched on some great points!

    • Glad you enjoyed it Jacqueline! Thanks for reading!

  • I feel like we were on the same wavelength with our posts this morning <3

    This confidence and happiness becomes easier with age, I find. You just realize what's important and what you want to prioritze, I suppose!

    • it sure does!!! I’m finally falling into what’s really truly important. It’s like a weight off your shoulders when you do! Thank you for reading 💜

  • one of my teachers talks about cycles of forgetting and remembering that we go through over a lifetime. and even though we forget who we are sometimes and wear the shoes that look silly because everyone else is doing it, the remembering of who we are is so sweet–it’s like nectar and it should be celebrated. it’s a nice theory to me and there is great happiness to be found when we’re true to ourselves and doing our thing..great share, thanks!

  • Love this! Sadly, many of us need that reminder once in a while! Thank you, and Happy Monday!

  • Art is the ultimate expression. No matter how much people try to belittle those who express through writing, painting, music or other art forms, they cannot deny that it is the artists who show the world life from different perspectives and evoke tolerance and understanding. Glad you went back to being You. And happy Monday 🙂

  • I love this! I’ve realized that my biggest struggles and downtimes result in my utmost happiness. It allows me to break free from what I believe I want and embrace what I need in order to be happy. I also try to be mindful that it’s okay not to be into the same things as other people. I’m finding much more contentment in things like writing, movies, music, and my solitude than I am being out and about all the time.

    • Yes!! So glad you’re getting to a better place Kay. Thanks for reading!

  • emilynncaulfield

    Love the graphics & photography in this post. Blogging is my way of keeping happiness in my life- thank you for this post!!

    • Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • After reading this i feel the need to free myself and be happy. Thank you for the beautiful message

  • Traci

    Love this – it’s true that you can’t be truly happy if you’re spending all your time and energy worrying about what others think and trying to fit into a certain mold. Thanks for sharing your experience of finding your way out of this kind of thinking! So encouraging! 🙂