what are you happy for today?

June 16, 2011

My senior year of high school, I was on the yearbook committee. The teacher in charge of the yearbook, Ms. Goldie, had a book in her classroom called “1000 Reasons to be Happy”.

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Every day, when the small group of us who were creating the year book came in for sixth period, someone would open the book and read a reason to be happy today. Our class motto was: “What are you happy for today?” They were little things — not particular anything large or profound. However, every day we would start class out with a smile on our face ready to tackle the intricate work of creating a 200+ page yearbook.

Whenever anyone asks me if I am happy or satisfied with life, I will always say yes. However, there were times in my life where, to be perfectly honest with you, my “yes” response was a downright lie.

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Despite everything that was going great in my life — my family, my friends, my job, my education — I just wasn’t truly happy. I didn’t fully feel satisfied with the person that I was. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was there nagging at me in the back of my mind. On the outside, no one could tell. I smiled, I laughed, I poked fun at situations with people. To an outsider, I was a perfectly happy go lucky girl with no worries in the world.

What was really going on inside of my brain was a different story. I was confused. I was torn. I absolutely did not like who I had become. The inner struggles of a person are just that — an inner struggle. No one quite knows what another person is thinking or feeling, even if on the outside, a great facade is put up for others to see.

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It didn’t matter how many friends I had, how much money I was making, or if it seemed like my life was really in order  – because I had a lot of friends, I wasn’t struggling financially, and I still felt absolutely 100% out of control. This went on for months — years even — until I pulled myself out of a terrifying funk even I am surprised lasted so long.

Yes, day to day I could be in a good mood, but deep down within myself, something was.. off. Not right.

It wasn’t until a few days ago that I sat down to think about how truly happy and joyful I have been the last few months of my life. My zest for life suddenly returned with a vengeance. I no longer wanted to sit at home and hide away from the world. I had been wanting to be surrounded by others much more than I can remember in the last 3-4 years of my life.

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I know exactly how I turned it all around though: I become at peace with myself.

The only thing I can relate it to is the Disney movie Kung Fu Panda 2 (don’t judge me). In this movie, Po, the Panda, has to find inner peace before he can truly become the warrior he is meant to be. His teacher, Master Shifu, tells him (in other words of course) that many have to go through hell and back to find inner peace. There will be battles he won’t think he can win. He will feel defeated and exhausted. But at the end, inner peace will be found.

I, like Po, had to go through many battles. I had to go through hell and back internally before I truly became at peace with who I am as a person. And it all comes back to one thing: truly accepting myself and being happy with who I am.

In life, you get what you get. It’s plain and simple. Yes, you can work hard to change who you are — yes, you can change to be a better person — yes, you can work towards that high powered job or dream you have — but only do it if it ultimately brings you joy and peace.

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Because let’s face it — someday, you’re going to wake up and you’re going to feel worn down. You’re going to be exhausted. You may not like the person you’ve become. But if in your heart, you truly love yourself, then all is well. Everything will turn out.

It wasn’t until I accepted who I was and what I was given that I really was happy. Do I make a ridiculously large amount of money? Absolutely not. Do I have a large group of friends? Not really — I’m fine with the great few friends I have. Am I the thinnest or most beautiful person in the world? No. But when it comes down to it — all of that doesn’t really matter.

So, do I think my life is always going to be rainbows and sunshine? Absolutely not. But I know as long as I truly love myself, that nothing can break me down completely. Happiness is a choice — and I choose to be happy within my own life.

Are you truly enjoying life? Are you truly happy with yourself on in the inside? If not, ask yourself what you could do to make yourself at peace — go through hell and back — and make it happen.

You won’t regret it.

Question: What truly brings you happiness in life? Are you at peace with ourself? What did you have to do to get inner peace?

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