I remember the year I only wrote about happiness often. I was not happy. Someone I loved dearly had left the world and I was struggling to find my safe footing.
It all started with a simple action: I decided I would post a happy thing on my personal Facebook account every single day for a whole year. 365 days. One day at a time I would force myself to find a bit of happiness in the world. At first, it felt like a chore. I would scribble two or three lines and add a picture. I would chase sunsets and dawns and hope it would be enough.
As months went, I started finding happiness elsewhere. In books. In movies. I would spend all my bus and train journeys looking for the next happy tidbit. For the next quote. Happiness was a chore, yes, but it was a lifeline too. I knew it was in there somewhere so I just kept looking.
And then seasons passed and I started noticing the little things: the shorter line at Starbucks, leaves in autumn, the random guy who smiled at me on the tube, a book I liked, cupcakes. Was I happy? Maybe. Was I trying to be? Yet again, maybe. Was I bouncier overall? Definitely yes. By trying to find the beauty my eyes had gotten used to looking for it.
The second half of the year I only said happy things was hard. I said goodbye to my dad. I found about many things I wish I hadn’t. I struggled yet again with finding my place in the world. But every single day the alarm would still go off and for five minutes I would lie in bed and find a picture and a happy thing to say to the world.
I did not do this because I wanted to change the world. I did not do this because I wanted to find myself. I did it because this is where the game starts: by finding beauty in every day I started creating the pretty things I wanted to see.
And, of course, my life did not dramatically change. I did the same things I had done the previous year, just intentionally. I went to the same places I had been the previous year yet I loved them.I cherished each and every single of my scars. I cried and yelled and sang at the top of my lungs. I danced. My life did not change but I had changed. I was stronger. I felt the warmth in my fingertips, I missed my friend less and less every day: I was kind of happy.
So if you are struggling with smiling let me tell you this IT DOES GET BETTER. This is where the beauty of life is. Hug your scars.Close your eyes, do a 180 and start again and it will feel different. Smile at strangers. Laugh freely. Let others think you are silly. Start living.
Maybe you won’t need a whole year of happy and minute will be enough. Maybe you won’t need to talk about pretty things. Maybe you are happy already and you just don’t know. Whatever it is.. take a leap of faith. Give yourself a chance: a chance to embrace the silver linings.