If there’s one thing I’ve learned about happiness, it truly is, as they say, an inside job. It seems that every time my happiness has expanded, it’s because of something I did, something I gave myself, something I owned about something important to me, some action I took on my own behalf. Certainly others have been involved in that process, but it seems that what really moved the needle of my happiness was me taking ownership in some way for something in my life.
One case in point is starting the 365 Day Blog Project. Taking on this project gave me a platform to expressing myself without the stress of an agenda. It gave me freedom: freedom to create, freedom to write, freedom to explore. Looking back, I see this is truly what I wanted at the time. Therefore, it was very good for my happiness. And so it has continued to be.
Another example is the decision to become a professional musician. While I didn’t have the word “professional” in mind as a child, I do remember making the decision, by about age 12 or so, to apply myself seriously to my piano study. Thanks in part to positive reinforcement from family and friends, I had the sense that if I really dug in, if I really committed, I could go far. Most importantly, I knew how much I loved it. I made up my mind to lean into piano playing. Over the next few years, music would become one of my primary activities. Thus, my professional life was shaped by a decision in those early years.
What these examples make me think of is how much our happiness is tied to liking who we are. Doing my blog and becoming a musician were both things I liked* about myself. I was proud of myself. In a sense, my self-esteem grew from my ability to take on something important to me. It seems to me that happiness is closely linked with the satisfaction of living life the way we want to live.
And that being such a personal thing, no wonder happiness is an inside job!
*And still do 🙂