Comparison is the thief of joy

This one is all about self-reflection. If that bores you to tears, I suggest you stop reading.

This semester has been a challenging one. I’ve second-guessed my abilities as a student, as an employee, as a friend, as a girlfriend and more. In the midst of it all I have noticed an unfortunate trend which leads to my unhappiness. I say unhappiness, but that word is really just an umbrella term for any emotion that sucks the joy out of my day. (Such as jealousy, cruelty, wishful thinking, pessimism, the usual.)

Why do we compare ourselves to others? The quote by Dr. Seuss “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You” should ring in my head each time I start becoming my worst critic. Sure, my field is competitive. Sure, my college is competitive. That’s no excuse to disregard my individual strengths. Ever.

I find that we tend, as humans, to compare subconsciously. Sometimes that brings out the good in people. Sometimes that brings out the downright petty and cruel. I’ve challenged myself to overcome the negative mentality of beating someone down in my head until we’re somewhat “equal.” Instead, I’ll make a jar.

I must admit that Pinterest inspired this little nugget. This jar…I’ll call it an Affirmation Jar for Me…is empty starting Jan. 1, 2014. From there, I add pieces of paper to it that are filled with funny moments or inside jokes, accolades from the year, goals I’ve reached, and quotes I love. There’s also room for guest contributions! (Duh.)

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Kind of what I envision my jar looking like.

Will you join me on this positive and self-fulfilling journey? It may seem trivial right now, but I’m sure by the time Jan. 1, 2015, rolls around and I open it to read the tokens of happiness, I’ll visualize nothing but the fantastic parts of 2014. And that sounds pretty damn good.

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Why I choose to be happy

This isn’t one of those, “I wake up every morning and look in the mirror…” posts.

Bear with me. I choose to be happy because I know I’m more fortunate than most. I choose to be happy because my worst day is someone’s best. I choose to be happy because of the support and encouragement of those around me.

My solace comes from various sources: the ocean, a song that makes me see the bigger picture, writing because I feel like it, running to feel my heartbeat quicken. This may be a generalization, but I find that most people my age are so virtually connected that they lack a sense of reality when it comes to pure happiness.

A digital presence is important. I learn that more and more each day. However a digital presence can be misinterpreted as a form of anonymity. Your name may be associated with something, but it can always be deleted right? I find that my generation is never satisfied. Someone is always a little faster or more creative or has a quicker wit, which can lead to an inferiority complex.

Social and digital media has allowed this inferiority complex to be front and center. Tempers or cruelty take over, and thoughts are splayed across a screen in black and white. (Or in color, if that’s your design preference.)

This is why I choose to be happy regardless of my long, busy, tiring day. I choose to take an hour or so for myself at the gym, on a run, cooking dinner, reading Buzzfeed articles, etc. I choose to find a little bit of solace each day so my temper doesn’t get the best of me when things aren’t 100 percent perfect. Because that’s not reality. And I’m not anonymous. I’m happy.

Are we doing ourselves an injustice?

There’s just too much flourescent lighting everywhere.

This is what I’ve observed about my generation:

We sit in stuffy classrooms, we work in stuffy offices, we stare at lame computer screens, we talk on the phone more than we talk to each other in person…I could go on all day long.

I’ve been researching the subject of “happiness in the workplace” and there is a common theme in every article, book, video:

You have to find your own happiness.

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Where do I find my solace or what do I think of when I picture myself as truly happy? I’m on or near the water. I’m outside and appreciative of the beauty that is surrounding me. These moments tend to be few and far between because I don’t encourage myself to make the time. I would rather be productive so the next school/work day is easier…

That’s a terrible approach. I believe that a huge factor in a person’s productivity level stems from his/her happiness level at work or in class. We become immune to the little beauties (especially at LSU) throughout the day because we focus on our To Do lists. It’s time that we make time for ourselves.

We also need to get out of the office. We need to strike up a conversation with someone just because. We need to take more walks. We need to find a change of scenery. We need to close our computers. Most of all, we should probably smile more. I can speak from experience when I say that all of these things have inspired me to perform better. I am motivated to try something outside of the box, and failure doesn’t seem quite as terrifying.

I’m challenging myself to appreciate the little moments and take more yoga breaths when I’m feeling overwhelmed about something I’ll most likely forget about next week. As the adage goes, life’s too short.