03 Jan 5 Lessons I Learnt From My Happiness Jar
My Happiness Jar is one of the best self-love habits I ever started in 2015.
At the beginning of 2015. my life was turned up sided down. A year I couldn’t see coming even one month before it happened. It was a freaking crazy curve ball.
I came across this amazing idea from author Elizabeth Gilbert (yup! The Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic lady) who began a worldwide movement. Every time something happy happened or something I was proud of or feel good moments, memories I wanted to remember, I wrote it on a piece of paper and dumped it into my Happiness Jar. I opened the jar on December 31 and enjoyed all of the wonderful moments over a cup of green tea. It reminded me that even though I was having a tough year professionally, that there were still moments in my life to be grateful for.
But in its essence, the HAPPINESS JAR is an almost absurdly simple idea. It took me about 35 seconds to do, but what it brought me was enormous — not only the pleasure of finding good moments but the lasting benefits of recording those moments forever.
Snippets from my 2015 Happiness Jar were:
- Had a great meal and conversation with my friend Emma tonight.
- Started back writing. It was liberating.
- Despite being sick in bed, I built my 1st website today.
- Gave my 1st talk today to a group of teenage girls about how to appreciate beauty and love yourself.
- Launched a new educational project with a great team: TradeSchool
Lessons I Learnt from my Happiness Jar
1. I take the small things for granted.
Life isn’t only about the big accomplishments or big wins. Enjoying the simplicity of life is important as well. Slowing down. Being more present. Doing one task at a time. Preparing a healthy and delicious meal and then savoring every bite of it is a happy moment. Investing time and acknowledging simple pleasures like a relaxing soak in a hot tub, running 3 miles or enjoying a cup of tea while watching a beautiful sunset. Acknowledging the simple pleasures in life also has a surprisingly calming effect on me and should be recorded in my Happiness Jar.
2. I don’t celebrate myself enough.
Again, I don’t need to achieve big accomplishments in order to celebrate myself. Small steps towards larger goals are probably more important and deserve a toast all the same.
3. Professional accomplishments are not the only signs of professional growth
In a world that is heavily focused on job titles and how much money you make to determine your pecking order, it is easy to forget that professional growth does not only come in the form of a promotion. Ways in which I grew last year included developing a stronger passion for service through my non-profit work, expanding my world view with new publications, books and travel and making new connections thus widening my network.
4. I’m still battling perfectionism
I admit it. I am a recovering perfectionist. It’s a daily struggle. So much of a daily struggle that there were worthwhile happy moments that I didn’t record because I thought that they weren’t perfect. I must remember that I need to pay attention to progress and not perfection.
5. My attention to being grateful has increased which in turn allowed me to be happier.
Like I mentioned before, this was a tough year for me. I could have held my head and cried, but I remained grateful throughout the experience. The mindful act of recording a happy or grateful moment kept me positive during the year. My faith has not wavered. I appreciate the small efforts of the people in my life who deepen their connections with me. Brother David Steindl-Rast explained the connection between happiness and gratefulness in his TED Talk entitled “Want to be Happy? Be Grateful.” He explained that it is not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy. If you think its happiness that makes you grateful, think again.
2016 Happiness Jar
In 2016, I’m upping the ante. Instead of waiting for a happy moment to strike me I am going to record every single day, at the end of the day, the happiest moment of that day. Oh and I have to remember to date it too else I would have a bunch of memories and no idea when they occurred.
If you want to join me and do your own Happiness Jar, put whatever you like in there – whatever brings you peace or joy. When your jar fills up (which I dearly hope that it will) just make another one. Your Happiness Jar can be anything you wish. The joy is not in the vessel, it’s what is inside. Very simply put, what is inside is the best part of your life on Earth.
P.S – Do you already practice having a Happiness Jar? Let me know how it has changed your life in the comments below.