Make up, make up, never ever break up.
Contrary to what many of you will be thinking, this title refers to our relationship with ourselves. Although it’s a cliché, happiness originates from within – from our acceptance of ourselves as a whole. Everyone has ‘off’ days or ‘ugly’ days, that’s inevitable, but there’s no need for these to spiral into ‘off’ weeks unnecessarily. If we all take control of our own happiness and stop placing it into the hands of someone else as their responsibility, then self-love is more sustainable.
In the world of 2018 where selfies are the currency of social media and the exchange rate is the number of likes and comments, it’s no wonder people are placing so much importance on the external world. We can get sucked into taking hundreds of photos, just to get the perfect lighting and angle. Going out for an event seems to be more about getting ready and taking thousands of photos rather than enjoying your time with the people around.
It’s easy to be self-critical, to magnify our flaws and pin-point specific features which we dislike and wish to change. I’d even go as far as to say that the success of a number of industries is hinged upon this very fact. Take for example cosmetic surgery. The number of times I’ve heard a friend say ‘I wish my top lip were fuller,’ or ‘why can’t my nose be smaller?’ In each of these instances, I want to lend these friends my eyes, because once they see how I view them, they would be unable to doubt how special they were to me. Although being beautiful/ handsome is a great attribute, it’s not the only feature that matters. People are far likely to remember you if you are unapologetically yourself, rather than trying to conform to the standard of sociological ideals of ‘perfection.’
Whilst we are busy self-loathing, we are blinded to opportunities. We could even be missing out on Love (we’re too busy adjusting the filters on our photos to see what’s right in front of us – literally), happiness and even health (crash diets or eating junk food for comfort can deprive the body of essential vitamins and minerals).
So how do you become happier and more confident? I’d compare this to baking a cake – everyone has their own specific tastes and favourite flavour, but the basic recipe remains almost identical.
So, here’s my recipe for happiness:
- A dash of the outdoors: Get outside, take in the beauty of a sunset, or sit on a bench and people watch. Sometimes when we least want to leave the house, it is when we most need it.
- A slice of something nice: Do something kind for a stranger and expect nothing in return
- Mix in a few nuts/ nutcases: Surround yourself with people who love you (even at your darkest).
- Add some spice: Put on a face mask
- Stir in a bit of organisation: Write a to do list- I always find the physical act of writing things down helps alleviate a mental weight
- A generous glug of O2: Go for a walk – walking is a gentle form of exercise, which provides endorphins without feeling like a gruelling, or unnecessarily tortuous workout.
- Clean your desk… honestly, the gratification you feel from de-cluttering is not over rated.
Allergens to avoid:
- Avoid overthinking. The best way of doing this is to stay busy and distract yourself from messaging people who do not deserve your time. Paint your nails, have a bath or read a book. You could even plan and cook a delicious meal.
- Stay off social media. Comparison is the thief of joy; it is easy to compare yourself with the edited, tweaked and carefully constructed images you see on the Internet.
Our planet is full of people, all with their own self-doubts and insecurities. When we look at others, I guarantee we would not judge them as harshly as we sometimes (too easily) judge ourselves. Apply the same kindness you are willing to grant others to yourself (as a bare minimum).
Just remember, don’t waste your life wanting to change yourself. Instead, invest your energy into a more positive goal!