Six Ways To Love Yourself This Week: Jars Of Happiness And Videogame Nostalgia
Sometimes the concept of self-love is so abstract that other than drawing a hot bath [and throwing in some essential oils], we don’t really know what it means in our every day life. Because I absolutely know how that feels – and it can be overwhelming to come up with new approaches all by yourself – I have collected six things I did to love myself a little more this week, in the hopes that you find some inspiration!
1) I Focused On Wanting To Feel Good
The last couple of weeks have offered me a lot of situations and events for personal growth. For one, I broke my newly purchased car – twice – resulting in me having to buy another new one. Additionally, some doors closed that I had counted on being open. Basically, I felt like I had a major ‘right’ to throw a pity party and go into siren-wail mode.
But I didn’t. Admittedly, I did shed some tears – feeling my emotions was important – but I snapped out of the negativity spiral very quickly.
Every time I felt a negative emotion, I tried to flip it around.
I am not talking fake optimism here, but the real and authentic desire to feel good – no matter the circumstances and events out of my control. Whenever I felt a negative thought or feeling creep up, I tried to find something I could truly feel grateful for.
With my car, for example, I kept saying thank you to the universe for protecting me. Every time the car broke down I could have been badly injured, but it decided to silently die in spots that were safe for me. In addition, the fact that it broke twice within one month was a clear sign for me that it wasn’t able to protect me, and carry me safely through the winter.
It forced me to look at new options that would fit better. Also, I was able to experience the unconditional love of my family, which picked me up when I was stranded somewhere in the Austrian mountains! *they even brought a flask with tea!
At the same time, this event made me aware of deeply rooted triggers I held concerning my past and present relationships that I would otherwise never have been aware of. Ultimately, for one shitty thing to happen, I found at least six different reasons to be grateful – and focusing on those things made me feel GOOD.
I watched 2 Broke Girls, asked for hugs, made something out of hot glue and wire (see point 3), visualised events and things in my life that filled me with excitement, said thank you to people who made my life happier, called my best friend who always makes me feel better (my mam), and made a list of the things I am grateful for.
It is a fantastic habit I want to hang on to: Whenever there is something negative, I can choose to focus on what makes me feel good [because focusing on what makes me feel bad…….just doesn’t make sense]
2) I Made a ‘Happiness Jar’
This is such a simple, yet powerful thing to make and have.
All you need is some form of container – I used a mason jar – and that’s it.
There is nothing more you ‘need’ to do or have, in case procrastination and generally putting things off due to perfectionist-paralysis is an issue for you.
If you feel creative and want to make it look special, you can always glue coloured paper, or magazine cut outs onto your container of choice. Technically, anything that you can apply with glue is fine… glitter, sequins, little plastic flowers…GO CRAZY!
I used simple spray glue and some gift wrapping paper in different colours to decorate my jars. Warning: I ended up spraying glue not only onto myself, but my laptop, my leggings, my desk, my floor […how?], and my cat. It was a glue fiasco. I got the remains off of my hands five days later. Keep that in mind as you set out to glamour-rehaul your container.
But now I’ll tell you what makes this jar a happy jar:
- Every night I sat down and wrote a list of the 10 things that made me happy that day and that I felt grateful for. I put this list into my jar.
- Every morning when I woke up, I sat down with a cup of tea and wrote 10 things I could look forward to or be grateful for that day. I put the list into my jar.
- Every time something beautiful happened to me, or I had a wonderful thought that made me happy, I wrote it down and put it into the jar.
Can you see how this is an extremely happy jar? It’s probably the happiest jar I know!
Practicing this habit and keeping it small, while also having a dedicated place for it, really helped me start and end my days on an extremely positive note. Most of the time it just reminded me of how precious life is, how many fantastic things happen that I often forget or don’t acknowledge, and how blessed I am with my friends and family.
You have probably heard and read about this a thousand times [I see that eye-roll!], but: Practicing gratitude really does make you feel better, and it does make life more beautiful, and it does make you a more loving person, and it does attract many more good things.
Also: Just think of how many happy things you will have collected in that container if you do it regularly for a year: 20 things a day x 365 days = 7300 happy thoughts. That is a LOT of happiness!
3) I Made Something With My Hands
As a self-proclaimed artist, it is weird how many days and weeks can pass without me ever wielding the paintbrush and covering myself and a piece of paper in watercolours. Due to a period of artistic depression, I lost the habit of intuitive creation, and have instead used my time in mind numbing, soul sucking pursuits – such as repeatedly clicking the refresh button on my Facebook feed. [If you ever feel like this, you might be interested in another post I wrote on this topic: What To Do When You Are Too Afraid To Create]
I no longer want to do that. It doesn’t make me feel good and freezes my creativity and creative output. Most things I do online do.
This week I tried to really start doing things with my hands and learning to enjoy it again. I want creative creation to become a priority of my life again. I want to feel absorbed by a painting or a piece of writing. I want to lose and express myself in colours, poems and textures… I want to channel all the beautiful things of this world and bring them to new life in my work.
Nothing makes me feel so alive, proud and thriving as creating does.
4) I Learnt A Jumpstyle Routine
My fourteen year old brother is really into Jumpstyle and when he is home, he will let the entire house know what he is listening to. The sound of music [no, not this sound of music], especially with a good bass and loud enough, will usually attract my mam and so she spent an hour with my brother, just listening to his music and dancing in his room.
A couple of hours later, when I went down to look for my mam, I found her in the living room learning from a beginner’s Jumpstyle tutorial on Youtube. Listening to my brother’s music and experiencing his love for the dance style associated with it, had inspired her to want to learn some moves – while also reaping the benefits of a fantastic cardio workout…
I was instantly recruited, and we spent time together jumping around the living room, more or less doing as we were shown – and fully enjoying the experience.
And that’s it. There is no further reason to this.
I learnt something new and completely random, spent a fantastic time with my mam, and connected with one of my brother’s passions.
I intend to do this more often. Learn something new and random. Spend time exploring and learning about the interests of the people I love. *Here is the Jumpstyle tutorial we practiced with, in case you want to have a look 😉
5) Reclaiming What I Used To Love: Listening To An Audio-Book
I often wonder when I became serious and “grown up.” When I say grown up, I definitely don’t mean the positive, productive version, but the version a child would only think of in disgust.
It also makes me think of a German TV- ad in which a little boy asks: Why do grownups have so many toys but don’t play with them?
When have I stopped playing with my toys? When did I stop enjoying the things I used to do?
I stopped writing for pleasure, I stopped drawing based on my inner urge, I stopped playing video games, I stopped reading mangas, I stopped doing things just for the sake of doing them, I stopped ordering a book in a bookstore and anticipating its arrival with amazement.
At the same time, however, I did not replace these lost pursuits with equally joyful and inspiring grown up things – no – I replaced them with many hours wasted online, procrastination, sleep, and days that pass by without knowing what I did to fill them.
As a Halloween treat, I decided to go to bed listening to a scary audio book. I used to listen to audio-books every night until I was 21, then suddenly I stopped. Listening to one last week made me realise just how much I love falling asleep to a good story.
There are so many other things that my younger self did that I want to reclaim for my adult self. Instead of squandering my spare time away, I will choose to create, or do something that makes me feel happy and fulfilled! Playing Nintendo’s Majora’s Mask and finally finishing it is one thing on my list.
6) I Faced The Facts
I have this very interesting habit of not wanting to face the facts. If I get a letter that I fear might contain bad news, I will not open it for ages. I do not open e-mails that make me feel uncomfortable until it is too late. If I need to call someone to find out if something went well or bad, I will not call for ages.
The list goes on.
When my car broke down and I had it towed to the mechanics, I didn’t want to face the possibility of it being broken again, and what that meant for me.
Instead, I spent most of my day in a half-state of misery and false hope, trying to convince myself that everything would be ok, and it wouldn’t be as bad as I feared.
My mother-in-law watched this patiently for an hour before she lovingly convinced me that it would be better to just call the garage and get it over with.
A part of me struggled with this as I did not want to have to face the truth of a broken car, and not having it spoken out loud allowed me to believe that everything was fine; that there was still this perfect reality in which I did not have to find a new car, or rely on others to get to where I needed to go.
While this is a wonderful procrastination and reality escape tactic, I also realised that it’s not a very helpful one. By not facing the facts, I not only lie to myself, I also relinquished my action power. Trapped in this gray land of not knowing for sure, I am not able to take actions in a more constructive direction, nor am I able take care of myself properly.
Instead, I waste valuable time that I could use in forming a new plan, and carefully choosing my next steps. In fact, that was exactly what had caused me to buy a car that let me down in the first place: I didn’t have enough time to consider my options properly because I had ignored the deteriorating condition of my old car, and I bought a rotten apple.
Last week’s experience made it clear to me that I don’t want that anymore.
I want to love myself by facing the facts as soon as possible. That way I free up important time that I can use to plan my next actions with more freedom and less pressure – thus, they are more likely to be good ones.
It’s like ripping the proverbial band aid off!
That was my list – what are your six things to love yourself a little more this week?
Take care, xo
The Good Enough Creative
A lot of us have internalised beliefs that keep us miserable + secretly thinking that our emotional suffering is a necessary [and even romantic] part of the creative process.
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