Poyer: Let’s talk about happiness

Columnist Sarah Poyer offers her own advice on how to find happiness.

Sarah Poyer

I have known countless people in my life who have searched for happiness in people outside of themselves. Searching for joy that way never really seems to get you that true, happy feeling. 

So how do we find happiness then? I don’t have the answer to that question. I wish I did, but I can offer some suggestions to help guide you on your journey. 

First, I don’t think happiness is a destination we end up at. If happiness was just the destination, then I think life would be boring. It seems to be more of a journey with hills and valleys. All of them have to be a part of the happiness journey, otherwise, you wouldn’t ever really reach it. 

My first suggestion is to fall in love with everyday life. But honestly, I don’t think the post is wrong. If we fall in love with everyday life, then every day might be a bit better. So as the post states, that walk to your first class or the bus stop will be the best walk you have ever had. That cup of coffee you made this morning was the best you had. Romanticize your everyday life and maybe you can find a hind of happiness lurking around most corners.

My second suggestion to you all is to practice self-love. OK, I know hearing that is getting to be a bit much, but if we all loved ourselves a little more, I think the world would be the most beautiful place. I don’t believe self-love has to be solely face masks and spa nights; sometimes, it has to be more complicated. You have to love yourself enough to get up and go to class (future you will thank you for that!), to do your homework (again, your future self will be grateful) and to do some nitty-gritty stuff like go to therapy.

Love yourself enough to take care of the aspects of your life you are struggling in, which I know is easier said than done (email me if you need some encouragement, I can do that for you!). You don’t have to get up every single day and think you are the most beautiful human to grace the planet (although I hope you do), but get up every day and work on loving that beautiful mess you are. 

My third suggestion is to find something fun and good (maybe both) every day. While every day may not be the most glamorous day (perhaps you slept through an exam or your cat died), I will give you a pass on the latter day, but the day you slept through that exam? I guarantee something went well. Maybe you made a delicious coffee or your roommate told you they loved your hair. You might have gotten to do something fun like holding a remarkable animal or screaming in your car to some terrific songs. Maybe write the beautiful/good/fun things down in your phone or invest in a journal and write them down there. Find something good, fun and beautiful in most of your days. There are some perfect (or near-perfect) days. I promise. 

My fourth suggestion to you is to stop caring so much about what everyone else thinks. Much, much easier said than done. The only opinion that matters is yours. Your roommate, best friend, parents, adviser, Wendy Wintersteen, etc. can give input, and you see my point (at least I hope). Their input might affect your decision-making, which I don’t see as terrible, but do what is best for you in your mind.

Your decisions won’t make you happy 100 percent of the time, but trusting yourself will feel really, really good. Recently I had a best friend switch her major, and at first, she was anxious about it. She was concerned for some excellent reasons too, and I don’t fault her one bit. But, she ended up trusting herself and making the switch, and I think she is happier already. Trusting yourself gives you this sense of happiness I can’t even describe.

My fifth and final suggestion for this column is to keep working and pushing through. I know that you have bad days and unfortunately you’re going to. I cannot make them go away, and if I could, I would wave my wand and make it happen. Bad days are going to happen, so let yourself feel your emotions. Maybe curl up with your roommate and have a talk, watch some Netflix or eat some excellent food.

Bad days won’t last forever. They will come, they will go. As my high school chemistry teacher says, “Give the best you can every day.” While your best every day won’t look the same, still give it. 

This beautiful and crazy journey called life can throw us for some loops. Happiness won’t always come easy, but it will come. Follow my suggestions or don’t, but maybe something completely different will be helpful to you. Work toward finding your happiness every day. It makes life so much more beautiful. So love yourself and find some happiness along the way because you may be a mess some days, but a stunning one at that.