It seems fitting, as I begin the second year of this project, that the first post falls today on International Day of Happiness.
The theme this year is ‘Connection’.
The team behind the movement (Action for Happiness) are encouraging everyone to make one positive connection with someone today; to reach out and make new connections with people we haven’t met yet; and to really focus on our connections with others – both in person and online.
That last part is quite important I think. It would seem on the surface that we are more connected than ever with our smartphones and high-speed wifi and Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest and numerous other apps that I’ve heard of and can’t keep up with… and yet feelings of loneliness and social isolation are at an all time high. Cyber-bullying is increasing rapidly (with devastating results in more than a few cases) and the art of face-to-face conversation is being lost as more and more couples spend their evenings at opposite ends of the sofa, one on a laptop, one on a tablet, both browsing the internet whilst the TV mumbles nonsense in the background. (And yes, I am describing a scene from my own home here that happens far more often than I am comfortable with).
At the opposite end of the spectrum, connecting online can lead to remarkable new friendships, creative new work collaborations and even love. For an introvert like me, connecting with my friends online is ideal, as I can interact with them without draining my energy, and I probably know more about what’s going on in their world than I do if we just met up for coffee every couple of months.
But I have to be honest and say that in my world, nothing beats the power of real, human connection. The kinaesthetic side of me needs it – a smile here, a touch on the arm there, a hug hello (and goodbye). I love to see people’s expressions, to watch their eyes crinkle as they smile, to feel the joy they feel as they tell me their good news, to offer them support as they tell me what’s knocked them off balance recently, even if that support nothing more than simply being there in person with them and listening to them empty out their hearts. That’s real connection.
I’m going to take the concept of connection one step further here… I think it’s vital that we also use today as a starting point to begin to connect with ourselves more.
(Don’t worry, I’m not going all spiritual on you)
It’s easy for us to get lost. We shuttle ourselves backwards and forwards every day, time and time again – to school, to work, to the supermarket, to the gym… and we lose sight of WHO WE ARE in the midst of it all. We forget what we really want. What we love to do. Where and when we feel most at peace with ourselves. And those things – they’re important! They are the parts of you that make you, you. If we forget to connect to them, we forget who we are.
This project helps me connect to myself on a daily basis, whether it’s laughing with my daughters, sharing a moment with my husband or even simply noticing the beauty of nature. What started out as an experiment has become so much more. It’s now a firm part of my journey and it will continue to be so indefinitely – a record of who I am and where I’ve been and where I’m going next.
And so, as a result, I am re-naming it #projecthappy.
Here are my happy moments from the last ten days:
I would love to hear how you are joining in with #InternationalDayOfHappiness – how are you going to make a positive connection with someone today? What new connections will you create with people you haven’t met yet? How will you focus on your current connections with those you love?
Please do feel free to leave a comment in the box below or get in touch with me directly via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading 🙂