Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Happiness Project: June Recap and July

For the month of June, I focused on increasing the peace in my life. Here's how I did with my resolutions:

:: Journal daily -- While I didn't journal every single day, I used my journal much more frequently than usual, and I feel like it really did increase my sense of peace. When I was frustrated with something, I could type it out and get it out of my system, which left me feeling much less frustrated and also sometimes led me in a thought process that would solve the problem. 

:: Meditate daily -- I think this was the resolution that was most beneficial for me, new-agey as that sounds. I don't know that I meditate "right" -- but the five minutes of quiet thought that I've been taking almost every day has helped me to slow down, be less reactive, and find more creative solutions to my problems and ideas. 

:: Record my patriarchal blessing in my own voice -- I did this one on Sunday, and it was an incredibly moving experience for me. It fits well into my project for July, which I will comment on below. 

:: Go to the temple -- I didn't meet this resolution. On the day I planned to go to the temple, I spent the day throwing up. However, I am going to make an effort to go in July -- the beauty of this is that I can continue to try and keep following my resolutions even if my personal deadline has passed. 
:: Search for quotes, songs, scriptures, etc. that promote peace -- I haven't finished my topical study of Peace in the scriptures, but I have found a scripture that has become more or less my anthem for this month -- it came up multiple times and rang so true to some of the difficulties I have been experiencing with peace:
2 Nephi 4:27: And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
I've come to realize that when my peace is destroyed, it is frequently because I have allowed it to be destroyed. I have taken offense, or reacted with anger, or beat myself up mentally, thus giving "the evil one place in my heart." I think my big ticket lesson from this month has been that peace is mine to choose (by the grace of God) and when it is chased away it is often by my choices.


For July, I originally thought I would focus on marriage or parenthood. I felt like I should move away from these "self-centered" goals and focus outward. However, another lesson I've learned this month is that in order to effectively serve and love others, I need to have a healthy relationship with myself. For some reason, I have always really struggled with my self-esteem. I've always been quick to berate myself, been easily offended, imagined the worst case scenario for myself. This has caused me problems with depression for most of my life. As I went through a rough several days this past month, I felt strongly that I needed to focus on recognizing my worth as an individual and daughter of God. So this month's emphasis is "Self Worth." My goals are:

:: Making use of that recording I made of my patriarchal blessing. (Explanation of patriarchal blessing). It is such an amazing tool for remembering my divine nature and I use it too infrequently.

:: Similar to my plan for June, study scriptures and other quotes/ideas about self-worth and divine identity.

:: Follow some journal-writing prompts on self-worth and self-discovery. 

:: Spend some time being creative every day -- So, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, girls from the ages of 12-18 work on Personal Progress, a project that encourages them to develop attributes like faith, knowledge, integrity, etc. One of them is individual worth, and I always thought those value projects were so easy to complete because many of them involved developing talents. Because I took piano, voice, and dance classes, I was always "developing talents." However, I feel like I missed the central message. I want to spend some time being creative and focusing on how that can help develop confidence. 

So far, this Happiness Project has quickly become an exploration of some of my deepest values and issues, but I appreciate the fact that it has me asking questions of myself and seeking to progress. What do you find helps increase your self-confidence and positive self-esteem? 

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