Taking Back Control of My Happiness

At the beginning of the semester, I made a goal to take back control of my own happiness. Although in reality, I always had control, there was a false perception that my happiness was in other people’s hands.

When your happiness is controlled by someone else, they have the power to destroy it, to use it against you, to make you believe that you are nothing without them, which can create an unhealthy dependence on others.

I neglected many aspects of my life during the first two years of university by explaining away how my lack of happiness and self-care was due to taking full course loads and having 10+ midterms every semester.

But I wanted to change.

So with that in mind, I remembered how there were things that I wanted to strive for in the past, but didn’t have enough courage to make it happen. Instead, I relied on other people to give me happiness and when that was depleted, I blamed myself for not being able to generate the same level of joy. Yet, when I decided to do something for myself, I was lost in figuring out how to start and fumbled around with the simple question of “What makes me happy?”.

Good food with friends will always make me happy no matter what.

During the summer, I talked to a friend about some of the struggles clouding my mind. She responded with immense positivity and by sharing our experiences with each other, she gave me the push to finally take the first step.

Thus, this semester, I decided to proactively pursue things that make me happy. Little steps such as reaching out to old friends and creating a habit of greeting a friend everyday unknowingly boosted my mental health. This made me realize how much I value social connections and how a lack of it resulted in detrimental effects that spread throughout parts of my life and tainted my thinking.

For everyone out there who feels like they want to be a little happier, reflect on the past and see what gave you the biggest smile. And once you have figured that out, plan out little steps you can take to change something in your life to achieve that. The change doesn’t happen instantly; reaching out to one friend for coffee one time won’t change anything dramatically.

Consistency is key. University life makes it incredibly hard to stay consistent in anything as things are always changing but start in one domain of your life and hopefully you can believe in yourself to take control of your own happiness.

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