|My words of encouragement.|
The power of words continue to amaze me. The way that, when strung together correctly, they can make people smile, move them to tears, sometimes hurt, and other times give you exactly what you need to get going again (the language student in me shining through massively right now!) About a year ago, I read a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben. Now, I was very sceptical about this. With regard to happiness, I agree with the quote "happiness is a mood, not a destination, and it is not permanent - it comes and goes", and Ruben's idea, to me, suggests that happiness is destination. Nonetheless, I did read her book; I was intregued. Happiness is a very personal thing, and I was interested to read what she wrote. It was one of those books that I took notes from, and I was really surprised by how much I actually took from her writings. For example, I very much agree with her concept of having a "list of rules" by which you live by. Whether you realise it or not, almost everyone has little "mottos" that they abide by no matter what. As well, there were some things she mentioned that I do believe help to cultivate a happy mood, such as maintaining good relationships with family and friends, clearing the clutter (personally, mess makes me miserable), taking time out for you etc etc. They were all things I tried to do anyway.
But there was one piece of advice of hers that I took and acted upon, and I think it's the one that has been the most reliable source of happiness for me. In her book, Ruben suggests creating a "happy box": somewhere you can keep some photos and...well...anything that makes you happy. When you have a bad day, it's always there waiting to make you smile. I created a "happy box" to take away on my year abroad with me. Inside this box I usually keep photos (but they are currently up on my noticeboard), birthday and Christmas cards from my friend Ellen (she always writes essays in them, but they are on display) and pictures from my Godson (also on display in my room).
However, the items that never leave this box and come with me everywhere are the letters written to me over the past two years from two of the girls I lived with at uni. It seems that no matter how bad I think things have been, their words always manage to cheer me up and help me remember the good, something I spoke about in yesterday's post:
"This is a message to keep you smiling and let you know you're loved..."
"The places you go, things you do, people you meet that remind you of the goodness and wonder you share this world with. So if you ever loose sight of the magic in the world, read this and smile..."
"Together our 'family' will get through anything; it's what we do best..."
"She's a lady...woooo woooo woooo...she's a lady..." [you had to be there!]
"Tomorrow will be a new day, the sun will rise and what seemed overwhelming becomes something you've survived..."
"If life were easy, it'd be boring. There'd be no need for vodka, no need for girls night and no need to appreciate life..."
"The darkest days unite us, bring us together in A&E, together in the LCR, together in a bed with baileys and lettuce..." [again...you had to be there!]
It's these words, which I was reminded of after a skype date with a friend yesterday, along with constant texts from my best friend and friends from the SDUK facebook group that keep me going. Another friend posted on Facebook the following quote: "Friendship...has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survive." And I believe this to be true. It's a lot easier to get up and "fight" everyday when you know you're doing it for other people as well as yourself.