I am writing a series of blog posts on the topic of happiness. For me, dancing is happiness: it’s healthy for mind, body and spirit as I described in my Reasons to Dance post recently. But there are plenty of things that anyone can do to inject a little bit of happiness into their everyday.
In this post (which became so full of great happiness-boosting ideas that I have had to split it into multiple posts), I am focusing on things you can do to improve your self-esteem. It’s about feeling good about who you are, being okay with who you are not, and feeling good about how you interact with the world. I take a lighthearted approach but I hope the principles of the techniques and practices I explain here and in the next posts will help you.
The journey begins with writing yourself a happiness resume:
Write a happiness resume
No, not a laborious work CV that reads like on overview of Microsoft Office, where Professional email Reader should be a job title but an account of your personality and strengths. It is about writing down all the great things about you that don’t (but should) feature on a resume. It’s about making a statement of who you are right now.
Some ‘how to feel happy’ tips include writing down three positive things about yourself every day. And that’s great if it works for you. My idea is about the complete package of who you are and not just snippets.
Any good career consultant or recruitment agent will tell you that your actual CV should represent you on your best day ever so take this attitude and apply it to your happiness resume. Start with a bio:
This is the section where you give a summary of yourself and it should be packed-full of positive adjectives. What are your best features? What makes you feel proud about yourself?
“Fluent in three languages, I can cook the best damn chilli you have ever tasted: my curries are legendary. I can solve any problem and I am renowned for my resourcefulness and ingenuity.”
“I am a caring person who is always considerate of the feelings of others; I enjoy being tactile and giving hugs especially to those in need of support; you will not find a greater friend than me. I was a fairy in a former life.”
“I have a powerful personality and voice to match; energy is my middle name. I am honest, I love animals and I am guaranteed to be the last one on the dance floor. You might misunderstand me but I don’t apologise for who I am.”
That’s just reminded me: here’s a bio I wrote for a friend for her next belly dance performance:
“Debbie is an exceptional performer and teacher with an extensive background in Oriental dance. With signature moves, Debbie brings spirit, sass and sheer feminine power to every performance.”
It’s always easier to be objective about someone else. If it helps, approach it as if you were a friend describing you and use the third-person like I have for Debbie above i.e. ‘<your name> is…’ instead of ‘I am…’. Yes?
This is anything you have ever down that needs to be celebrated but doesn’t (yet) have an award scheme or certification in place to give it the recognition it deserves. Here are some of mine:
- Dug up a fruit tree all on my own.
- Bill Bailey replied to my Tweet about how ‘Bill Bailey’s Bird Watching Bonanza’ was a great program and how late night re-runs helped me through night-time feeds with my first born.
- Starting a blog.
- I made a bra from a bag.
Yours could include:
- Prepared and delivered Christmas dinner for 12 people including a vegan.
- Achieved an upgrade to business class for flights to Rome because you had the guts to ask.
- Successfully eliminated gluten from your diet.
- Stayed up all night to watch an astronomical event and still did a full-days’ work the following morning.
- Completed an evening course in Beginner’s Italian.
- Writing thank you letters to everyone who attended your wedding.
- Won the Dad’s race at my son’s school’s sports day even beating the chap who turned up in Lycra and trainers.
Goals & Aspirations
If this were a work resume, this would be the section where you sound like an over confident smug prick. But it’s not a work resume and we’re not pricks. Its about looking towards the future and what you fancy doing next. Think about what things you are interested in learning or a new hobby you would like to start in the next year or so. Keep this achievable – fly to the moon or become a mermaid are noble ideas but perhaps a little lofty. Neither is it a bucket list – we’re too young to be thinking like that. Examples:
- Take an evening class in interior design.
- Go to the opera
- Take a vacation that’s longer than one week
- Have a night out with your wife – without the kids – and make her feel special
- Start a blog!
- Learn basic car maintenance
I was thinking about whether to include losing weight in the list above but decided against it. Losing weight to feel happy sounds like something someone would do who doesn’t like themselves much. However being happy with yourself might lead you to weight loss without trying and without having to ‘diet’.
Let’s bring it back to the now with your “hobbies”. Use this section as a compilation of your foibles and distinguishing behaviours. Things that are so you. If your friends did an impression of you, these are what they would say or do . It’s a lighthearted and warm description of what really makes you you. After all, you are a complex and multi-faceted person. Laughing at ourselves is an important step in self-acceptance and is a great way of being mindful of your own special characteristics:
- Bird and people watching.
- Parking badly for amusement.
- Saying ‘hey’ at the end of every sentence
- Sending really long text messages.
- Watching Strictly Come Dancing on iPlayer so you can fast-forward through Tess Daly.
- Losing your mobile phone.
- That old hat you’re still wearing
- Pronouncing ‘Consumer’ as ‘Conshumer’
Now you have completed your personal CV, file it away and don’t look at it for at least a month. Just congratulate yourself on completing this task and move on.
Coming up soon, I will be sharing some more ideas on how to feel happy. Don’t want to miss it? Please follow my blog.