The challenge from 100happydays.com is simple: post a picture of something that makes you happy each day for 100 days in a row. The pictures do not have to be posted publicly. A key to remember during this challenge is that it’s for you, personally, not to please others.
Why I Participated
I wanted to find out for myself if I could do it, for one. I also wanted to challenge myself to find something that made me, individually, happy everyday after struggling with a few heavy depression episodes over the last two years following a disastrously messy breakup.
This was an eye-opening challenge for me. I rediscovered pieces of myself that I’d hidden away due to fear. I reminded myself of things I have that I need to remember to be grateful for and appreciate more. I learned of new opportunities and experiences to look forward to in the coming years. The biggest lesson I learned, though, and the lesson I hope everyone learns when taking up this challenge is learning to love yourself. Because how can you possibly expect to love others, entirely, if you don’t know how to love yourself first?
The first thing I did as a participant in this challenge was deactivate my Facebook account. I have no desire to reactivate the account, not that I recall my password if I did desire to do so. I also quickly decided that anything I posted on Instagram, I wanted to be sure it was something that made me happy, and wasn’t me clinging to someone or something related to past moments long gone. Also, have you ever fully realized just how rampant negativity is on Facebook?!
The first week or so without Facebook was a bit of an adjustment. I’d gotten into a nasty habit of browsing it for hours at a time, and wasn’t sure what to do with all this free time I suddenly had. After re-organizing a bookshelf, I rediscovered some journals and books to finish (or start). I got out in nature, going for walks to clear my mind when stress started to build. I picked up forgotten cross-stitching projects, and painted while catching up on television.
Still, I would find times where I didn’t know what to do with myself. That quickly dissipated as a family member passed away in October and our family was evicted from our home in November. It was incredibly challenging to fight the temptation to give up, curl into a ball and break down in self-pity with all of that going on. And while I did cry and grieve, I found myself committed to this challenge of 100 Happy Days, and still found something to post each day. One lesson I learned from all of this was that sadness is inevitable. It’s crazy to think and even pretend that one is completely happy at every single moment — that’s just not possible. You can either give in to the sadness, and let it completely destroy you, or you can allow it to make you stronger.
I chose to look for the positive even in the bad. How could I possibly learn and grow from this pain instead of allowing it to consume me? I found the answer to that question in little things that ended up posted in a photo on Instagram. Something as simple as treating myself to a favorite drink or relaxing in a bubble bath helped remind me of little things I still have to be grateful for and appreciate.
This challenge was a perfect way to end the year for me. I have no plans of redoing this challenge right away, but I may mark the date on my calendar to end each year with this challenge. Thoughts? Have you ever taken on this type of challenge? Would you ever consider doing it (or redoing it)?