When I started this blog last week, my reasoning behind choosing the name “happy single momma” was to intentionally choose the description for my life even before it came fully to fruition. Beyond that, I wanted to share my story with other women looking down a path of single parenthood or who are already single parents but are fighting for their own happiness.
I want to be intentional about creating a life for myself and my child where the main theme is joy. But I know one doesn’t usually stumble into happiness.
Your happiness isn’t an accident.
Happiness, contentedness, joyfulness, and peace all come from choices you make every day to stay true to your core self. I posted a blog last night about the impact of small choices and how they can add up to major life changes and this morning I wanted to take it one step further.
I have spent the last few years fighting for my heart and my happiness. I’ve spent time around people who weren’t lifting me up and who were usually going a step further and tearing me down. More destructive than that, I was spending too much time in my own head. Now that can be a scary place. I’ve referenced a few times already in my posts that I have decided to put that long season of fear and doubt behind me and move on into the life I feel called to live. I tangibly started this journey in September of 2013, but life is rarely smooth sailing. I gave my heart away when I wasn’t ready, and I attempted to receive love when I didn’t know how to.
I’ve had a few catalysts in my life before, but being pregnant with a precious baby girl automatically takes the cake. If I look at my life and where I’ve been and then I look into the future of how I want to raise a child and how I want to establish myself as a strong woman, there are clear choices to make to move me along a path of happiness and strength.
Here are 5 ways you can start pursuing happiness today:
Figure out what you truly want out of life. Be honest with yourself, and I mean really honest. Get it really clear in your mind and then on paper how you want to live your life. Write down your dreams and write down what is important to you. (See yesterday’s blog for Michael Hyatt’s life plan template if you want an outline.) Make a plan and decide no matter what that THIS is YOUR path. Memorize it, digest it, and meditate on it.
Weed out negativity around you. Is there something or someone in your life that you know is pulling you down? Your strengths and your happiness have a much better chance of survival if you remove the weeds in your life. If you have a friend or family member who is draining or discouraging you, respectfully back out of his/her life or set boundaries to protect your heart. If you are in a job that absolutely tears you down day after day, start sending your resume to your dream jobs today. If your main source of negativity comes from within, I’ve found strategies like the one listed here extremely helpful.
Incorporate YOU time into every day. Whenever I hear this advice, people advise spending anywhere from just 10 minutes to 60 minutes a day. I’ve found that 30 minutes is a perfect amount to start with, and you can add this up in 10 minute segments if you are really busy. Sit alone and meditate and clear your mind, listen to a motivational podcast by someone you respect while you are driving to and from work, take a 15 minute walk and stretch your body. Make a list of books that will help teach you about your desired lifestyle or career and read a few pages every day. Whether it’s right when you wake up, in between errands, or late after the day before you fall asleep, make sure you have time to spend in personal development.
Build a solid community around you. This is a hard one for someone like me who has spent most of my life running from circle to circle, too distracted or upset to really plug in and receive support and give my time consistently to others. Over the years as I’ve realized how this has affected me, I have been intentional about developing key friendships with people who are pursuing their goals and building others up. Successful and happy people have a support system. As humans we are wired as communal creatures. Isolation usually destroys our spirits and lies take over our mind. When we are surround by those we respect and care about, we cannot help but be challenged to be better and to love harder. Whether it’s searching online for a community of new moms, plugging into a church or community organization, or reconnecting with family members you have lost touch with, take a step to incorporate one person or one group into your life that you know will push you towards your goals.
Give your time and resources to others as much as possible. Another lesson I’ve learned from successful and happy people is that giving to others creates a type of joy that is hard to duplicate in any other way. Whether it’s “paying it forward” in a drive through, babysitting your friend’s kids for free, volunteering with a local charity, or giving your time, money, or expertise to a stranger in need, you will strengthen your character as you become generous. Being generous when you’re broke feels impossible. Being generous when you’re depressed feels laughable. Being generous when you don’t think the person deserves it feels wrong. However, I challenge you to give something to someone today. It can be 10 minutes of your time when you feel rushed. It can be a helping hand to a coworker that you really don’t like. You will see the opportunity and when you choose to push aside feelings of selfishness or of being uncomfortable, you will grow.
Not so long ago, I accepted a friend’s request that I join her in delivering flowers to those in a hospital through a local volunteer organization that takes donated flowers from weddings or stores and repurposes them into beautiful bouquets for those in need of a smile. When my friend asked me to join her, I was very hesitant. I had just been broken up with and I was struggling to make a decision about my pregnancy and couldn’t decide what I was doing with my life. To make it even more overwhelming, this particular friend is an endless ball of energy and positivity and feels difficult for me to be vulnerable around. I felt that if I joined her I would have to paint on a fake smile and hand flowers out to sick people and try to hold back the tears. I took a deep breath and accepted her invitation. By the end of the afternoon, after visiting many patients, holding a sick woman’s hand as she cried, and getting out of my head, I was bursting with thankfulness and I was happy. I had put aside my selfishness and my desire to “have it all together” in front of my friend, and I served others. This type of action will build you up, time and time again.
Whether you are a momma, a single momma, a single momma-to-be like me, or anyone else, do not believe any lies that tell you that you have to give up your joy and happiness to make it through life. You are strong and you are beautiful. You have a unique set of desires and skills that when combined, contribute something that ONLY you can give to those around you.
I’ve made a short worksheet for this content that you can use to start brainstorming how to apply these steps in your life today.