Making Time for Igniting Joy

Gabriel Deleon, Copy Editor

In our day-to-day lives concept is everything. Decisions are affected by learned or innate morality, contentment, money, entertainment– and all of these threads are sewn to our worth as a person. Any failure in these areas becomes a direct confrontation with what it means to be a “decent” or “successful” human being. 

But in our conceptual categorization, we overlook ourselves. Capitalistic society stresses nobility in self-sacrifice, but it fails to mention the consequences of neglecting one’s self. Ultimately, we can’t be so concerned with societal ideas that we forget our own needs. We all matter. If “charity starts at home” the first place we should start is ourselves.

That begins with understanding our place in the world. We aren’t always in full control of our environment. Look at the pandemic. That situation combined with our era of technological advancement means more stress and pervasive social pressure. We all feel impelled to live up to certain standards, especially now. Therefore, it’s important to understand that your surroundings aren’t always your fault. Surroundings may become your responsibility but they don’t determine your worth.

For the things we are in control of, we still need to be gentle with ourselves. Progress isn’t linear or made in leaps. There aren’t consistent rates where an advancement is made in a set amount of time. If there is, that kind of advancement isn’t permanent or human. Similarly, not all progress is made going forwards. Sometimes, taking the next step is making mistakes or being set back. Going back a few steps can give you time to rethink things. It can remind you of why you’re continuing to make an effort and you may learn something new that will aide you in the future. In the end, you can’t follow someone else’s standards and expect to get the same results: “Bread expands when it rests and diamonds need intense pressure to form.” You will always be different. Do not  belittle what you’ve done.

Most importantly, though, we should make time for things that ignite joy. Obviously, the activities that bring you joy shouldn’t hurt or harass anyone or anything. But, you should find a way to bring yourself contentment: even if it’s just to get you through until the next day. Redecorate something you look at a lot– your room, your cellphone, your computer. Cuddle with your pet for as long as you can. Have a nice warm beverage and watch your favorite movies. Something as simple as playing video games could also possibly serve as self-care. You deserve happiness (even if it is just an idea). 

Now, all of this isn’t to say that we should let go of accountability. There are expectations that are crucial to our survival and we should meet them. However, the journey to fulfilling these concepts shouldn’t be counterproductive to the goal. If the long term destination is being healthy and happy, why would we hurt ourselves in the process?

As you wade your way through the confusing waters of life, remember that you’re loved and you’re worth it. Even your emotions (sadness, anger, fear) prove that subconsciously you know you deserve more than what you’re getting. We’re all blind to the many forms of love that exist around us each day. So please, do what you can to be kind to yourself– you deserve it.