I have a lot of social media friends who share photos of their partners. I have a lot of social media friends who never post photos of their significant others. I know some people who share every detail about their job and others who keep their professional life quiet. Some of my friends upload pictures of their children and some of them have a strict “no baby on the internet” policy. For better or for worse, social media has changed so many aspects of how we communicate and how we stay in touch with the friends and acquaintances in our lives.
The day this blog comes out, I will post my 3,200th consecutive day of “Happiness is,” a practice I started as a 17-year-old high school senior.
When I started writing daily joy, I had no intention of starting a nonprofit organization. I also had no intention of spilling my heart to the blog twice a week. But as my writer's heart pushed me to grow beyond my comfort zone, I found myself evaluating what it meant to share.
The Smile Project is often—and expectedly—seen as a “happy-go-lucky, glass half full” kind of organization. We look for the good. That’s our promise. No matter what, every single day, I share a “Happiness is.”
Because of the very nature of what we do as an organization and because of my distaste for toxic positivity, I’ve made a very clear and steadfast commitment to being honest and vulnerable.
We aren’t a Happiness-focused group because the world is perfect sunshine, rainbows, and butterflies. We’re a Happiness-focused group because we know that it isn’t. We know that things are hard and that pain is real and that tragedy and trauma is commonplace.
In the almost 9 full years I’ve been sharing daily joy and almost 6 years I’ve been maintaining this blog, I’ve made an effort to stay honest, true, vulnerable, and real. Because of that, I’ve often spilled my soul into these pages.
That’s a decision I stand by wholly.
But recently, I’ve been thinking about the parts of ourselves that we keep quiet. I’ve been amused by the thought of the things I don’t share publicly on my social media. And it’s been thrilling. Operating under a “the people who need to know will know” mindset has given me some small sense of privacy and control that I didn’t know I was desperate for. I am only now becoming more aware of how often I allowed the opinions of others to subtly dictate or sway my own priorities, needs, or desires.
Let me be clear: I will never stop giving my heart to this nonprofit or sharing my stories through this blog. I made a pledge to be honest and real and that is what you will continue to see here and through the daily “Happiness is” posts.
But this week, I encourage you to think about why you share the things that you do. There’s no right answer. But then think again about why you do the things that you do. And make sure that is determined by your own beating heart.