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The Road to Finding My Identity: Cultivating Joy & Happiness

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Coastal Carolina chapter.

I am a firm believer that joy and identity are deeply connected. When you have a greater understanding of who you are and what your purpose is, you can spend more time creating joy rather than swimming in confusion. Along with that, I believe that by exploring the things that bring you joy, you can learn a lot about yourself and your identity.

As I continue the journey to finding my identity, I realized the importance of being in tune with what I love and with what brings me joy. I came to this realization while watching an interview of Tyler the Creator and Kerwin Frost. In this video, Kerwin was wearing a shirt that Tyler designed over a decade ago. The shirt had clouds on it, and from that Tyler began talking about how clouds and sunsets showed up a lot in his previous work and even now. From this, he talked about embracing the things that made him happy, like watching sunsets, traveling, and eating ice cream and doughnuts. I then went to the next video, where he talked about his inner child and not losing the excitement that we have for the things that we love. From this, I started to think about the things that bring me joy.

In this discovery, I had to dig deep and differentiate between joy and happiness. While these two are very similar, happiness is an emotion that you chase while joy is a state of mind that you choose. The source of one’s happiness comes from external factors while joy comes from within. There are outward things that can make us happy, and we can’t necessarily control that. We choose to seek joy in situations and it can be found, even in difficult times.

After exploring the difference between the two, I started thinking about how we can’t wait for joy to happen; we have to create moments for joy and happiness to meet us where we are. For me, that’s going to a quiet restaurant where I could exist in a place with other people, but choose to be by myself and make sure that I leave with something sweet. In more common situations, it’s choosing to see the positive side of a situation, which isn’t always easy.

We can also create joy by giving ourselves space to receive it. This past year, I’ve learned how much I love slow mornings. No matter what time I have to wake up, I value having two hours where I can do my morning routine of praying, writing, making to-do lists, etc., and with extra time, I don’t have to rush and race out of the door. This is something that I do with the help of “Routinery” and “Structured” *insert shameless plug to my article about those apps*.  This small idea of having ease in the morning to carefully curate the mix of songs that I’m going to sing for my daily concert in the shower, to write a very detailed description of my dream last night, or to try on a million different outfits before choosing the one that I already picked out for the day, has ultimately shifted my entire outlook on the day ahead.

Recognizing these big and small moments that bring me joy, as well as creating those moments to give joy room to show up. In a larger sense, it’s helped me to think about why these moments are joyful to me, what this says about who I am, and how my willingness and desire to build these moments and reflect on my actions speak to my values and who I am.

Christian Livingston

Coastal Carolina '24

Christian is a senior honors student majoring in Communication with a minor in Creative Writing at Coastal Carolina University. She loves reading, watching movies, and taking pictures on her Minolta X-370.