I Am Happy

I Am Happy

Embracing and celebrating my happiness.
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Have you ever realized that you are completely content and happy with your life and almost everything about it? It is a rare feeling, and therefore something to be cherished. Recently I have noticed how happy I have been; I’m happy with school, I’m happy with my friends, I’m happy with my family, and I’m happy with my relationship. It is really quite the accomplishment to be genuinely content with almost all aspects of your life, so that is why I find this so important to recognize and celebrate.

It is such a liberating feeling to know you are happy. For so long I have been going through life wanting more from it, wishing I could change certain things, and always waiting for good things to come my way. I don’t wait any more. I don’t crave better situations and better days because where I am right now is exactly where I want to be. I understand how lucky I am to feel this way, and also hate the fact that being happy is considered such a luxury feeling.

Although it might sound strange, I am so happy with school right now. I love what I am studying in college, and even though it is stressful and overwhelming, I thoroughly enjoy my classes and what I’m learning. I am excited about the profession I hope to go into and that helps me be excited for the future and what it will have to offer.

I am overjoyed with the incredible people I have in my life that I get to call my friends. I have successfully surrounded myself with a great group of people who support me, make me laugh, and help me create valuable memories. The people I get to live with and spend time with are people who challenge me to be better, share the same passions that I do, and prevent there from ever being any dull moments.

My family has always been my backbone and I know that I’m lucky to have grown up within a family dynamic that is so healthy. My family may be somewhat crazy, but they are the good kind of crazy that makes you feel embarrassed and yet proud at the fact that they are your crazy family.

I recently stumbled into a new relationship that has already opened my eyes to how unfairly I was treated in my last. I am so appreciative for my boyfriend now, and I don’t even think he realizes how all of the little things he does makes me feel so important, valued, and cared for.

When I look at the big picture of my life I see clearly how incredibly lucky and privileged I am. I know I can’t take this happiness for granted and that I need to make sure I thank all of the people in my life who contribute to my happiness. So, thank you to my friends, family, and significant other for helping put a smile on my face almost every day.

It is so liberating to me to embrace my happiness and I can’t even explain how good it feels to be so happy where I am in life. I know many bumps in the road are ahead, but what is important right now, in this very moment, is that I am happy.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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If The U.S. Is A "Beacon Of Morality," Why Don't We Do Anything About Child Soldiers?

Child Soldiers International, War Child, and UNICEF are just a few organizations that accept time and donations that work toward making a difference.
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Flashback to six years ago, and no one could stop talking about Joseph Kony. In case you were living under a rock in 2012, Joseph Kony was a Ugandan warlord, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army, which used child soldiers to terrorize civilians across Central Africa. He was brought to fame through the documentary “Kony 2012” as it caused an uproar throughout the United States.Although the media hype quickly died down, the United States Pentagon spent $800 million trying to hunt down Kony up until June of 2017.

Kony isn’t the first, nor will he be the last, person to use child soldiers. Today, child soldiers are predominantly used across the Middle East and Africa, with South Sudan having the largest concentration in Africa.

So, what exactly has the international community done about this global issue? Legislation like the Additional Protocols to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the Convention on the Rights of the Child have been adopted and opened for signature. The Rome Statute of 1998 established the International Criminal Court in 2002, and recognized conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 as a war crime.

There have been successes in individual countries like Somalia, and Afghanistan, but I think that it’s worth examining what exactly the United States has done.

Congress signed the Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) in 2008. The Act restricted military support to countries that were identified by the State Department as having recruited and used child soldiers in their militaries. However, the prohibitions can be waived in the name of U.S. national interest. In June of 2017, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was accused of breaching the act. The department recognized Iraq, Myanmar, and Afghanistan as using child recruitment and conscription, yet Tillerson decided to exclude them from the list.

But why does any of this matter to you and me? If the United States is going to label itself as a moral beacon, then they’d better act like one. There seems to be a double standard at play in American foreign policy; protect human rights, as long as they serve American interests. Additionally, the United States is missing opportunities to make real change. Ever since the conclusion of World War I, it has been the responsibility of the United States to maintain the world order, and to be a guarantor of human rights. What kind of message does it send about the United States when we continue to send money to governments that use child soldiers?

The change starts now. My advice for soon to be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is to do better. As the American public awaits for Tillerson to step out and Pompeo to step in, there are actions that we as citizens can take. Child Soldiers International, War Child, and UNICEF are just a few organizations that accept time and donations that work toward making a difference.

Whatever active role you chose to take, reading this article is a great first step. It is crucial to raise awareness and to become informed of issues that affect not just us, but the rest of humanity.

Cover Image Credit: Bimo Luki

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Nice Guys Finish Last Because It's Nice To Have Standards

No more Mr. Nice Guy.
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Nice guys have heard this grating phrase with patient ears before: you're a really nice guy. "Really" and "nice," a double superlative just for me? I know sarcasm isn't so nice but some might argue that it's the nicest sense of humor you could have. It's hard to gauge where someone's intentions lie and from a nice guy's perspective, it all seems lost on others he tries to connect with.

Nice is an adjective, passive in meaning. It's a sincere way of saying that you're a pushover, but the best kind of pushover. You're a human coat rack and the only thought you have is how helpful you're being holding up all those coats when the owners return and eventually come back for more help. Being nice doesn't help you, nor should it if you are being genuine.

Nice means being selfless. Granted the guy is being nice, it is not without his reasons. These reasons are inclusive, for both himself and whoever he is being nice to. There are no expectations except to be nice and nice in return. Nice means being kind. Nice means having standards.

I'm a nice guy, I always have been, and I don't plan on changing that. What sets me apart from the stereotype however is that I don't live with the expectation that people will reciprocate my kindness. I don't have the hopeless romantic mentality when I find out I'm in the exclusive club known as the friend zone.

Do I get offended when people are unkind or characterize and use me as the expendable "nice guy?" Yes, it hurts me to know people care only enough to get what they want or to make me another bullet point on their résumé. One thing that's saved me from many headaches and heartaches over time is this: I can control me.

I can still be nice even though the day isn't going to be. I choose not to let anyone steal my joy but that choice doesn't come from a selfish place. There are nice guys, the ones who are kind and unassuming.

Then there are Nice Guys, the ones who only measure out their kindness and behave enough to show you that they are capable of being an understanding, agreeable human being to achieve their desires through you, not with you.

Nice Guys give nice guys a bad name. I'm more of a middling nice guy, I don't blow over in the wind but I won't yell up a storm either. If you ask me a question, I will give an honest answer.

Not every nice guy is blissfully ignorant of the founded and unfounded cruelty in the world. We're not doormats for the mud you track, we're doors that close as easily as they open.

It's nice to be nice but if there is no self-worth, if there is any self-interest, then you're not being nice to yourself and you're not being nice to others for the right reasons.

People call him a nice guy to establish immediate and short-lived rapport for when it is convenient for them. Nice guys are acknowledged for what they are, not who they are. Nice isn't a commodity, it's a rarity, and when you have it, do not spare it too much or spend it too little. Just be nice, guys.


Nice is a quality that's less artificial than a charm or flirt and more natural than workplace decorum. Show how nice you could and should be, not how nice you would be.

Cover Image Credit: Spencer Selover

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