“We are all in this together. We need each other. Oh, how we need each other.”

(Marjorie Pay Hinckley)

Long overdue honest social media.

"How do you find happiness . . . really?"

"How Do you find happiness...really?

"There is some truth to, 'fake it till you make it.' I won't deny the effects of a positive attitude. But just for a moment, I want you to dig deep and ask yourself the question: how happy am I?

"So you have positive post it notes around your house, or all of your Facebook updates depict your perfect life, with your perfect husband/wife, and your perfect kittens (or children). Maybe this is really you. But it probably isn't.

"Happiness goes SO much deeper than any outward appearance, and just trying to be happy. You can force a smile, & bury your stresses with coping mechanisms such as food, drink, shopping, sports, or vacations. Sometimes this is a necessary~ but temporary~ fix. Everyone needs a break. However, the truth is nothing will ever make you happy if you don't solve the underlying issue. And nine times out of ten, the harder you try to cover up any pain or insecurity you are facing, the more you will exploit it. Those people that are superlative in their happiness for all the world to see, ALL OF THE TIME, are usually the most miserable.

"Now, it is good and absolutely acceptable to have things, possessions, that make you feel happy. But they are just things. They should be an additional BOOST to your residing joy in life, not what determines it. Travelling and going on vacation should be a huge stress relief, but if you can't handle day to day anxieties without having a panic attack, isn't something out of balance? 

"We all face obstacles and hardships. No one is exempt, whether you think they are or not. The people you think live flawless lives do not. If someone has not yet faced the torture of heartbreak, trust me, they will. Maybe you faced it first, but no one escapes life unscathed. 

"*It is time to break the habit: Never compare your worst inside to someone else's best outside.*

"Weight, beauty, finances, and health are the major issues where humans put on a facade. People have a hard time letting the world see them as weak or vulnerable, which is ironic because everyone is. Ps. Did you know anxiety& depression are two of the most commonly misdiagnosed disorders. (Feel free to get as angry about that as you please) but it's genuinely the truth. News flash: EVERYONE feels tired, panicked, and sad, all the time. Having real depression is different. My grandfather died of it. Most mental issues can be healed, if not improved, by basic physical functions. People have just become lazy, which leads to victimized behavior and perpetual unhappiness.
Excessive spending, eating, vacationing, or medication are typical crutches for curable unhappiness. Here's the cure: reevaluating your life and exposing your hurts, facing excruciating, sometimes embarrassing insecurities. Be a big grown up and deal with them without codependency.

"Going back to my question. How happy are you? You don't have to admit to me your darkest fears, but admit them to yourself. A good indicator of misery would be to ask yourself a series of questions like, Am I irritable often? Do I target these irritable notions towards other people? Do I bring people down, either verbally or with thoughts?  Am I jealous by nature? Do I envy others' successes? Do I talk about other people's failures, more than my own? Do I spread untrue remarks? Do I make more complaints than compliments a day? If others got to pick what my grave stone would say, would I want to read it? How often do I blame others for my feelings? Do you often feel an overpowering sense that your life is out of control?

"I want to pose a challenge that may help you discover happiness, or more of it if you're relatively happy now. Try these, then log your feelings at the end of a 7 day trial period.

"1. Pack a small carry on bag of belongings. Use only these items for a week.

"2. Females, go a week without any make up or hair tools or product. If you must accentuate your appearance for work, then try to at least go minimal. Men, drop your grooming regimen as applicable.

"3. Regardless of weight and fitness goals, eat a health-conscious, 2000 calories a day, exercise 30-40 min a day, for a week straight.
4. If possible, walk or bike the places within a few miles of your home.

"5. Christians, read the book, A Purpose Driven Life. If you're agnostic or atheist, go on a little journey, to a place where you feel peaceful and calm, into a state of meditation. For both parties: Ask yourself what you really want to get out of life. What do you want to accomplish and achieve? What can you realistically do to succeed in this? Make short term and long term goals.

"6. If you're facing residual pain, from a person, or an act caused by a person, first make an effort to forgive them as we all make mistakes. Then find means for restitution. If they didn't mean to hurt you, it is up to you to get over it. Holding onto resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick. If they did try to hurt you, you must still follow these steps, but you have the right to mistrust and avoid the person until you feel safe. In either case, this week I challenge you to do something nice for the person that hurt you. Buy them a slurpee or leave them treats. Do it! 

"7. Do some research on a third world country. Pick an organization within this country, whether it be a charity, a school, or a hospital, and donate to it. You can donate clothing, food, money.

"8. If you suffer from an addiction, Google an Addiction Recovery program in your city and go, they are free. 

"It is easy to blame others, or look for quick fixes, then it is to uncover the sting and ache of our unhappiness. Remember, there is nothing wrong with a positive attitude. But happiness is more than faking it. Take the challenges above and discover more about yourself then you ever knew possible. You may be surprised how unhappily you've been living, and look forward to a fuller life in the days to come!"

" . . . the lesson of the stolen bike."

"In future years I think this story will come to be known, at least by me, as the lesson of the stolen bike.
"Previous to this moment I had experienced silly trials and challenges that left me feeling wronged and frustrated. I've always tried to live a good life, be nice, do unto others as I would have done, you know,the usual contributing member of society kind of deal. So to have any kind of set-back always seemed unnecessary and unfair. I was never very quick to turn to God, it was a lot easier to just try and fix it myself...or so I thought.

"While serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, I was given another one of those moments to try my patience and my faith. Arriving home from church one Sunday, my
missionary companion and I abruptly halted in front of the stairs
leading to our apartment and just stared at the place where our bikes were once stored that was now completely empty.

"As missionaries we relied quite a bit on our bikes, they were our
common mode of transportation and they were too expensive to replace
at that point in our missions. I felt sick, and numb, and shocked all at once. 

"I've realized that in the midst of a challenge it's hard to see the
'why' and I'll admit, in that moment it was a very easy question to
ask myself--why me?? But in this case, as I stared at the now empty
space, I did something different than in times past. I stopped asking why, and I started to pray. I prayed for strength, clarity, a way to make this situation better; anything and everything I could petition from heaven.  

"No immediate miracle occurred, no sudden solution came, but an answer did; and with it a valuable lesson was learned: The Lord will spare no expense, waste no opportunity, nor pass by any chance to teach us to turn to Him. He should be our first response team, our right-hand Man, the Person we go to for everything.

"I don't think The Lord got my bike stolen, but He did turn it into an opportunity that allowed me to turn to Him and a lesson I would need for future times to come. I know that my Savior loves me, and is aware of me; and I have learned through lessons of a stolen bike that in the strength of The Lord I can do all things."