Magazine Article; Oct 2018
“Being Happy & Spreading Joy”
by Jessica Serra Huizenga
One February morning in 2013 I woke up and told my husband I wanted to start a confetti shop. That is, quite simply and literally, how I got into the business of happiness.
You see at that point I had realized life is hard. Like, really hard sometimes. There are pressures and stressors and both bad and sad things can happen at any moment. Anxiety and depression and stress are at an all time high, and it seems that too much is happening too fast and it can be overwhelming to say the least.
I, however, decided that focusing on the good is generally more fun, healthier, and more productive, so I made it my life’s mission to make people happy. Sure, selling confetti is an obvious, literal vehicle that represents the little bits of happiness I want to spread in this world, but my motivation really comes from a much deeper place.
I’ve dealt (and still deal) with my own versions of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm, which is why I am so passionate that it’s crucial to really take the time to celebrate even the smallest of moments — because despite all the bad, there are still so many amazing and wonderful things to be grateful for. To quote Danielle LaPorte, “Joy is the most magnetic force in the universe,” so I want to do everything in my power to spread it around.
But in a time when social media & instant (not to mention constant) communication are second nature and we are particularly overwhelmed with all the outside “noise” going on out there, it can be difficult to distinguish our own sense of self. After a few years of running my business, I started to notice that my own personal sense of happiness got murkier the harder I worked to make others happy.
What I realized — after much self-reflection — is this: It is not my job to make people happy, but it is my purpose to try.
You see, it’s not so much about the outcome, it’s about the journey. It makes me happy to try and make other people happy, as long as I don’t lose myself in the process. Am I ever going to make every single person happy? Nope. And that’s ok. But it also doesn’t mean I won’t still try to be the best version of myself, and share as much joy with others as I can. Rather than think of happiness solely as an individual pursuit, we also have to remember that our social relationships — when strong, positive, and supportive — are what help give us a source of identity, purpose, and fun.
So while we want others to help amplify our happiness, we also shouldn’t rely on them for our own individual well-being. It’s both the giving and the receiving of support from our circles that help boost our individuality. While happiness is ultimately a personal journey, having relationships with other humans is part of that journey, too. Happiness breeds happiness (just as negativity breeds negativity), so we have to ditch as many of the bad vibes as we can, all while spreading more joy.
How can we put this into practice regularly and consistently?
Remember, it’s the most beautiful thing we can wear. (But also know it’s ok to be sad sometimes. It’s part of the process.)
Less stuff means there is less to manage (physically and emotionally). Simplify things to only the essentials and our focus on what makes us (and those around us) happy can be more clear.
It’s practically human nature to judge other people — we all do it, even if we don’t want to admit it. But there is a difference between making a snap judgement (that we only assume is the truth) and taking the time to understand a situation from the other side. Courteous, productive, and constructive dialogue is essential, but uneducated, cruel, or mean spirited accusations usually do more harm than good.
Dial the “noise.”
Know when to look to others for support and encouragement, but also know when it’s time to take a step back and regroup with our own thoughts.
Be honest with ourselves about our insecurities. Truth builds confidence, so it makes sense that in order to be truly happy we need to be honest. Chances are our insecurities will often speak to the heart of a deeper truth. We can’t be afraid to dig.
Collaborate as individuals.
Use inspiration and collaboration as fuel to spark our own creativity, but don’t rely on others to define ourselves. It can certainly be helpful to surround ourselves with positivity, and amazing things can happen from teamwork and collaboration, but only if it is a true melding of individual personalities that each bring something unique to the table.
Care for ourselves, then others.
On both an emotional and physical level, understand that what we surround ourselves with and what we allow into our space & bodies all affect us — and the same goes for what we put out into the world, too. Toxic thoughts, toxic situations, and even toxic foods/products have a way of seeping into our pores and creating a lot of ugliness, so we can’t let that happen, to ourselves or those around us.
Jessica Serra Huizenga is the kombucha-drinking, happy-making confetti artist behind The Confetti Bar. She delights in creating unique, bright, and engaging content that makes people smile. At the core of everything she does is her mission to spread happiness, color, inspiration, and, of course, confetti. You can follow along with her adventures in Confetti Land at www.theconfettbar.com and on Instagram @theconfettibar