10 Things That Make Me Happy

Hey my loves,

Finding positivity and happiness these days is really hard. It all seems, in a way, like a very bad dream. A nightmare we wouldn’t want to wish on anyone.

But a couple of days ago I found a video on my timeline on Facebook that made me genuinely happy and sparked the flame of hope for humanity once again. It was a video of a group of people singing ‘Oh Happy Day’ in a mall in Germany. It was set up like a flash mob and they were only using their voices, but that particular song and the genuine happiness you felt during their singing was inspiring. Even though it was just under three minutes it made me smile for the whole day. I believe the world should be filled with more spontaneous happy moments like that. Don’t you agree?

And because I was so inspired by this little moment of happiness I thought I would share the things that make me happy with you. So here they are:

My Friends

Friends are the family you choose. And let me tell you I’m so grateful to the friends I have and all the happy moments I share with them. But it’s more than just the happy times that make me happy. I’m grateful that no matter what is coming my way I know I have my friends who have my back, who make me smile in the saddest of times and who endure my stubbornness.

Rain at the End of a Sunny Day

Well, this might sound a bit crazy but just close your eyes for one second and imagine this: You have been out all day on a field picnicking with your friends. It’s super hot and the air lingers without any wind over the ground. But then you can start to smell something. You start to smell the rain coming. And then it starts to rain but instead of seeking cover you enjoy the cold rain on your heated skin. And it’s such a release that the air feels a little colder and fresher. I love that feeling. Don’t you?

Snow

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Yes, I know it’s summer but I’m listing everything that makes me happy and snow is one of them. And I mean real snow, the kind you build snowmen with and slide downhill or have snowball fights with your friends. The kind where it’s crispy cold outside but yet sunny enough for you not to be freezing. The kind where you just want to be outside and enjoy the day by strolling through the woods. There’s something about this that makes me really happy and even happier when it’s around Christmas time.

Listening, Singing and Dancing to Music

For obvious reasons. Here are some of the songs I love to hear when I’m happy. And sing along like my life depends on it even though I sing horribly. Check out my Spotify Playlist: The Happiness Playlist

Stupid Jokes

I’m the kind of person who laughs pretty much about everything. But some jokes just get me so much that I start to cry whilst laughing and gasping for air. At if that isn’t happiness I don’t know what is.

A Good Book or Movie

Now this might seems to be odd. How can a book or a movie make me happy, right? But it’s not so much the form or genre it is but rather the endless creativity, inspiration or motivation you can get from them. Would you like me to do an entry about books and movies that inspired me a lot? Let me know in the comments.

The Ocean

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There is just something so calming about sitting by a sea or at the ocean especially alone with your thoughts that give me personally so much realization that I can feel whatever I want to feel but mostly just happiness.

The Endless Journey of Finding Myself

When I was younger I thought a main goal in life should be to know who you are. As I’ve grown older I’ve realized something. Just because you are something doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be the other thing as well. I will never wake up one day and will be able to say I know who I am because I will never know. And I kind of like the idea of that it leaves a door open to the world of the unknown. Not knowing who you are doesn’t mean you don’t know what you want or where you want your life to lead it means you will be able to adjust to anything because you aren’t attaching yourself to any labels or restrictions. And to be able to see it like that makes me happy. Change is good and change is part of your life. And over your lifetime you will change to and that’s completely okay.

Travelling3.jpg

Even though I haven’t done much traveling I do know that it makes me happy. I love adventuring into a new city and explore everything. And getting lost in a city you’ve never been to is somewhat freeing because you never know what you will experience. I love to travel the world one day and see everything and feel everything that there possibly is.

Dreams

To be able to dream is something that makes me very happy. Sometimes you need to escape your reality to create a new one and sometimes they just show you the right way. Dreams make me happy because a dream is not only something you have at night but a goal you can achieve if you work hard for it in the daytime. And achieving your dreams is something very magical and anything magical makes me happy.

And remember you can always choose to be happy. Darkness has no power over you unless you let it have it. Being happy is a choice. I hope you enjoyed today’s entry and if you did make sure to give it a thumbs up. I would really appreciate it!

I wish you all wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

Feminism and Gender Equality – HeForShe Week

True equality means holding everyone accountable in the same way, regardless of race, gender, faith, ethnicity – or political ideology.

~ Monica Crowley

Hey my loves,

this week is a very special week on The Dawn of Inspiration. Every single day a new blog entry will come online concerning Feminism and Gender Equality in honor of the campaign HeForShe! I am a feminist and I believe in gender equality and I believe that every single one of us has to do something to reach our goal. No matter how small or big our contribution is, it matters that we all pull on the same string: Gender Equality!

Feminism is not only for women. It’s something everyone can participate in, and evolve together, as the first step in the right direction. I see feminism as a tool to achieve that balance and peace.

~ Ani DiFranco

To be a feminist means believing that we can achieve a better and stronger base for our nation today through gender equality. It means building a unity which will present the foundation of a better and stronger society – despite our skin color, ethic, race or gender.

A society in which it does not matter where you come from but how hard you have worked for what you believe in. A society in which you won’t be discriminated because of your skin color or gender but for your individual characteristics and your will. A society which does not discriminates a man as a “wimp” just because he shows emotions. A society which can accept the strength of a woman without having to feel intimidated. A society which is build on acceptance. An acceptance which allows every person to be whatever he or she likes to be.

Feminism does not mean hating men, it does not mean „woman are the stronger sex”! Feminism means unity and equality. Feminism means to be free in the unity. Gender equality is a controversial “must” for the stability of a strong society. A society can only exists with men and women. A „without“ cannot exist, because a society could not exists with just one gender.

We need gender equality! We need feminism! We need HeForShe!

Society as a whole benefits immeasurably from a climate in which all persons, regardless of race or gender, may have the opportunity to earn respect, responsibility, advancement and remuneration based on ability. ~ Sandra Day O’Connor

Please let me now, what you think! Tweet me: The Dawn of Inspiration!

Xoxo, Jasmin.

Motivational Monday – Blue Eyed

Hey my loves,
it is time for another Motivational Monday from my dear friend Miri. I hope you enjoy her entry as much as I did and maybe think about it what she wrote. I wish you all an amazing week and stay tuned for more to come!
Xoxo, Jasmin.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

I want to use this Motivational Monday to make you aware of the works of a great woman that has done many things to help erase racism and prejudice. This woman goes by the name of Jane Elliott. A former school teacher, you might have heard of her through her blue-eyed/brown-eyed experiment, which was documented in the feature film “The Eye of the Storm” from 1970, and its follow-up “A Class Divided” from 1985. What Jane Elliott did was, the day Martin Luther King was murdered, she wondered how she was going to explain this murder to her third-graders in primary school, and she decided to do an experiment with them. The next day, she divided the class into blue-eyed kids and brown-eyed kids, and on the first day she explained to the kids that the blue-eyed people were the better persons, that the brown-eyed people are dumber, dirtier, more unpleasant to be around. The brown-eyed children had to wear collars, and they were not allowed to use the water fountain and could not have seconds at lunch time. The second day, roles were reversed, and the brown-eyed kids were the “superior” group.

Jane Elliott did this experiment because she did not know how to explain the death of King to her students except for allowing them to walk in the shoes of a child of color for a day. Soon after, she was invited to the Johnny Carson show, where she talked about what she did; that was when the community of Riceville, Iowa, she lived in found out, and that was when the terror began. “I received vicious calls in the night,” she reports, and obscene letters, and 20 % of the parents in the community explicitly asked for their children to not be put in Elliott’s class. Once in a while, someone would call the principle to tell him: “I don’t want my kid in that nigger lover’s class.” Her children were beaten, spit on, abused by their peers, their teachers, their peers’ parents. Elliott’s parents lost their business. “I learned a whole lot about racism,” Jane Elliott drily states. “Good deeds won’t go long unpunished.”

In 1996, Elliott does another experiment, this time simply called “Blue-Eyed”, where she invites adults of all races to a workshop, and the white, blue-eyed people have collars put on them and then are sent to a room that is sweltering hot, in which there are three chairs for seventeen people. The tone she uses when speaking to the blue-eyeds is rude, clipped. “You either follow the rules or you’re out of here,” she snaps. “The purpose of this exercise,” she explains to the brown-eyeds, who comfortably sit in a conference room, “is to give these nice, blue-eyed white folks the opportunity to find out how it feels to be something other than white in the United States of America.”

“What I’m going to do is to assign to these people, on the basis of their eye color alone, all the negative traits that we have assigned to {…} those who are obviously physically different.”

Eye color, as Elliott proceeds to explain, is caused by the same chemical that skin color is caused by: Melanin. The more melanin one has in his or her skin and eyes, the darker the skin and eyes are; and it is obvious that judging someone by their eye color makes as much sense as judging them by their skin color does. To assign to the blue-eyeds the negative traits of being dumb and ignorant, she has them do a test they know virtually nothing about, to make them aware of how it is to take a test that you can’t pass, and how high your IQ can be if it is based on that test. This has been done to immigrants in the US on a regular basis. Elliott gives out the same test to the brown-eyeds, before the blue-eyeds are allowed to enter the room. “You brown-eyed people are going to know at least half of these answers because you are smart, you are caring {…}, and I’m going to give you the even-numbered responses. This is not cheating, people; this is called ‘reinforcing our position of power in this room’.”

Elliott explains the rules of this experiment: They will make the blue-eyeds look and feel inferior; they will treat them like children. What starts out as seemingly nothing but an elderly lady aimlessly bullying the blue-eyeds, soon morphs into a mirror of society, where all the contestants have valuable lessons to learn, like e.g. that submitting to tyranny is NOT a valuable lesson to learn. To go along to get along is not something people should think of as a valuable lesson, even though it is the easy way out.
“To sit back and do nothing is to cooperate with the oppressor.”

Jane Elliott reinforces this idea, in the hopes of making a change.

“At the end of the second World War, when they cleaned out the concentration camps in Germany,” she quotes, “a Lutheran minister said: ‘When they came for the Jews, I wasn’t Jewish, so I did nothing. When they came for the homo-sexuals, I wasn’t homo-sexual, so I did nothing. When they came for the gypsies, I wasn’t a gypsy, so I did nothing. When they came for me, there was no-one left to do anything.’”

This text really only scratches at the surface of Jane Elliott’s groundbreaking work. There are many videos on youtube that deal with her experiments. You can buy the written documentation of “A Class Divided” on Amazon.

For this Motivational Monday, you should give it a try. Explore Jane Elliott and the things she has done. It has the potential to shift your views forever.

Miri (Twitter: @OriginalGreenD)

Blue – Eyed:

A Class Divided:

The Eye of the Storm:

The Bully Project

Hey my loves,

I’m going to deviate from my usual topic now. For personal reasons, but also to start a new series called “Motivational Monday“. But most of all to spread awareness.
The following words come from a person who became a very dear friend of mine in the last half-year. She has agreed to work with me on this blog as a co-author. The first project I have given her was to “write something about the documentary The Bully Project”.
I personally was bullied at a young age. I managed to survive – thanks to people like my two best friends and my family, without them I would haven been stuck in that dark place longer.
I have the opinion, Miri has brought it quite to the point. Therefore, without much saying: Read on and stay strong!

XoXo, Jasmin.

We focus so much on our differences, and that is creating, I think, a lot of chaos and negativity and bullying in the world. And I think if everybody focused on what we all have in common – which is – we all want to be happy.
Ellen DeGeneres

~ The Bully Project ~

In 2009, 17-year-old Tyler Long from Georgia hung himself in his closet after a few fellow students at his high school told him that he’s worthless and should kill himself.
“Bully”, formerly called “The Bully Project” which is the title given to the internet project inspired by the film, was directed by Lee Hirsch, who himself had been bullied in school. The movie starts out with an interview of Tyler Long’s father David who talks about his firstborn son, Tyler. From an early age on, David saw signs that his son would be victimized at some point. According to a Facebook site arranged for Tyler post-mortem, Tyler was diagnosed with Asperger at an early age, which made his interactions with other people difficult and awkward, especially for him.
David and Tina Long tried desperately to change something after they lost Tyler, tried with all their might to make people aware of the issue called “bullying”, but the only response of school board representatives, predictably, was the obligatory “kids will be kids”. Still, David Long does not give up. “My voice will not fall silent” he says into the camera. “I will make a difference.”

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

Alex, a 12-year-old from Iowa, has two younger sisters and two younger brothers and lives an apparently happy life with them and his parents. But, and this is not a complicacy easily managed by a teenager just hitting puberty, Alex also has an unattractive face and awkward social skills. As an obvious consequence to that, peers and older students treat him badly. Alex claims he doesn’t mind them calling him “fishface”, asserting that they “don’t mean it”, but all the while viewers as well as Alex himself know this is just a defense mechanism. Alex DOES mind, and the other kids DO mean to hurt him.
He has severe issues making friends, and he’s regularly threatened and physically abused on the school bus. Alex takes the abuse with an “Okay” and a careful attempt at being friendly to his tormenters.
Kim Lockwood, assistant principal at Alex’s school, tries her hardest to do something against bullying, admits her helplessness at facing hundreds of possible bullies and bullied.
When the situation on the school bus is close to escalating and becoming more and more dangerous for Alex, the filmmaker shows the video material to Alex’s parents, who directly turn to Lockwood, asking for Alex to be put on another bus, fearing for their son’s safety. Alex feels just as helpless as Kim Lockwood, even though they’re on different sides of the equation.

We know who we are, but not what we might be.
William Shakespeare

Kelby, 16 years old, lives in a small town in Oklahoma. She’s the only openly gay girl in the entire small town. Neither Kelby nor her parents are welcomed at church anymore, and people who Kelby’s parents had been friends with pass them by now without looking at them twice. Students and teachers (!) at Kelby’s school discriminate and insult her. “If anyone comes around and is the least bit different” Kelby states matter-of-factly, “they make sure to put them down.” She admits that she used to harm herself. Kelby tried committing suicide three times. Still she never wanted to leave this town because, as she put it, “if I leave, they win.”
“I’m the one in this town that could make a difference” she says. Because in the end it does all start with one.

Be sure of yourself, don’t let anyone bully you, be a strong and independent woman or boy.
Nicole Polizzi

Ja’Meya, 14 years old, Mississippi, is a passionate Basketball player and an honour student. She’s also in custody for bringing her mother’s gun on the school bus because she didn’t see any other way to defend herself against the students who bullied her. Ja’Meya never planned to hurt anybody, she just wanted to scare them off. A surveillance camera on the bus captured the occurrences: Nine or ten students were throwing things at her and insulting her when she drew the gun. In that moment, according to the police, she had 22 counts of kidnapping, 22 attempts of aggravated assault, 45 felony charges against her in total.
In the end all charges against Ja’Meya are dropped, and after a few more weeks in inpatient psychological care, she is released and free to go home. But it is obvious that her life has suffered a significant change.

I realized that bullying never has to do with you. It’s the bully who’s insecure.
Shay Mitchell

Ty Field-Smalley from Oklahoma only lived until his eleventh year because he shot himself after having been bullied for a very long time. Kirk Smalley, Ty’s father, started reaching out to other parents of bullied children all over the world through the internet, building up a network to somehow fight this thing that cost his son and so many others their lives.
At the end of the movie we meet Kelby again as she visits the event “Stand for the Silent” in Oklahoma City where Kirk Smalley holds a speech about changing the world. “We’re doing it for each other” he says. Parallelly to Oklahoma City, there are similar events in Lansing, Michigan; Johannesburg, Illinois; Joshua, Texas.
“We’ve all got to continue what we started today” Kirk Smalley says. “I will never, ever, stop fighting bullying wherever I find it. I will fight bullying forever, because my son will be eleven years old forever.”

Say what you want to say and let the words fall out, honestly I want to see you be brave.
Sara Bareilles – Brave

It was a personal matter for me to write about “Bully”. I myself have been the victim of severe bullying when I was in school. I was ignored, I was called a c***, I was called ugly, I was told to my face by students I barely knew that they hated me, I had the most peculiar things thrown at me – blackboard erasers, tennis balls, pencils, gums, paper balls, and those are only the things I remember clearly. When I hit puberty, I suffered from acne and had to get glasses. As you can imagine, it didn’t make things better.
Yes, I wanted to kill myself. I thought about it quite often in the course of the first four years in secondary school. I cried myself to sleep a lot, and I cried to my parents that I didn’t want to go to school anymore.
And then at some point, I had The Epiphany. I am not the one with the problem. THEY are. It is that simple. The bullying slowly started subsiding when I was 15 or 16 years old, and at some point maybe a year or so before I graduated it stopped. The Epiphany came after that. And now, at almost 24 years old, I am at a point where I can look at myself in the mirror and say, “I really like myself” without lying.
If you are wondering how I managed that, well, it took me long enough, but in retrospect it appears so simple – the first step is to realize that anyone who is cruel to you without reason has a problem, and it’s a problem that’s not yours. The second step is to like yourself. I know that’s not the easy part, but remember to tell yourself something good about yourself every day. Think about your talents, think about what you can do better than someone else. It can be the little things that tip the scales. And the third step is to do things that you like. Wear clothes you feel comfortable with. Get a hobby that you love, ideally one that you can share with friends. If you don’t have friends, getting an interactive hobby is the best way to meet them. And the fourth, and most important step:

Get an opinion. Stand up for yourself. Know that your life counts. Know that you’re special. See your own uniqueness. There’s no-one in this world who is like you.

As one person alone, unfortunately there’s not much you can do about bullying except not letting it affect you. I wish I could tell you something else. As a group, though, it can work. That’s why this movie was made.

It all starts with one.

Miri

Follow Miri on her personal Twitter: OriginalSGreenD

Playlist: Music about & against bullying – Playlist

The Bully Project Links:

Facebook “Bully Movie”

Facebook “Tyler Lee Long Memorial”

Facebook “The Bully Project”

Twitter “Bully Movie”

Other Links:

Twitter “The Bully Project for Teens and their Families”

The Bullying Project

Stop Bullying

Kick Bully

Mobbing Web (German)

Schüler Mobbing (German)