Welcome to 2020 and a new decade! I am thankful to still have the gift of life and to continue to share this space with you. I have read a multitude of writings and intentions for 2020. Resolutions are penned as the quest to live intentionally persists. 2019 was an incredibly difficult year for me. I wrote about the obstacles that confronted me and shared my experiences on my platforms. I have already been greeted with difficulties this year. I can only hope for the best and pray for strength. As I pondered the subject of this column, something happened. I looked up from my desk and my eyes fixed on “Teresa’s Jar Of Happiness." As I stared at the jar, my spirit heard, “Remember me?” I know that a jar is an inanimate object and cannot speak. However, at that moment, its message was loud and clear. The intent of this week’s column is to encourage you to write and speak life into your spirit, summoning your light in the darkness. I previously wrote about my “feel-good,” decorated jar of happiness. Into this jar went encouraging words and joyous moments that I could reflect on at a later time. But I have not used my jar in months. Life engulfed me with its woes, and just making it through each day was a small victory. The mind is a phenomenon that ingests the words we speak. Our words literally and figuratively become “soul food.” They have the power to energize, empower, and uplift. Words can save a life or destroy one. Writing this column was an arduous feat due to the week I have endured. My jar of happiness was my saving grace. I opened the lid and unfolded the affirmations deposited inside. I read each one in amazement. My emotions overwhelmed me as the messages reaffirmed the power of my words and thoughts. The act of accountability exposed me as I reconciled with and accepted the responsibility of encouraging myself. Some days my anxiety and depression were cloaked behind a smile and my heart was robed in sorrow, bitterness, and anger. I had moments when I wondered how much more I could take as I begged for a temporary respite. My jar of happiness was a silent reminder of my strength and tenacity. It was evidence of the subconscious desire to inspire myself. Some of life's events shake us to the core. We suffer from wounds that the world can't heal and gaps that we can't fill. Our journey requires laborious, necessary, internal work. We are mandated to pull from our essence, knowing that we are moving forward even when we feel stagnant. The answer lies within. We must affirm ourselves. My jar of happiness is empty and my compromised psyche has been replenished. Deposits of affirmations and moments of joy will fill my jar for 2020. When my spirit is depleted, I will make a withdrawal from my jar of happiness. Investing in yourself is a necessity. Words matter. You are what you speak, so tell yourself something good. Create your jar of happiness and write well. You are the light you seek. Best wishes to you for 2020! “I’ve come to tell you a secret / You have just what it takes / To scale the mountains that you must climb / You’re just too strong to break." — Excerpt from “Best Kept Secret” by Teresa Wright-Johnson and deposited into Teresa’s Jar of Happiness. You are invited to follow my website at www.TeresaWrightJohnson.com. *** Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.