Today is International Day of Happiness, so naturally I’m writing about nothing other than my path to happiness. (Groundbreaking, I know)
To say the last few months have been some of the longest, heart-wrenching, soul-breaking, anxiety-ridden months of my life, would be an understatement. However, they have also been some of the most influential, eye-opening, gratifying and life-changing months of my life – and I’m grateful for that.
In September, I made the heart-breaking decision to leave the life I’d built for myself. I left a near 3-year relationship, a house, a cat, a career, a second family. For the simple reason of: I was unhappy.
I was unhappy with myself, and since happiness blooms from within, I knew I couldn’t fully give myself to anyone or anything else if I wasn’t fully loving myself, first. So I decided to leave everything I knew, to come back to a place that was familiar so I could find myself again, fall in love with myself, recognize myself in the mirror, and ultimately put myself back together.
Half a year has passed, and I have happiness, contentment and passion flowing through my veins.
6+ months ago
In short, I was a wreck.
I was unhappy with the person I was. I didn’t like seeing myself in the mirror. I didn’t like how I felt in my skin – not only because I didn’t like my appearance, but because I didn’t like how I felt on the inside. Everything was blue and it was an actual struggle to be happy each day.
I had to put a real effort into being happy, and I never had to do that before. I was confused because for others, happiness came so naturally, it was the “default emotion” but for me, it was an effort to feel it.
I was upset. I was angry. I was sad. I was stressed. I was anxious every second of every day. I felt lost and alone, though I was surrounded by people who loved me. I put others before myself, and not once did I think that I should be taking care of me. I thrived off others being happy, and I completely disregarded my own well-being. I didn’t value myself at all.
I was a wreck, and when I finally woke up and realized that, I knew I had to change my surroundings and my situation in order to get myself back.
So that’s exactly what I did, as seemingly impossible as it was.
I’m still a work-in-progress, but I’m so much happier and healthier – and I’m very, very, proud of myself for doing this for myself.
I wake up early in the morning and see the sky change colors with the sunrise, this quiet time helps set the tone for the day and keeps me grounded with appreciation.
I prioritize my health, eat healthy, take vitamins and drink lots of water. These are all things I let slip over the years, but now I realize that mental health and physical health go hand-in-hand and we should be taking care of both.
I have pushed my well-being to the forefront and I now do simple meditations and have my prayer time every day. My daily check-ins with my brain, feelings and faith keep me calm.
I make it a point to exercise each day – whether it be yoga, walking, or actually breaking a sweat – I make sure I get those endorphins pumping through my body. This makes me happier, and seeing these little changes in my body and energy make me feel accomplished.
I talk it out. I’ve made it a serious point to talk about what I’m feeling instead of bottling them up inside. Writing it out is one thing, but actually talking with someone and voicing your feelings or concerns and getting an outsider’s point of view can make all the difference. (*Talk with someone, get the help you need, confide in people you trust, don’t be ashamed of how you feel, talking it out makes all the difference in the world)
I’ve been carving out time to write. My writing is part of me, and when I don’t take the time to write – whether it be personal, prose, on this site, or for my book – I’ve noticed that I’m unhappy. So I’ve been writing, writing, writing. And soon, I’ll be able to share it all.
I have a newfound love and appreciation for myself. I’ve realized the strength I have and since I’ve lived through the most hurtful 6 months of my life so far, I now know I’m capable of anything. The last few months have taught me that I can be comfortable and happy with being alone, it isn’t scary, and it surely isn’t impossible. I see my reflection and I not only recognize the person in the mirror, but I love the person in the mirror – and that is an incredible feeling.
On that note, I want to leave you with a quote I found this week. It came at the perfect time and took the words right out of my mouth.
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. If we did not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome” – Anne Bradstreet
Just remember that flowers don’t bloom year-round, and neither do we – and that’s okay. Periods of regrowth and rebuilding are beautiful, too.