This is the second time that I’m trying to write this post today. I thought it would be a quick write with a topic that was very determined, but somewhere along the lines it changed direction. I’m about to open up myself in a way I have never done on this blog before and to be honest: I’m a bit scared about it. But it’s something I really need to do – if not for anybody else than for myself.
I never would have thought that my post from yesterday about how you’re in charge of your own happiness would resonate so well with so many other people. I almost didn’t post it because I thought that there was nothing relevant about it! But people seemed to disagree and many of you told me that you felt exactly the same way about happiness. And it encouraged me to start thinking about how I can add more happiness to my own life.
Happiness is not something that comes to me naturally. I’m not one of those happy-go-lucky people and I’m also not sure if I ever will be. I know that all in all the circumstances of my life are pretty great: I’m studying something that I love and I’m excited about the possibilities it will give me for my future. I’m dating a guy that I love with all my heart and soul and that not only treats me right, but also loves me back exactly the same way. I have a family that supports me in all I’m doing, but especially during the hard times and an extended family that has welcomed me with open hearts. There are so many things and people that enrich my life, but for the longest time I had a really hard time seeing that.
I always wanted to be happier and more content, but I was never willing to take action. A part of me was waiting for a magical turning point. You know, that moment where you hear or read something that totally changes your life. But that point never came and at least subconsciously I began to realize that I couldn’t wait for an outside influence to come and change my life. But I couldn’t muster up the motivation or the energy to take control and be the change I wanted to see in myself. I just kept on living like I always had. And it wasn’t a bad life. There were plenty of moments of joy and hope. But I wasn’t as happy as I could have been. I was holding myself back.
And then 2012 came around. Last year was strange to say the least. In many ways it was the best year I ever had to that date – I discovered my love for travel and the world of lifestyle blogging, matured as a result of living alone and my boyfriend and me kept on building our valuable relationship. But at the same time it was probably also the hardest year I have ever had. I had to face so many fears and doubts and there were times where I started to wonder if it would ever stop. I realized more than ever before that something needed to change and began to see ways how it could be changed, but I still wasn’t quite prepared to make a move.
What was changed between now and then? Nothing and everything. I feel that so far 2013 has been both a healing and a learning process. A learning process because I have started to realize what I love to do and a healing process because I have started to take that knowledge to finally take charge of my life. I’m done waiting for life to come around. And that’s really why I wrote this post.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about happiness over the last couple of weeks and somewhere down the line I suddenly realized that happiness was a personal choice. Yes, there are circumstances that are out of our control, circumstances that can mess with us big time. But one thing that always stays with us is how we choose to react to these circumstances. And for the longest time I just accepted that my life wasn’t as pink as it could be.
I’ve spent way too much time sulking around and feeling sorry for myself. If you’ve ever been in this situation than you know that it come sometimes feel like there’s something quite romantic about being at odds with yourself and the world. There are moments when you don’t want anything to change, because at least this way you’re special and you get to write a dramatic chapter in your autobiography. But I’m done with that as well. And I’m saying so to hold myself accountable. Treat this as my personal manifesto if you will.
Happiness has always been inside of me. I always had a good life. But I’m giving myself permission now to let it out and to feel its transforming powers in my life. Will it be hard at times? Probably. But I’m in control now. I have the reins in my hand and I’m ready to finally start living up to my true potential and to finally start appreciating all the blessings in my life. Being in charge of my your own happiness is incredibly powerful. It can also be incredibly scary, because you suddenly don’t have scapegoats for your own shortcomings anymore. However, once you start to truly understand what it means to be responsible for your own happiness, you are finally free.
I’m still at the beginning of this journey and I believe I haven’t even begun to comprehend what kind of implications this shift in attitude could have in my life. But one thing I know for certain is that the time to action – for me, for you and for everybody else – is not tomorrow or next year, but now.
Which leads me to…
By now I think I know myself good enough to know that I need to follow up these words with some affirmative actions. And that’s why I want to challenge myself to do things that will make me more content and accordingly to stop doing things that I know make me unhappy. This might become a series in the future, but for now my goal is to:
Say yes to opportunities that life throws my way.
One of my favorite blogs in the whole entire world is The Londoner. Just visiting that girl’s blog makes me smile! In the beginning of January 2013 she posted a yearly roundup in which she mentioned how she had struggled with unhappiness before, but how she managed to turn her attitude around by becoming a ‘Yes Woman’ – the kind of woman that didn’t let doubts or fears keep her from anything.
And now I intend to do the same.
If you knew how often I have said no to something because I was too scared or – often – too lazy to do it, you would laugh. But I have also realized that I am the most happy when I’m active and up and running, so in many ways I’m my own worst enemy. But I’m trying to fight against my own laziness now and I believe that it could be a very beneficial experience for me and help me be more spontaneous and a bit less serious about things that you don’t really have to be serious about. There are only two exceptions: I’m not going to do something if it’s a) blatantly stupid or b) downright dangerous. Sorry, no stealing cars this month! ;) But apart from that I’m trying to keep an open mind. So please hold me accountable! :)