I am happy. Those 3 words mean a lot to me because for many years, I couldn’t say it and mean it. It took me some time to fully understand what “happiness is a choice” really means and apply it to my life. Looking back, I can totally see why I spent many days unhappy, discouraged, and even depressed. I was choosing to be unhappy because I was making others responsible for my mood, attitude, and confidence level. I was constantly in my feelings over the actions of others, worried about what others would say about my decisions, and afraid of failing because I didn’t want to feel shame or embarrassment. I was creating my own personal hell by allowing people who could care less about what’s in my best interest to have more power over my emotions, and ultimately my actions, than I did.
Fast forward to today, I am the happiest I have ever been in my adult life because I choose to be. That’s not to say that I don’t have challenges or experiences that make me feel sad, angry, or disappointed. I do, but the difference these days is that I choose wisely what situations deserve to impact me emotionally and for how long. I realize now that my life is my responsibility and no one is going to care more about how it feels to walk in my shoes than I do. I understand now that if I want to live my best life, it’s up to me to make the choice to.
To get to this place of inner peace and happiness, I had to be willing to release and remove some things from my life. I also had to add some new habits and activities into my daily routine. Here are 4 things that I did to shift from chronically unhappy to consistently happy and at peace with my journey.
- I let go of my ideas of what life is supposed to be like. I trust that everything that was and is happened for my highest good because I am a good person. I was carrying a lot of baggage from my youth that was negatively effecting how I felt and behaved in the present. From holding grudges against my parents for the mistakes they made to carrying shame from things that happened to me that were out of my control, I was keeping myself in a state of continuous unhappiness. Once I realized that despite my choice to keep living in the past, the world would keep moving forward and the people who hurt me were moving on also, I decided that it was time for me to do the same. These days, I refuse to let brief moments in my history shape my entire story. I make peace with my past because I can’t change it. I am focused on my present and future because that’s where my power works and my energy is best used.
- I released people who were toxic to my mental, emotional, and physical health. Some of these people were family. It’s not a choice I wanted to make, but a choice I needed to make to be a whole, healed, and happy individual. Often times, we try to keep people in our lives because we think they deserve to be based on sharing the same DNA or the length of time we’ve known them. However, if their presence is bad for your health and getting in the way of your peace, happiness, and success, they need to be released. No one’s happiness is worth you giving up your own for. You deserve to be happy just as much as the people you’re sacrificing your happiness for. Not to mention, the people who are truly meant for you will care about your happiness too.
- I am honest with myself about what I’m feeling, why I’m feeling it, and if it’s worth it for me to continue feeling it. I’ve learned that my emotions can be my own worst enemy so I no longer let them run wild. I take accountability for the part I play in my life and what I allow to impact how I feel. You don’t have to look far or hard to find people or circumstances that will make you feel upset, frustrated, angry, discouraged, or worthless. The world is full of reasons to be sad, depressed, and disappointed. However, it’s a choice to be consumed by situations you can’t control and bothered by people you can’t change. My rule now is, if I can’t see something positive coming out of it or how it’s going to add value to my life, I’m not giving it my time, energy, or attention. With greater self-awareness and the understanding that I can’t control everything around me, but I am in complete control over what I focus on, I have much more peaceful, productive, and profitable days.
- I put all of my faith in God and released my expectations of people to care about my happiness and reciprocate the love I give them. Every day, I wake up with the intentions to show up as my best self and fulfill my purpose regardless of what others are doing around me. Instead of worrying about what others will think or how they will react to me, I focus on pleasing God, being obedient to my calling, and giving off the energy I want to receive. I make the choice to be grateful for what I have, do the best with what I have, and treat others how I want to be treated while trusting in God’s plan. Staying focused on God and in alignment with His word hasn’t let me down yet.
It’s clear to me now that I wasn’t born to spend my days chasing after people who won’t ever love or respect me. I was not blessed with this life to spend my days suffering in unnecessary emotional agony. My life, as well as yours, has a purpose greater than being in a constant bad mood because of situations that are out of our control. I began to step fully in my power and experience true happiness once I stopped needing people to like, approve of, and acknowledge me. I hold myself responsible for my level of confidence and self-esteem. I hold myself accountable for doing the work to achieve the level of success I want to reach. I am happy every day simply because I choose to make being happy my priority. I hope after reading this you will too.
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