I haven’t always been a happy person. I used to be really good at “fake happy”—it looks all sunshine and rainbows on the outside but on the inside, it’s a big old mess of depression and escapism. Now, though, I can honestly say that while I don’t have everything I’ve ever wanted, I am actually content and looking forward to the rest of my life and everything it has in store for me. It didn’t come easy, but I made it. Here’s how I got to my happy place:
I quit drinking. One of the biggest problems in my life was that I always used alcohol as a way to either escape the things that were getting me down or celebrate the things that I was excited about. I allowed it to become a staple in the way I socialized with the people I care about and used it to numb all the feelings I didn’t really want to feel. Now that I’m completely sober all the time, I know that I can deal with my problems head on, and that I can be happy and have fun without it.
I removed toxic people from my life. It didn’t matter if it was my oldest friend or a guy I just started dating, anyone and everyone that was not a good influence on the person I wanted to be was cut out of my life like they never existed. It may seem harsh, but it was something I had to do to get to a good place and I’ve never regretted it.
I no longer have the fear of missing out. When I first got my act together, so to speak, I kept thinking that I was missing out on certain things. Huge parties and throwing away money on dumb crap just because I wanted it at the time, for example, became things that I thought I needed to be a part of “the group” (whatever that even was). Now that I’ve realized I’m fine without the weekly outing or designer bag I don’t need, I’m actually a lot happier.
I simplified my life. Instead of accumulating a bunch of stuff that I didn’t need, I started thinking about things I want to experience as opposed to own and I put my energy and extra money into those instead. If I didn’t think it was going to serve me with good memories, I didn’t need it. That’s really helped me be content with what I do have and the things that I waste my time on.
I started taking care of myself physically. I no longer eat crap just because it tastes good and I make it a point to do physical activity that I really enjoy. The health of my body and mind is my number one priority and because of this, I’ve actually managed to get to a really good place. I can’t do anything without my health, and now that I’m taking better care of myself, I can do everything I’ve ever wanted.
I only say yes to things I really want to do. I used to say yes to literally everything. Any time one of my friends or acquaintances asked me to do something, I was down for… and then when it came time to actually do it, I’d dread having to keep up with the commitment. Instead of continuing to be a people pleaser, I say no right away when I know it’s not something I want to spend time or money on. I can honestly say that it’s worked wonders.
I don’t let my day job get in the way of my passions. I’m exhausted all the time, but I’m also inspired, and I won’t allow the fact that I need to pay bills by doing a job I don’t particularly love get in the way of pursuing my dreams. If I do, then I won’t ever get to that dream job I’ve been wishing for my whole life and I’ll lose everything that feeds my soul. Instead of letting the hours worked get in the way of the hours I need to spend on my outside goals, I work as hard as I can to get where I want to be because I know that everything I do now is a stepping stone to everything I’ve ever wanted.
I spend more time with people that matter. I don’t hang out with people I only half-like because we used to be close or because I feel obligated to. I have a few good friends that I spend the majority of my time with and the rest of my socializing is done with my family. I wouldn’t have it any other way— it means I don’t waste my time on the wrong people.
My expectations are high but not unrealistic. I will always go for gold because I know that I can achieve it. And, since the dreams I do have are realistic and attainable, I’ll stop at nothing to get there. I’m not chasing a pipe dream, and now that I have the confidence and good attitude to back up the talent, nothing can stop me.
Gratitude has become easier to me. While I’m still going for more when it comes to things I want and things I’d like to achieve, I still wake up every day thankful for what I already have and proud of myself for what I’ve already accomplished. This keeps me grounded, humble, and happy with where I’m at now, even if it’s not yet where I want to be.
I’m happy with the person I am because of the choices I make. I never feel guilty about any of the things I choose to do because I never make rash decisions. Every choice I make has an air of thought behind it and that helps keep me in a good place in my life. I know now to make choices that will only affect me positively.
I don’t blame others for my problems. I never blame anyone for any problem that happens to me. I’m in charge of my own life and once I learned that, it was liberating. If something doesn’t work out, the only person that can fix it is me. I’ll be damned if I don’t use that to my advantage.
I’ve adopted a “why not me?” attitude. I used to be insecure about my goals and what I wanted for myself in every area of my life. I used to think that some things just weren’t meant to happen for me and I’d have to accept that. Not anymore. I can and will have everything I’ve ever wanted because I deserve it and because I’m working my ass off to get it.
I never stop working on me. I’m always a work in progress. The person I’ve become today is someone I’m happy with, but I know that this work of art is never done. I won’t stop improving so that I can be my best self and that in and of itself is only causing me to be even happier with who I am, and where I’m at in my life.