Quick disclaimer before I start this – I’m not going to talk about happiness in relation to material things. I think people should have learned by now that life itself matters more than wealth and that there’s a different between being happy and being comfortable.
Happiness – everyone’s goal in life. We all want to be happy, but how many of us get to actually be? Sure, we’ve all felt the bliss of the moment, the high, the rush of adrenaline, but how many of us have experienced real happiness, the long-term kind?
My whole life I’ve been hearing, reading, being taught that “we make our own happiness” and my standpoint on that has always been a dismissive one. I mean, it’s not all up to us, is it? There are things in life we can’t control, there are things that just happen to us. The past hangs heavily and expectations make it kind of hard for us to “enjoy the little things”. Nobody can be happy all the time. Right? But… when ARE we happy? When there’s nothing holding us back? When there’s no doubt in our hearts? When all we can see is the road ahead of us?
Many of us think that leaving the past behind and starting over will lead to the much desired happiness, because we are being offered a clean slate. Well, there is no clean slate. And even if there was one, we would make mistakes and bad decision all over again, because we’re human. Anyway, we never really start over. What’s done is done, the past remains carved in stone. There’s no erasing it, no forgetting. No matter how deep we try to bury it, no matter how hard we try not to think about it – about what’s happened to us, about what we’ve done and who we used to be, we never really forget and it never really goes away. We just shove it deep down, we get it lost in the mundane. We can never be sure of our next decision, we can never know that it is definitely the right one to make. When it comes to our happiness, what matters most is how we react to those things we can’t control, those that just happen to us. Also, we’ll never be happy until we come to terms with our past and with the fact that we’ll probably screw up again.
I’ve been miserable for a huge part of my life and I had no real reason to be. I was the only one making me unhappy. It was all me – the way I thought, the way I acted, the people I surrounded myself with, the activities I chose to engage in, the things I chose to consume my energy on. It was a never-ending cicle. I had no idea who I was, I was taking a little bit of something from everyone around me – good or bad – and I was making one horrible decision after another.
One day, I chose to take action. I was determined to shift my mind, to try a different approach, to find a new perspective. I’ve been in a constant transformation for the last two years and only now I feel like I’m finally finding myself and figuring out what it is that I want from life. Of course, this huge, long, major change didn’t happen just because I set my mind to it. There were a lot of external factors – people and experiences, but I also chose to actively do something.
I gave up people – a lot of people. I gave up the whole idea of chasing them, of trying to save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. I’ve learned that you can’t force your good intentions on someone, so I stopped fighting hopeless battles. I’ve learned to accept people and situations I can’t change. I’ve accepted the fact that sometimes you can be wrong about someone and see more in them than there actually is. And that’s okay.
I’ve accepted the fact that at some point in my life I was a terrible person.
I’ve accepted my bad decisions and my mistakes and I appreciate the bad experiences I’ve gone through. I’ve learned from them; because of them I am who I am today. And I like this person. I am grateful for everything I have, but I am especially grateful for the people in my life. They may not be many, but they are the best!
I’ve learned to stay true to myself, to be a good person, to come from a place of love in everything I do. This way, the right people will come along and stay. I try not to judge, I try not to forget that everyone is fighting a battle no one else knows about.
Today I am happy. I am peaceful, before anything else. Not everything is perfect in my life (and it will never be), there are still a lot of things I have to work on (and there will always be), but the big picture is great.
Make mistakes, go through shit, live your life! The things you may regret now, you’ll come to cherish. And when in doubt, remember that we can’t really know what’s good for us anyway. We can’t tell what the right decision is until later, when we look back and think about things, when they’ve had time grow in our mind and our decisions have transformed into consequences. So go in the direction of your dreams, take the path that feels right in the moment! Because it truly is all for the better.