For years, I never thought I'd ever be as happy as I am now - but I am. I am living it right now. I had to go through a lot of emotionally scarring things to get to where I am, but I did it, and if a scared little girl like me can get through things like an abusive relationship and living with a violent mother, anyone can.
I do want to mention that what I went through was very circumstantial. I was "lucky" to have a boyfriend that wasn't quite abusive enough that I felt scared to leave him, but more so that I would have no one left if I did. At the time my mother turned her violence towards me, I was lucky enough to have a partner who supported and protected me.
Not everyone has those opportunities. Not everyone is going through what I went through. Every single person and circumstance is different and I am not here to tell you that things like thinking about flowers is suddenly going to fix all your problems, because it won't.
However, the problems that I struggled with the most were internal; I despised myself and most of the things around me. I had barely any happiness in my life, but slowly I made changes that eventually made me into who I am today.
In this post, I am going to share those changes on the off-chance that it could benefit someone else. If there's any hope of me helping someone bring happiness into their life, I am going to give it a try. At the very least, this post might bring someone even a sliver of hope that one day they'll get out of the rut they're currently in.
I eliminated the things I didn't like.
This was one of the greatest things I have ever done. The biggest things I removed from my life were my abusive boyfriend and mother. The former happened in 2013, and the latter in 2016, so my current level of happiness is a long time coming. Even after they were out of my life, though, I realised that I was still hanging onto so much stuff that I didn't need or even want, so I simply let it go.
At the risk of sounding like an egotistical child, my life motto is now 'I do what I want'. If you think about it, within reason, there's not much in life that I have to do, so why do things that don't bring me happiness? Of course, there are plenty of instances where you should put others before you whether it makes you happy or not, and I still do that. My number one goal in life is to be a good person with good intentions, and I honestly do believe that I am.
Life won't be much fun unless you treat yourself the way you treat your loved ones: by doing things that bring happiness. For example, I quit drinking over a year ago, and it's one of the best things I've done. I didn't actually intend to it at first, it just so happened that a lot of time had passed since I last drank, and in that time I realised how much I didn't enjoy it. Even now, I don't miss it at all. Simple decisions like that, ridding my life of things that I didn't want or need, have made all the difference in the long run.
I embraced my quirks.
I don't know what 'normal' is, but I do know that no one has ever considered me to be the definition of it. I'm not sure what I did when I was younger and was forced to move schools multiple times because people just did not like me, but the things that make people not like me now that I'm older, are the things that I love most about myself.
I'm a handful; I know that. At work I am very peppy and cheerful and not everyone is like that, or enjoys being around people who are like that. I have actually had customers ask me, quite begrudgingly, what on Earth I am so happy about, but I never let that get me down. When I think back to who I was five years ago: a miserable, scared girl who didn't want to live to see another day, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have found happiness now.
I embrace the fact that I'm often so giddy I seem like a child. I embrace the fact that a cute animal or a nice comment can make me so happy I start crying. I embrace the fact that many of my interests are seen quite odd for a 20-year-old girl to have (my devotion to Sailor Moon and Pokémon, for example).
It was a lot easier than I thought it would be to stop caring about what people think about my hobbies and interests. I still have plenty of insecurities that bring me down, but the fact that I like watching cartoons and filling every inch of my house with something pink and/or in the shape of a dessert is not something that makes me feel weird anymore, just more original.
I started saying "no".
I have read many blog posts dedicated to the wonder of saying no, and now I understand why. 'No' is one of my best friends. It rids my life of things that I don't want, and gets me out of situations that would have made me uncomfortable. Since I started saying no, I have had a lot more time to myself, and have learnt about the things I want to say yes to.
Everyone should agree that it's perfectly acceptable to say no to any situation that involves something you know you don't like or will make you uncomfortable, right? Don't you agree that that's a reasonable statement? Well, for me, that means saying no to going out with friends more often.
It sounds selfish, but most people enjoy going out drinking at bars near the city, and I do not. Leaving the house at all makes me anxious, but especially at night. I don't enjoy being around people who are drinking, and I don't want to spend $6 on a glass of Coke when I have a full bottle I could drink at home. Therefore, I stay home - which has had an amazing effect on me: I like being at home now. I used to feel really down when I was at home, and would try to think of absolutely any reason to go out, but now I am perfectly content being at home.
That is a much bigger deal than it seems: to have found contentment within myself and how I spend my time alone is amazing. I no longer look for happiness in other people because I have it within myself. It also makes me appreciate my close friends even more, because I no longer feel like I have to cling to people to find happiness, and I can just enjoy the time we spend together instead.
Giving myself time to figure out what I like and dislike has completely changed my life for the better. Now that I am able to spend my days focusing on the things that I love the most (like this blog, which is a huge source of my happiness!), I am always filled with contentment and appreciation for life. I know that I am so blessed to be who I am, living the life that I am, and I am never going to take it for granted.
Until next time,