I used to be afraid to let myself be happy. I was so used to everything in my life being shrouded in darkness that I let the dark become my comfort zone. It seemed as though every time I allowed myself to get excited about one thing, something else in my life would unravel. In order to avoid disappointment, I had stopped letting myself experience joy. Looking back, that’s such a heartbreaking way to live. I am sad for the girl I used to be. We all become who we have to when we are in survival mode.
The trouble is, the person we become to get through trauma is not the person we are meant to be. Once we emerge from life’s harsh lessons, we have to find the courage to step into who we really are. The stronger, wiser version of ourselves. If we embrace our vulnerability, we will discover that it is actually a form of strength. If you are able to look back on all the obstacles you’ve overcome with clarity, you will see them for what they really were. Opportunities for growth. Everything that has occurred in your life helped shape you into who you are now. Even the truly horrible experiences. Especially those. You get to choose what you take from those situations. You can label yourself a victim and wallow in self pity. Or you can realize the inner strength you found in those moments, and be the survivor you are. A warrior who fought the way forward even when the path was unclear. The choice is yours.
Everything in life is a choice. Every day. It seems people are constantly in search of experiences and possessions to fill the void in their heart. In need of a promotion, a vacation, or another status symbol to provide them with a sense of worthiness. Always chasing the next big thing that’s going to make them “happy”. Never understanding that happiness won’t be found in the next job, relationship, or city. Wondering why they still aren’t happy once they get where they thought they wanted to go. The truth is that happiness isn’t something that you find outside of yourself. Happiness can only be created in your own mind. Happiness is a choice. It’s an attitude, a mindset. You get to choose whether you want to focus on all the things you feel are missing from your life, or be grateful for what you have. Think back to the times when you prayed for everything you’re currently taking for granted.
Stop searching for happiness, and choose to be happy where you are. Have you ever noticed that some of the happiest people seem to have less? Those people have discovered the secret to life. They’ve found Joy in it’s simplest form. They appreciate what they have, instead of comparing their lives to others and allowing themselves to get caught up in the endless competition. Look around, there is so much beauty in the world. So much to be thankful for. An awful lot of joy to experience.
Allow yourself to take a breath and enjoy the blessings staring you in the face. Let go of what you think you need to achieve or posses in order to be happy. I’m not saying you should give up on your dreams or stop going after your goals. Just enjoy the ride more. This is the fun part. Joy is found in the process of climbing the mountain, not just when you reach the top. Be happy right where you are, while reaching for more. Let go. Relax. Exhale. Life is good.
At times it can feel like you’re hanging on by a thread. One thing after another seems to go wrong. You’re lost in the dark and not sure where to turn. It’s during those times that we need to cherish everything in our lives that brings us joy, even more. Hold on to those lifelines with everything you’ve got. They will carry you through until the clouds clear and the light shines again. Life is made up of magical moments, terrible tragedies, and a whole lot of mundane days in between. Often times it’s the worst days that completely change our direction and set us on the path for the best things that ever happen to us. Everything is connected in a mysterious way that only makes sense when we look back in retrospect.
Find the magic that surrounds you, and do more of what makes you come alive. Savor every delectable moment that you can in between the storms that will continue to rage from time to time. Attempt to find meaning in the chaos, and uncover the lessons that are hidden in adversity. Challenges are the stepping stones we need to pave the way forward. Love with everything you have. Give more. Show kindness to everyone you meet. Forgive people who are not sorry. Remember to truly live your life and find joy in even the most ordinary days. Allow yourself to just be happy.