Happiness is letting go of what you think life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is. – Mandy Hale
Recently, I went through a pivotal point in my life. It wasn’t anything monumental; just a flattening of the brakes, a tug at the brakes, and a shrieking swerve from the highway I’d been driving down for some time in my life. I turned a corner into another motorway, one I was not familiar with. And in order not to lose my way, I stopped. And in that moment of immobility, I was afforded the opportunity, for the first time in a while, to reflect on my journey thus far, reflection that came at no small cost.
There were mornings shrouded with wisps of darkness, shadows that hadn’t cleared with the passage of the night, and nights that embraced with lethargy wreaked on me from no real activity. There were moments I felt like I was lurching about in an unlit tunnel, feet striking against loose earth and hands flailing about for the guidance that only the walls could give as to where I was going. In that time, I began to recognize more and more a desire to learn something new, a new way of living.
I am still learning that new way of living. I am learning new ways to grieve, new anger, new joys, new determination, new purpose, new reasons to wake up every morning. I am still learning. The road arduous and uncertain, and many a time, I have been tempted to slip back into the routines I am familiar with. But I am keeping on.
I never really understood this need to pursue all these definitions until I read something recently about a man recovering from cancer and how the road to his recovery led to him learning how to be happy again, after his happiness was taken away. He seemed to have it all figured out, this sense of renewed presence.
I don’t. I’m still figuring it all out. But like I said before, I am learning to be happy again. And here are just a few snippets of what I’ve started to learn being happy should mean to us all:
The way you look doesn’t determine whether or not you deserve love.
Stay true to your beliefs; don’t let the views of others sway you from the path you choose to follow and only change course on your terms. There are no straight roads or shortcuts.
It’s okay to be afraid, to let the fear in a little. It makes it all that much better when you are able to kick its ass when it has overstayed its welcome.
It’s perfectly fine to want to better the way you look, but make those changes for you not for others or what you want people to think about you. Chances are you will be disappointed if this is the route you choose.
Own it. Be confident in who you are. You are unique and that is what makes you special. If you love it, do it.
You fart. People fart.
When the heart bleeds, don’t try to stanch the hemorrhage. Let it flow from your eyes.
Share the kindness you’d like to receive. Everyone is going through a battle that no one else will ever understand. Kindness is often not afforded to those most in need.
Understand without regret that sometimes you need to make changes. If you make mistakes in any capacity, understand that they happen only in a brief moment of time that comes and goes. Life is not defined by one mistake.
Sometimes we need to accept we just can’t do something.
Don’t beat yourself up over things you can’t change.
Seeking validation from or make comparisons with anyone other than yourself, especially those you stalk on social media, will only make you unhappy. There are people looking at you and feeling exactly the same as you do about them.
Show your appreciation for those you love around you, not only once, but all the time. It gives us all unrivaled strength to know we are loved.
If you feel you need to be brave to tell someone you love them, it just means it’s important you do so.
When dating, ask yourself ‘What do I think of you?’ before thinking ‘What do they think of me?’
Have sex. Masturbate. There’s a reason God let you have all those body parts involved.
Don’t make compromises or trick yourself into falling for somebody because you’re tired of being alone, it won’t end well and you may still need time to find yourself if you’re considering it as a viable option.
There’s no need to go a mile a minute. If it’s love, it will grow.
He, she or they will walk into your life in ways you won’t imagine. Don’t hold onto to a fantasy; let your moments be your moments.
Putting out doesn’t get you love, neither does it fill a void.
Don’t chase divine perfection. Perfection doesn’t exist.
Don’t spend time wrapped up in the desires, fears and pains about an undetermined future so much that you forget to appreciate what’s in front of you now.
There are carbs in pretty much everything! Deal.
Let go of any stereotypes you have. Too many good people, who didn’t gel with the ‘image’ you were trying to transmit, have passed you by while you were trying to prove your worth to people who don’t even know your name.
It’s not always going to be great, but it’s not always going to be bad. Be brave.
Don’t believe you have failed if you find yourself unhappy at times.
Give time some time. Be calm in knowing things will come to you eventually, making you happier on their arrival.
Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you must, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
It’s OK to fear discomfort, but endure.
Trust until proven otherwise.
When someone compliments you, believe them with grace and gratitude.
I ask myself: ‘What do I do now?’ and the answer is ‘Anything I like’.
Happy International Day of Happiness.
I am @Walt_Shakes on Twitter