If you’re like me, you’ve always rolled your eyes at those people who seem to constantly be happy and positive about everything. I mean, that must be fake. There are just too many shitty things in life to be happy all the time. Those people must be putting on a show while they are secretly crying in their bedroom every night. Or, their lives just happen to be so perfect – supportive husband, job they love, enough money to do what they want, beautiful and fit – that they couldn’t possibly not be happy. They have it all! I would be happy if I had it all too!
I’ve often seen this sketch floating around, and while I agreed with the concept, I couldn’t figure out how to make it a reality for myself. How in the world do you just create happiness out of nothing?! I was always waiting on some external factor to make me happy. Moving somewhere new, changing jobs, getting a boyfriend. Sure, these are all great things and can contribute to my happiness, but at the end of the day, if I didn’t change a few fundamental things regarding my mindset, I was never truly going to be happy. Meaning, if those things were stripped away from me and all I had left to face was myself, would I be ok or would I fall to pieces?
Here are a few things that I’ve started doing that have helped me immensely:
- I realize that not everything is about me. That the frequently quoted and often criticized break up line “it’s not you, is me,” is actually 100% true. If someone has decided they don’t want to be with me, doesn’t want to be friends with me, doesn’t want to hire me, or whatever the case may be, that’s on them. I can not control the way that people react to my actions. I shouldn’t wonder if there’s something about me I should change. If I truly feel like I’m being the best version of myself and someone reacts adversely to that, then most likely they are dealing with their own issues and I’m better off staying out of it. This makes it much easier to forgive people and much harder to hold on to resentment. Which in turn makes it easier to sleep at night.
- I try to find the positive in every situation. I’m currently reading a book that says whenever something happens to you, you should say, “It’s good that this happened because…” When you do this, there’s no way you can lose. Nothing bad can happen to you because you can always spin it around and make the best of it. Things that may have ruined my day in the past now make me appreciate what I have. It also makes me complain less, and therefore a much more enjoyable person to be around.
- I appreciate the good people in my life. I tend to take for granted the people that are always there for me and pay special attention to the people that do not treat me the way that I want to be treated. I’m now making a conscious effort to shift my focus. By being specific in stating why I appreciate the people in my life, it not only makes me more grateful and want to tell them how much they mean to me (which as a bonus makes them feel good as well), but it’s helped me attract even more amazing people into my life than ever before.
- I tell myself how awesome I am. Positive affirmations seem so cheesy at first, but they are so so necessary. Especially in this day and age, where we are constantly told by mainstream media that we aren’t good enough. And where the opportunity to compare ourselves to others is there 24/7, thanks to social media. Sometimes we forget how amazing we are. For example, when I started doing CrossFit, I thought I was pretty awesome. My gymnastics background made it easy for me to do things like pull-ups and handstands, I had the mental capacity and competitive drive to push myself into the pain cave on almost every workout and while I recognized that I needed to get stronger with the barbell, I was willing to put in the work and I saw significant gains in my first two years of joining a CrossFit gym. Rather than comparing myself to other girls, I looked up to the strong ones and hoped to be as strong as them some day. Then, somewhere along the way I lost that. I stopped making gains as quickly and started comparing my lifts to others, and the excuses starting rolling in. “I’m too small to be competitive at CrossFit, I started strength training too late, I work too much and don’t have enough energy to train as hard as I’d like to.” What really happened was I forgot how awesome I was. That it doesn’t matter what other people are lifting. That I am strong and amazing and work my ass off and I’m proud of it. I’m finally rediscovering that, and I’ve already seen improvements in my strengths and my mental capacity, as well as in the other areas of my life. Positive affirmations for the win!
- I realize that the universe is not against me. I am not a religious person, but I do think that people who strongly believe in a higher power often seem to be “blessed,” and I think it’s because they believe there is someone out there, something greater than them, who is always on their side. While I’m not sure about a higher power, I do think that the universe is on my side. No one is out to get me. If I choose to do things that make me happy and love myself along the way, the universe will support that and send good vibes my way.
Did any of these things come naturally to me? Nope. Sometimes they still feel weird. When I first started doing them, I definitely felt like a fraud. Like one of those happy-go-lucky people that I used to despise. But now I’m starting to think that maybe they are on to something. Maybe being so happy and positive all the time is what has attracted awesome things to them, rather than the other way around. Maybe they really did create their own happiness. Maybe, like me, they adopted a “fake it till you make it” approach, and it manifested into something real.
How do I know it’s working? Well for one, I smile and laugh more often, just because. Secondly, the other day something happened to me that would have upset me to my core. Something that in the past would have had me in tears, then turned to anger and finally resentment. But this time around, there were no tears. There may have been some initial anger, in fact my body started shaking involuntarily at first, almost like I had been so programmed to respond in a certain way that my body took over. But for the first time in my life, I was able to look at the situation with a clear head and not let it affect my state of mind. And by refusing to let it bother me, by refusing to get involved, I found peace.
This is still a work in progress but I know I’m on the right track. So cheers to finding your inner happiness! And to the awesome things that it will bring into your life.