Tag Archives: Happiness

My Desire To Be More

One of the coolest things, I’ve found, about your own personality and your own existence as a human is how the process of discovering ourselves and growing into the person we want to be never ceases. There is always the opportunity to better yourself and change aspects you don’t like, heightened the things you do or embrace an entirely new element about yourself.

Recently, I’ve discovered a couple things about me that I’d like to focus on changing. They aren’t necessarily bad things. Recently, I’ve been more akin to noticing them and how they are holding me back from being the woman I really want to be and that’s why my goal is to actively change them, whatever that my look like.

Be More Assertive

This aspect of my personality is something I’ve really struggled with. I’ve always been that introvert with extroverted tendencies. Someone who is more shy than outspoken. Someone who will be quiet over making her voice heard. Someone who cares more about the opinions and desires of others–and making sure those are met–than her own. I wrote a post that discussed this at some length, but it just keeps popping up.

Most of the time, it’s simple stuff, like feigning apathy when I actually know what I want for dinner or hesitating to offer a suggestion when an open call is asked for one. But at the same time, it’s still important. My voice and my opinion are still important. And, quite frankly, it’s also rude to other people, who also value my voice and opinion and want to hear it. Why hold back what I want to say or how I feel because I’m so concerned it might not align with what they want or feel? Why assume that, because I’m so used to swallowing my own desires and needs, that they will do the same and we’ll be stuck at an impasse? Why shy away from honest conversations where the needs, wants, desires and opinions of all parties are heard and discussed, before a conclusion is reached? It doesn’t make a ton of sense.

So I want to express my opinions, my thoughts, my wants, my desires, my needs. If I want to eat at one restaurant and my friend wants to eat at another, nine times out of ten, we’ll end up eating at the restaurant my friend wanted, to be honest. Though I want to be more assertive when it comes to expressing my own voice, that doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly going to be so assertive that my needs come before everyone else’s. Nor should it. But there needs to be more of a balance, between being selfless and silent, to being selfish and speaking. I want to be a little bit of both. I want to have a voice and make it heard, while still being super flexible–an aspect that I love about having a meeker personality and I don’t want to lose that as I develop an assertive voice. I do want to be a little more selfish when it matters, when I have a strong opinion, yet I also want to continue being empathetic. I want to balance putting others needs first and making sure my own needs are met.

Every day you have the opportunity to grow and make the decision to become a happier version of yourself. You aren't the same person as you were yesterday. Who are you choosing to be today?  Tag a friend  /// Get the best happy quotes from the week delivered to your email. Link to sign up in my profile. via @angela4design by @happsters

Be More Confident

This might be something I’ve always struggled with, ever since I can remember. I’ve always had body confidence issues, for sure, but it’s bled into every area of my life where I could possibly have confidence, to the point where I have hardly any at all.

And I kinda should.

Sure, I think being humble is awesome and that’s something I’d like to claim to be, but there’s a difference between being humble and then honestly belittling your own self worth and self image. This whole post might be talking about how I want to improve, but if I’m being really honest with myself, I like who I am and I like who I am becoming.

I need to stop apologizing for everything (something I also talked about on this blog). I was out with my family this past weekend and I realized feeling the need to apologize for every little thing is apparently something we all do. I was surprised at how annoyed I got with hearing utterance after utterance of, “I’m sorry” for things where no apology was necessary. Which I’m sure you find ironic, considering how I confessed to doing the same thing all of the time.

I need to learn to accept compliments and not immediately try to dissuade them and label the compliment as a lie. I need to be confident in my own skin and realize that, even though I’ve made progress in my weight loss goals and still have work I want to do, I shouldn’t be afraid to still flaunt and love the body I have now. I need to be confident in my writing and my stories and my ideas. I need to be confident in my voice.

I am starting to love me for me. I just need to let other people see that.

Be More In the Present

This one might be a little weird, but it ties into my anxiety, which I’ve also talked about. But I want to focus more on living every day as wonderfully as I can. I want to work harder at creating happiness from each moment, instead of constantly waiting for each weekend or the next big event; doesn’t mean I can’t get excited about the future things on my horizon that get me amped, but I want to be more present in my day-to-day life, appreciating the little things. More often than not, I lose myself to anxiety over the future or overthinking the past that I forget how to live in the present. The scary reality is, the present can change so quickly and not always in a positive way. So I want to focus more on just enjoying what I have, where I am, who I am, now, and letting the future happen as it happens.

Focus on the good.

I got a few things I’d like to work own. Like most good things, none of these changes are going to happen overnight–apparent by the fact that I’ve written at least one other blog post that ties into each of these aspects of my identity once before, so obviously this is a topic I’ve considered before or is on my radar. Awareness is a great first step and I’m there.

Now it’s time to do something about it.

It takes little changes, every day, to reshape, build and then strengthen these elements into my true personality and that is a challenge I really want to–and am very excited–to undertake. Have any tips on how to do exactly that? Leave them in the comments below. I’d really appreciate it!

Cheers.

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Happiness: To Me, From Me

This post might make me sound a little pathetic…and maybe I am, a little bit. If you read my super personal post the other day, you’ll know that I rely on the opinion of others a bit too heavily. I also rely on other people as my main source of happiness a bit too much. Not saying that I can’t be happy on my own, but there are definitely times and situations where I feel like I can only be happy if X does Y. Whether it’s a friend inviting me to hang out or texting me back, a family member surprising me for dinner or a crush flirting with me, I’ve gotten into the bad habit of letting my happiness come from someone else, instead of creating it from within myself and letting any other source of happiness be a bonus, a complement, to what I create.

This might not make a lot of sense or it might make me seem like a really weird (which is accurate) and slightly sad (hopefully not true) individual. But considering my heart is a bit confused and not exactly whole at the moment, by being really sad over that, I’ve realized how much happiness came from that person…and I’m struggling a little bit to create my own happiness without them.

I realize this is something I need to work on. No matter what type of relationship you’re in, you should never rely on someone that much; to be the main source of your happiness. It puts too much pressure on them, it hurts you when you lose them and suddenly struggle to be happy and, honestly, it isn’t exactly healthy. Happiness should come from within you. Same goes for self-worth, which I also put in the hands of others too often. A friend told me that my affirmations of worth need to come from within me, not from other people. By doing that, it makes it easier for others to see how much value I truly have, instead of me struggling to find any value at all when relationships and friendships become complicated or confusing. I loved that advice. It was really eye-opening.

Obviously, I won’t be making any big mental changes in a day. I’ve had a lot of eye-opening moments recently and I still have a long way to go in becoming the person I want to be. But I wanted to try and remind myself that I can be happy no matter what life throws at me; no matter how lonely I feel sometimes, wishing I was in a committed relationship or missing my friends and family. So below, I wrote out a list of things that I can do to make me happy. As a reminder that I can, indeed, be happy alone. Might be cheesy, might be weird, that I’m posting this, but if I didn’t write this post, this list would never get written. And I think I need it.

So, without further ado:

Happiness To Me, From Me

  1. Trying out a new recipe.
  2. Cooking in general–and that full feeling you get after eating a good meal.
  3. Reading outside.
  4. Feeling the sweat drip down my face as I run.
  5. Getting my first dog someday.
  6. Buying a house! (I’m oddly really excited to do this.)
  7. Writing.
  8. Creating characters and worlds and challenges.
  9. Leveling up in a video game.
  10. Crossing things off of my To-Do List.
  11. Writing letters.
  12. Listening to a song that perfectly encapsulates your mood.
  13. That perfect fall weather.
  14. Wearing outfits that make me feel like a BAMF.
  15. Getting tattoos.
  16. A really hot bath.
  17. Finally working through that plot hole.
  18. Cliffhanger endings.
  19. Leaving the windows open during a thunderstorm.
  20. A clean house.
  21. Really good smelling candles.
  22. Eating popcorn and ice cream during a good movie.
  23. Buying a new outfit or book.
  24. Sleeping in on the weekend–or waking up feeling totally rested.
  25. Painting my nails.
  26. Nailing the side braid with my hair.
  27. Spending the entire day outside.
  28. Reading by the pool.
  29. Going on a walk without headphones and listening to nature.
  30. Having a really productive day.
  31. Clocking out before the weekend.
  32. Nerding out about Tolkien.
  33. Writing in coffee shops.
  34. Finally beating that boss (in video games) you’ve been stuck on for weeks.
  35. Decorating the home.
  36. Eventually planting my own garden!

I had no idea how long the list would turn out to be–and that’s just a list of things that I can do alone to create happiness for myself. It’s not complete. I’m sure there are other things I’ll think of. And that doesn’t even include things I can do with other people.  Don’t get me wrong: I really, really love hanging out with other people. And I love how much joy I get from spending time with those that mean the most to me. There’s no plan to stop doing that (though, as I’ve gotten a little bit older, I have found that those moments are harder to come by, so I’m alone more often than anything else). But I just wanted to write down something, to remind myself that while loving others and finding happiness with them is fantastic, that can’t be my only source. Instead, my main source has to come from me, so that no matter what I go through in life, I still know how to be happy–even if it’s hard sometimes.

Cheers.


2017: Questing to Know Myself and Choose Happiness

Christmas is less than a week away, with the New Year skittering close after its heels. Though it might seem a bit early for a resolution-like post, when the mood to write strikes you, you ignore it at your own peril. I say “resolution-like” because I can already tell that I’m not going to have a nice, neat list for of goals I want to accomplish, like I have in the past. Quite frankly, I have one true goal, one resolution. It isn’t a new one, but simply a reaffirmation and a refocusing of something that I always want to strive to achieve. The start of another year is the perfect time to remind myself exactly what I want and how to achieve it.

Happiness and self-love.

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24 is a really weird age. I have more bills than I do fingers. Everything I was “certain” and “planned” to do, I’ve already done, i.e., finish school, go to college and graduate. I’m now in this mixed stage of floundering and survival, where I have goals and dreams, of course, but no longer is my path set in stone like it was whilst I was still in school. Now, more than ever, I have a lot of control in not how how my life is lived, but where my priorities lie, how my time is spent, how my values rank and where I want to steer my life.

That is both liberating and terrifying.

And on an average day, I’m pretty content. I currently average roughly 55-60 hours a week between working two jobs. One job lets me scrape by paying my bills. The other job is strictly going into savings, all of it to be used as funding for my trip to London in the fall with my Mom (and I can already tell you that trip is going to be the highlight of 2017). I’m lucky that I enjoy both jobs and the people that I work with. And though it turns into long days, I’m glad that I am being more proactive, even if my downtime has been cut down and my anxiety of never completing my To-Do List has risen because of it.

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I have two goals to help maximize my happiness surrounding my work life: stay more on top of my finances and create a weekly routine and goal list, and stick with it. I need to order a box of checks (considering the last time I bought checks was in middle school) and get a fresh balance sheet for both my checking and savings account and then form a solid habit of tracking what I spend and earn. I get easily stressed about money. And though I know I’m doing fine–I could definitely be struggling more–this stress certainly takes a hit at my overall happiness. If I was more aware of what was going on with my bank account, I think my stress of not having enough would definitely lessen. Plus, this isn’t a bad habit to form in any sense.

I also want to create a routine/schedule that I follow Monday through Friday, probably pretty rigidly. On top of two jobs, I also have freelance editing work, an internship and two free 14-week online classes over Tolkien to balance. And we’re not even factoring in normal health routines (showering, eating, etc.), my personal writing or editing, or my commitment to working out. Life is busy. And I get pretty bummed when I get into writing funks or don’t go to the gym or don’t read for a few days and I know it’s simply because I haven’t managed my time properly. So this week, I plan to map out a schedule that I stick to, with work and eating and things, and a weekly goal list of other things I’d like to accomplish not at a set time; and tape both up by my calendar, so I see them every day. By staying on top of everything during the week, my weekends will be guilt-free days for general laziness, video games or socializing (if this soul stuck in a work cave can actually navigate back to the sunlight that is having a life).

I’m also happiest when I’m writing. Not only writing, but writing consistently. If anything positive came out of 2016, it is definitely that I learned that no matter how busy I am, I can always make time to write and when I do, the results are stunning. I have a lot of projects I need to edit and new ones I want to write next year (but that will be a separate blog post, coming your way soon). These past two months, any excuse I’ve found to not put writing first, I’ve used. There’s no better time than January 1st to recommit to my craft and fall in love with writing again.

Speaking of falling in love, that’s also something I wouldn’t mind doing–both with someone else and with myself. But I can only control one of those and that is my attitude towards myself. Which, honestly, is my biggest focus for 2017–even more so than writing, which shows you how serious I am about this. The biggest way I know I can help myself learn to love myself fully is to pick up working out regularly again. During the fall, I ran for five weeks straight and it felt amazing. And even with so little time, I saw how much my body was changing and I loved it. I could look in the mirror and not cringe (compared to the four weeks after that spurt where every time I pass the mirror, I try to avoid catching my reflection). Even if my body wasn’t changing, I generally just feel happier, more accomplished and proud on days where I work out compared to days that I don’t. This week, I bought a pass to the gym–another sign of how serious of a commitment this is to me, because that pass, while I can afford, I can barely do so. It’s right across the street from where I live and I can squeeze in a workout in-between jobs. So after the holidays, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Every day you have the opportunity to grow and make the decision to become a happier version of yourself. You aren't the same person as you were yesterday. Who are you choosing to be today?  Tag a friend  /// Get the best happy quotes from the week delivered to your email. Link to sign up in my profile. via @angela4design by @happsters:

Of course, then there’s all the little things I hope to do throughout the year. Like rebuild my wardrobe to reflect my personality and style better. Get one or two more tattoos before London. Read a lot more books. Amp up my blog commitments to the three blogs that I contribute to and/or run. Query by the summer. Get my haircut regularly. After London, depending on the job, financial and timing situations, I want to look into renting my first little house, save up for a puppy and potentially getting back into the dating scene, if I’m not in it already. Do more weekend roadtrips. Collect more nerdy decor for whatever home I’m in. Find a single job that’s full-time.

And on and on and on and on…

Basically, for 2017, though this phrasing is going to make it sound pretentious, selfish or even potentially arrogant, I want it to be a year about me. Not in the I’m-the-center-of-the-universe-watch-me-flaunt-it kind of way, but in the I-recognize-my-own-value-and-worth-and-am-putting-that-first kind of way. I’m looking to grow, to discover and explore my own personality, to improve yet also be content with exactly the person I’ve crafted myself to be. Because if there was any time in my life where I had control to be exactly who I wanted and shape myself to be exactly the person I desire to be, the time is now. And I’d love your support along the way. 🙂

Wrap-Up List:

  • Start balancing checkbook regularly.
  • Create a weekly routine and stick with it.
  • Recommit to writing goals and stick with them.
  • Workout for 45 minutes 5 days a week.
  • Take care of me.

Well look at that. Apparently I came up with a goals list, after all.

Any goals, mindset changes, reaffirmations or new risks that you’d like me to cheer you on regarding? Hit me up in the comments about what these are and exactly how I can best support you and let’s hit 2017 with grins, positivity and the determination to not only love ourselves, but also change the freakin’ world.

Cheers.


Stuck in a Funk

Man, if that title doesn’t describe my mindset right now, I dunno what does. I am definitely stuck, caught in the midst of a funk that is fueled through the emotional roller coaster I’ve been riding for the past month (with this past week being a definite, intense down). From missed love and a bruised heart to genuine fear and confusion, my emotions have been everywhere and the moments when they have been positive have been few and greatly missed.

And everything else, it seems, have been put on hold.

Blogging.
Editing.
Internship.
Reading.
Freelancing.
Writing.

All of these elements have taken up a lot of my time recently, as I became more involved in the community and gave myself permission to take myself seriously as a writer. And I have loved every minute of it. Yet I’ve been unable to not only do any of these things, but also even struggled to find enjoyment within them, when I actually do manage to focus. The funny thing is, my haywire emotions aren’t going to stabilize when the aspects of my life that I enjoy most, I am too emotionally drained or upset to be able to enjoy or escape within them.

Ah, the nefarious Catch-22 moment that loves to invade my life. Hello, again. It’s been a while.

Running has definitely been the outlet I’ve turned to. Turn on some jams, crank up the volume to 11 and 30 seconds in, I’m already struggling to breathe. The physical exertion helps distract me from whatever dark corner my mind is trying to slip into. It helps me deal with how frustrated I am that even my life’s bloody calling isn’t enough to help me out of this funk.

Yet.

Because guess what, funk? That’s right, I’m being rude to my readers and talking directly to you, now. You may have had control over me for a while, but that’s all changing here real soon. I may not be able to determine when. It may be an up-and-down battle. It may take some stubbornness on my part. It’s definitely going to take a lot of self-care and reflection. But you’re a funk and that’s all you are: a phase, temporary; not who I am at my core, at my realest, at my peak.

So tonight, I’m going to watch a little Netflix when I get home for work. I’m going to eat a little ice cream, maybe make some popcorn. I’m going to sleep in. And then I’m going to get to work, searching for whatever I can to help battle the funk I’ve been in and help me return to the happy, positive person I naturally am–even if I get sidetracked every once in a while.

Cheers.


The Power of Perception

This is a post I have wanted to write for a long time. Yet I have held back, because I know it might possibly offend people. Or maybe offend isn’t the right word. Maybe make people think I am judging them or their lifestyle, somehow exerting dominance over them because the mindset that I am going to talk about in this post, I have, whereas they do not. And I will be advocating for said mindset. So before I even get into the topic, I want to have a disclaimer right off the bat: I am not claiming that in any way, shape or form that I am better than anyone else or that I am judging anyone. Because I am not. Do I have some people in mind when writing this post? Yes, I do. But I am writing this because I want to help them, not put them down in any fashion or sense. But because I have been worried about how this could be negatively received, I have put off writing it. And even though I am not claiming that anything below is life-altering or drastically new in theory or thought, I do think it can be eye-opening; a reminder of how much power the mind holds and how much power we hold over the mind.

So, my topic/the problem I want to “solve”: how to make yourself happier; how to be happier.

My solution: you choose to be happier.

Now, let me elaborate. I use to be a very depressed, negative person. I loathed myself and viewed the world though a very negative lens. Yet I didn’t have any reason for it, not really. It was mostly centered around my appearance, as I am curvy in not necessarily all the “right” places. Yet I was blessed, very blessed, as I still am today. I am still working on the whole appearance acceptance thing, but I am doing better. So, in high school, I was “happy”, but only sometimes. But I was definitely depressed. Now, fast forward to college: I’m happy. I am one of the most positive people you will ever meet. Hell, Positivity is my number one strength on StrengthsQuest. I am so positive, my outlook is so bright, I have had people accuse me of being fake. But I promise you, all of it is genuine, absolutely pure to who I am and what I believe. It really is this 180 story, from high school to college, transforming to naturally depressed to naturally happy. Sometimes, people who know my story, they ask me how I did it. And I tell them that I chose it; chose to be happier.

This is where the scoffing comes into play. What, you just chose to be happier and BOOM, suddenly you go from crying your eyes out every night to sprouting unicorns out of your head? No, not exactly. Yes, I made the choice to be happier and yes, now, I am happier. But it took almost two years to make that mindset stick, to make this positive mindset natural. But for a long time, it had to be a conscious choice. I had to constantly tell myself that I wanted to be happier, so I needed to stop viewing things negatively and start viewing them positively. When I started feeling down or started to get angry, I had to stop myself and work, and work hard, to make myself see the positive light in the situation. Because there is one, always. And sometimes, I couldn’t do it. Sometimes, it didn’t work. But I didn’t let myself get down on the fact that I slipped up. I started over the next day and then the next. And I still slip up, sometimes, although now those times are few and far between, especially compared to be daily breakdowns I used to have. Now, though, I automatically think of the most positive thing. I always view the glass as not half full, not have empty, but over-flowing. I always look for the best in people, in situations, in everything. It’s a natural state of mind for me. My work has paid off. And I am happier because of it.

Sure, you say. I’ll buy into it that you worked on it for a while and made the switch. But how did you do it? Well, see, that’s the simple part. You recognize that you can make a choice and then make the one that allows you to be happier. It’s the transition of making that happier choice unconsciously and immediately that is difficult to do. Everything we do in life is made from choices. I am sure you have heard of that before. But I don’t think a lot of people associate the choice of changing their mindset, as well, before going into situations. And that’s the key to a happier life — in my opinion and experience.

Lemme give a few examples to make it clearer. You have a job, okay? You may love your job. It may be your dream job that you cherish and have worked towards for years. Or, you may hate it. You may hate what you’re doing or find it meticulous and boring. It may not be in the field you want or the only reason you are working there is to pay the bills. Either way, it’s a Monday morning. You wake up early. You slug around, dragging your body out of bed, hating the fact that you have to get up. You try on seven different outfits, pissed that you can’t figure out what to wear. You hate that you have to commute and speed all the way there. And as soon as you walk in the door, you are pissed that you have to go to work. And so you spend the entire day waiting until you can go home. And then, once you get home, you spend all night complaining about how bad work was or how much you are dreading going into work the next day.

It doesn’t matter whether it is the job you’ve always wanted or a job you hate. If you wake up in the morning dreading to go to work, you’ve already set yourself up for a negative experience. And I guarantee, no matter what kind of job you have, we’ve all done this. If you dread going to work every day, of course it is going to suck. You’ve mentally chosen, unconsciously, for it to be that way, no matter what kind of job you have. And you may be in the latter category, where your job truly is not exactly the greatest. And you may really hate it. But you are not doing yourself any favors by dreading going to work every day. By doing that, you are mentally creating or supporting a negative environment.

Instead of treating it like a dreaded chore, you could treat it like an opportunity; a chance; a blessing. We all have bills to pay. With this job, you can pay yours, even if you don’t love it. By viewing it as an opportunity denied to many others, you realize how blessed you are. By recognizing that you still have the chance to go to work, you remember that you’re still alive to even complain. But we live short lives. Why waste breath on complaints and negativity when you can experience something so much greater?

I work a second job at a library on campus. All last semester, I honestly dreaded going into work, even though I was only able to work once to week due to cutting back hours. At first, I couldn’t figure out why I dreaded it so much. I got to go to the library — a habitat that I love — and work with ancient books that most people don’t even get to touch, because they aren’t in my position to be allowed to do so. For me, that should have been Heaven; bliss. And for the first year, it was. I loved it. So why was I hating it so much? It took a whole semester to figure it out, but I did: I was pissed that working at the library was taking away time from my homework. Instead of working on four hours of research for my thesis (which, let’s be honest, was my entire semester last semester), I had to go to the library and work. And then I realized I was doing exactly what I described above: before even getting to work, I was dreading the fact of being there and counting down the hours to get back home and back to my studies, to truly maximize my time. Before even stepping foot in the door, I was already putting a negative twist on it. By doing so, I was ruining even the chance of anything great happening, because I had already, subconsciously, decided on how the work day was going to go: shitty.

After realizing that, I took a step back and realized what the library gave me in return for my efforts: a definite boost on my resume; extra cash that I desperately need, now that I have a car payment that takes up my entire paycheck from my other job; I’ve made a ton of friends and networked so much through working there; I rediscovered an author I loved as a kid; it has definitely helped me out with my schoolwork; and even though it was bothering me then, it gives me break from school and lets me help others, whether it is training new employees, helping students on their own research, helping the librarians with projects, what-have-you. I gain a lot from a job that I only get to work four hours a week at. And after looking at everything — looking at why I was dreading work, what I gained from it and everything in-between, I realized that I truly do love this job. And if I go into each shift realizing all the benefits and how lucky I am to still have that job after a year and a half, I give myself the opportunity to enjoy it ten times more than if I go in dreading work each day. This semester, I have worked to switch that mindset back. And although I have only worked a couple shifts, I have already enjoyed these shifts ten times better than any shift I had last semester (even the day that I had to shift maps, which lemme tell you, is really not easy), all because I gave myself the chance to enjoy it.

Now, I am not saying that if you truly loathe a job, if you start going into it each day with a positive attitude, you are going to instantly start loving it. The shitty boss will still be there. The filing that drives you nuts will still be yours to complete. But honestly, what do you have to lose from going into work with a smile as opposed to hating every moment from when you wake up until you go back to sleep? You have the choice to look at it in a positive way and you lose nothing by making this choice. Instead, you have everything to gain.

You see, making the choice of mentally trying to choose a more positive mindset, is all about the power of perception. If you go into anything with a negative mindset, you are lessening your chances of enjoying what you’re doing or what is going on around you. If you go in thinking negatively about yourself, you are choosing for external, outside forces to have to come in and change your mindset for you, instead of actively making that choice yourself, e.g., on a rainy day, you decide that it has to be a shit day because it is raining. Because of that negative mindset, you are forcing your happiness to be dependent on something that is completely out of your control: the sun. By choosing the negative mindset, you are losing agency and the power of control. But by picking the positive mindset, keeping up the positive outlook, you are giving the power back to yourself.

Perception is a truly powerful thing. And perception of the self is an underrated power. We have the power to decide how we feel about what is going on around us and how we feel about ourselves. For example, like I said earlier, I really struggle with how I look and my weight. I started working out two weeks ago. Two weeks in not near enough time to completely transform a body I have been creating and shaping for the past 22 years; two years is a more accurate timeline for noticeable, realistic change. However, because I have been working out, I feel so much better about myself. I don’t think about what my body looks like as much, oddly enough. I have more confidence because even though my body hasn’t changed much yet, I feel skinnier, even if it isn’t true (yet). I can feel my body changing, slowly but surely. And because I am working towards it, my mind is starting to believe that my goal is within reach. That voice in the back of my head, constantly whispering, You’re ugly, you’re fat, that muffin top is real attractive…not, is slowly fading away, flickering out like a dying flame. Instead, I am viewing myself as a constant improvement, always working on being better. My perception of myself as changed, because I have decided to stop letting my mind convince me of all the reasons I can’t work out, and instead show myself all the reasons why I can.

Obviously, perception is a big deal. And you are constantly bombarded with the perceptions of others, even when they don’t say anything to you. Wanna know how? By comparing yourself to the rest of the world. Walking around the Mall, if I look at a size ten girl and then suddenly look back at size 16 me, and consider myself less than her because I am bigger, then I am automatically assuming that she perceives me as fat or overweight. I put her perception of me on the forefront of my mind — a perception that might not even be true! Instead, I can challenge myself to keep up the mindset that I love myself, regardless of how other people view me. I can create my own perception and focus on only that, instead of constantly bringing in others. And when others offer their opinions and criticisms, I can listen to them and learn from them, of course. Some will be beneficial and others will be pointless. But at the end of the day, the power is in my hands: self-love, self-esteem, self-confidence…they all contain the same element; the most important element: the self. Me.

Happiness, and achieving happiness, is the same way. Everyone’s life is different. There will always be someone “better off” than you. Likewise, there will always be someone “worse off” than you. So why is it that we always focus on the former, always comparing ourselves to those who have it “better”? Why is it that we let our minds control our emotions, setting ourselves up for negativity, depression, anxiety and stress? Why not, instead, control your own mind and decide what you want in life: how you want to feel, what you want to do, where you want to go. It’s not easy. It doesn’t come natural. It takes work. But it is worth it. Oh goodness, is it worth it. Take control. Push the negativity aside, remember that you’re blessed and choose the positive mindset. You lose nothing by doing so. And you have the world to gain.

Cheers,

Nicole

PS: I would like to point out, though, that this is nowhere near the “cure” for depression. I think, for certain types of depression, this can change a person’s life and actually help them stop being depressed. But not all depression is just a trick or poisoning of the mind, like mine was. Sometimes, depression is so hard-wired in a person, it is born through a change in the chemical make-up within them. They have no control over that. If you have that type of depression, seeing someone — a psychiatrist, a therapist, a doctor — a professional, is the way to help you. Therapy, medicine or other treatments may be needed. And that’s totally okay. But I also think that trying to work on changing your own mindset, can’t hurt, either.

PPS: Also, if you need help or a reminder of how blessed and how great you truly have it, take this quiz; talk about perspective and perception:

http://thoughtcatalog.com/aleanbh-ni-chearnaigh/2015/01/what-score-would-your-life-get-right-now-a-quiz-for-perspective/