I’m just gonna say it – the last half of 2015 sucked. I can say with confidence that 2015 was probably the toughest year of my life so far. Emotionally, it was so draining. I let myself get lost in toxic behavior, people and things. I felt unbeautiful. I felt worthless. I disliked myself so much because I was so lost. I didn’t know who I was. I had this vision of who I wanted to be, but I didn’t believe in myself enough to even attempt to get there. There were so many things I hated about my life, and I had no idea what to do to even begin to try to change those things. I let people manipulate and lie to me, and the amount of self-doubt I felt is almost unfathomable to me now. And the saddest part? I thought I deserved it.
When I look at the person I was during the last six months of 2015 and the person I am now, the change is so uncanny. I spent most of last year crying myself to sleep because of the self-loathing I felt and thought I deserved. The truth is, no one deserves that. No deserves to hate themselves to much that they don’t even want to look at themselves. No one deserves to feel like they have no one to turn to. No one deserves to feel like they’re second best to anyone, especially not to themselves.
After spending such a long time in that negative state of mind, I made the choice to start out 2016 in the best way I could. I decided that this year would be my year to feel proud of myself, to surround myself with people who love and believe in me and to also just love myself. It’s incredible to me that by just making that decision and telling myself that that was going to happen no matter what, changed everything for me. I’m usually not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I made a promise to myself that never again would I allow a person to steal from me the happiness that I deserve to feel all the time.
This year, I decided that I wanted to focus on my writing and start building my writing portfolio. Not only have I made contacts with the local tourist bureau and a local magazine, I also have opportunities to do some local freelance writing. My blog was even mentioned in the Sunday paper. Beyond that, I’m in the works with the tourist bureau to do a project with them for National Travel and Tourism Week. All of these opportunities happened because I had the courage to change my mindset, and with every lunch meeting, email and conference call, I become more confident about my writing. I’ve allowed it to become part of my identity that I’m willing to share with those around me. The old me was apprehensive about telling people that I blog, but now that I do, people accept that part of me and some even encourage it. There are few things in life that make me happier than someone telling me how they’ve read my blog and how it resonated with them. Just the other day at lunch, one of my co-workers told me she read my blog post about growing up in the military and that she had a similar upbringing. She said I was able to put into words what she’s always been trying to explain to people, and I wanted to cry because I was so touched.
When I look at the transformation from the person I was during the last half of last year and the person I am now, I’m honestly proud. I’m finally in a place where I can legitimately say that I’m happy most of the time, and it all started with a simple decision to change my mindset and just be happy. I understand that happiness will always be a journey, and I’ll always be in pursuit of it, but it’s a great feeling to know that the false happiness I thought I felt last year is nothing in comparison to the true happiness I feel now.
If you’re in a place similar to where I was last year, I want to encourage you to try to change your mindset and truly go on a journey in pursuit of happiness. It’s amazing how just making your mind up about something can turn a desire into a reality.
What’s something that brings you happiness?