Because sometimes happiness is staying in with a gluten-free pizza pie and Netflix. Like Netflix and chill but literally. So here’s the final segment of my series on life lessons. In case you missed it, check out parts one, two and three. Otherwise, enjoy. Thank you!
Most people search for happiness outside of themselves. I know I did and admittedly, sometimes I still do. But that’s a mistake. And I’m trying to stop.
Because happiness is something that you are. It comes from the way you think —not what you have or even who you have.
It’s all about our insides. Except, it’s harder than you might think to break these patterns.
Maybe you want to be happy but you keep waking up doing the same things that continuously make you miserable? Like I said, sometimes, I still do. So I understand the disconnect.
The thing is, if we have time to feel like shit, complain and sift endlessly through notifications and newsfeeds, then we have time to meditate, journal, and do something about it. For the record, journaling doesn’t have to be writing a sappy love song to the one who got away. It can be as simple as jotting down a list of short and long-term goals you hope to achieve. But normally, we just do what we’re used to doing and the cycle goes on.
I get it. Change of any kind —even if it’s as simple as updating your morning routine can be hard to implement. Maybe you’re just too tired to wake up and do the things you said you’d do the night before. Because it takes motivation to push past those emotional or even physical obstacles in order to keep going. In order to change. I’m literally talking to myself, guys. Because I hate change. It’s just lately, I’m finding myself a little sadder than I’d like to admit. Because even though, I’m “recovered” —I still have my shit.
It’s like, I want to get out. I want to do fun shit. But sometimes I simply can’t.
And I have to stop beating myself up for not being the girl I used to be. Because like I’ve said in other posts, that’s a good thing. It’s just, on top of my P.T.S.D. and other mental health shit, I’ve also been dealing with some physical health issues (as most of you know). And because of all that, I don’t have the energy I’m used to having. Some days, I don’t even feel like myself anymore. And that makes me sad. I find myself getting annoyed or pissed off at some really trivial shit. Shit that doesn’t even matter.
I can be irritable, sensitive and overly defensive. Sometimes, I feel useless. I mean, I also have clinical depression. So yeah, I have bouts of hysterical sadness —mostly for no reason. But I have to remember that a majority of the shit I’m upset about is out of my control. What I need to do is start focusing only on the things I can. I need to let go a little. Because perfection is a lie and we’re allowed to make mistakes. If things don’t go according to plan, that’s OK. You’re not supposed to be Positive Polly 24.7.
Everyone has something (what’s yours?). On the other hand, I know I apologize way too much. I find myself saying sorry when there’s reason to be sorry, which I recently learned is actually a symptom of my anxiety disorder. It’s like I know why I do certain things but I can’t stop doing them. I’m trying though. I’m also trying to live in the moment more. Because if you’re waiting for that perfect moment, you’re going to be waiting a very long time. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t exist.
So if you’re telling yourself, “I’ll be happy when —I lose 10 pounds, get a promotion, get engaged, blah blah blah.” You will, in fact, never be happy. I know I won’t be happy when that shit happens because I’ll just be waiting for that next something else. Something better or so I thought. Because there’s no such thing as enough. And that’s just life. What we should be thinking about instead is the importance of those small everyday moments —people, places, and things that make us smile and feel good.
Because it’s not about the “big ones” where you think, “Oh yeah. I have arrived.”
Because when you do “arrive,” guess what? You will find a whole new bag of challenges you didn’t even know existed. Because happiness comes from appreciating our small “big moments” that take place daily. Because, like me, if you’re constantly rushing through your every day, you’re going to fail to enjoy your right now. Because yeah, I’m not always savoring the moment as much as I should. I’m either worrying about what comes next or dwelling on something that already took place —neither of which I can change.
And on those days when everything hurts, I certainly will not be as productive as I’d like to be. You know what though? That’s OK too. Because there are other times when I feel great and get shit done. There are moments when I have the motivation to complete everything on my to-do list. And if I don’t get to it all, I’m trying to remember there’s always tomorrow —and another tomorrow after that. So with all of that in mind, here are my last seven life lessons I think you should know.
Because you will never change your life until you change something you do every day.
16. I suggest you start by creating and sticking to a healthy morning routine.
Even if you aren’t a self-proclaimed “morning person,” building a solid AM routine can set the tone for your entire day. If right now your “routine” includes struggling with the snooze button for 30 minutes, followed by chugging coffee as you simultaneously blow dry your hair while responding to your email, you might be ready to switch things up. I know. I know. Most of the time, I’m genuinely tired. My bed is almost too comfortable and I literally can’t get up.
Except, I bet if you start creating and sticking to a healthy morning routine, like me, you will feel that much more energized and rather positive about the day ahead. Because not having a good morning and having a bad day are certainly connected. So try to slow down. Think of what you want to accomplish and then write it down, which is where journaling comes in. Personally, I like to wake up early. I like to have some alone time where the house is quiet and it’s just me.
Well, me and some coffee because I definitely make some as soon as I get out of bed.
But then, weather permitting, I’ll sit outside and meditate while I sup my favorite cup of joe —focusing on what I want to do and what I need to do. Then, I get my fitness on. I swear working out is what keeps me sane. Not only does it help my body physically because movement of any kind is a really good thing but there’s something about it that clears my head mentally. It’s like a reset. I walk into the garage (where my home gym is) maybe cranky, tired and unmotivated. But I always leave happy, awake and ready to tackle the challenges of a busy day.
Once I’m done in there, I normally enjoy a nice shower. As most of you know, that’s my happy place. And finally, I’ll eat some breakfast (or at least that’s what I’m trying to do). Because how are you supposed to accomplish all that shit on your list if you have no energy or fuel? Truth is, you probably won’t. It’s hard to focus when you have nothing in you. So even if you have to force feed some fruit (oatmeal is best), do it. It will help you be that much more productive.
The thing is, action breeds motivation, not the other way around. You’re not going to accomplish anything by simply wanting to change. You have to actually do it. At the same time, don’t try to correct your diet, lifestyle, or schedule completely overnight. That’s not practical and is completely overwhelming. Instead, pick one thing you want to improve on and go from there. You could start by walking around your neighborhood every morning for 15 minutes? Maybe you prefer meditation followed by some breakfast?
Or perhaps, you want to wake up early enough so you can make it to that yoga class across town. Better yet —have the yoga class come to you. Meaning, work out at home like I do. All I’m saying is to make one small change and focus on that. Then, build from there. Regardless of what you choose to do, when you’re having one of those days —like when everything hurts and you just can’t —don’t beat yourself up. Because that’s not going to make you more productive. In fact, it will hinder your motivation to stick to this healthy routine. Because not every day is a win and we will fall short from time to time.
So stop guilt tripping yourself if and when that happens.
17. And While You’re At It, Stop Apologizing For Things You Don’t Need to be Sorry About.
I’ve spent most of my life apologizing —or at least that’s how it feels. But for what? Why? I’m saying sorry for things that don’t need to be apologized for. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for how I feel. I’m sorry that I don’t like you. I’m sorry that I don’t like what you like. I’m sorry I disagree. I’m just sorry. But why should I say sorry? I feel how I feel and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m sorry that it makes so and so feel a certain type of way but why should I apologize for being me?
I think most of us do this to make the other person feel better or more likely, we do it to make ourselves feel better. Like we owe that person something and it’s the end of the world if I don’t agree with everything they say or think or do. So, I’ve decided to stop —or at least I’m trying too. I mean, if I hurt someone or when I’m wrong, I’ll admit it and apologize. But if I feel a certain way about something, or don’t like something, I’m not going to pretend I do.
18. Plus, It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It.
I recently saw a stellar review of Aziz Ansari’s new book, Modern Romance and a big part of society’s disconnect, according to his research, boils down to how we say shit in person or even what we’re trying to convey via text or email. Because things can get lost in translation. Meaning, you may have something good to say, but if you can’t articulate it, chances are —you won’t get the response you wanted. So remember: what you’re saying is important but it’s all about the delivery.
19. And Since We’re Talking About Communication, Call Your Family Back.
I’m working on this too. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like talking —especially on the phone. I’m doing the same shit I did yesterday. There’s nothing new to report so what’s the point? I think it’s a generational thing because most people my age prefer to text and avoid phone calls like the plague. I get it. I do and feel that way too. At the same time though, it only takes a few minutes to check in to see how they’re doing. A quick phone call may be like nothing to you but I bet if you shared just a tiny part of your day with them, it would make their freaking week.
So take a few minutes once or twice a week and share the small victories with them. Trust me, it’s what they live for. We are so busy growing up that we forget they are getting old. One day they won’t be here and you will wish you did. I also understand that sometimes our family can be our biggest trigger —so when you guys talk, be honest. They want to be there for you. I bet if they knew something they were doing was, in fact, hurting you, they’d stop.
20. So Yeah, We Need To Learn Our Triggers.
We need to stop being overly defensive when we are triggered. Because it’s going to happen. And for the record, I’m talking to myself, people. Because I too deal with this shit. Because being triggered isn’t fun but they will creep up on you. And unfortunately, these triggers can take hold if you don’t learn to identify what they are. Because once you figure out what triggers you, you can actively work to either avoid them or work through them. Don’t let them work you.
21. Oh, And Please Stop Waiting for the “Perfect” Moment —Enjoy Life Right Now.
Open the good wine, use the nice sheets and burn the expensive candle. Stop waiting for the “perfect” moment and enjoy life now. It really is as simple as that. Additionally, I think we need to stop trying to impress everyone we know by posting the most glamorous picture of ourselves on vacation to all of our social media friends. I mean, if we weren’t so busy doing that, we’d be able to live in the moment more. Because when we’re trying to capture that perfect moment, we’re taking away from actually enjoying it.
22. Above All, Keep Going. It Will Get Better.
Just look at me. I had years and years of torment. I was absolutely miserable and I saw no way out. I thought I’d feel that way for the rest of my life. I see now that I was wrong. Because everything is temporary —especially our pain. We just have to hold on long enough to get to the other side. Because there’s always something to look forward too. We may just have to take a step back and look at our situation with different eyes. I mean, anyone can give up. It’s the easiest thing in the world to do.
But to hold on when everything is falling apart —well, that’s true strength. And as cliche as this sounds, you’re stronger than you think. You’re braver too. And for the record, you’re not weak for being tired. Give yourself permission to take a nap. Like if you’re having one of those days then do as I said in the beginning —order some gluten-free pizza and lay in bed with your favorite Netflix guilty pleasure and chill. Whatever you do, don’t feel bad about it. Life is all about balance anyway.
I think once we show ourselves some compassion, everything else will fall into place. As long as you’re trying. As long as you want to do better, you’re on the right path. Because we will mess up. That’s pretty much guaranteed. The trick is too not let those mistakes hold us back. So start every morning with something positive. Let happiness be your guide. Stop doing things for everybody else and definitely stop apologizing for things you don’t need to be sorry about. And even though life is short and nothing is guaranteed, a clean slate is.
Because life offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow.