Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, when I’m in my manic state it’s a snap, I’m pretty much happy with most things, I can find that silver lining, I’m inspired by the warmth of the sun, with the smell of the new rain, and the rose blooming. The laughter of a baby just about puts me over the top.
However, on the flip side of the coin, when my brain does this sneaky little chemistry thing on me and starts nagging me with self-destructive thoughts and creates those doubts in my mind about my confidence and my self-esteem. To tell the truth, it’s a struggle.
What can we, who suffer from these “invisible enemies” of the mind and soul such as bipolar depression or fibromyalgia or any other illness that gives us pain every day do to overcome these self-defeating behaviors and thoughts? It’s not easy.
Throughout the years I’ve discovered that keeping a journal is one of my best outlets of these thoughts, sometimes you don’t really want to burden your friends and family with all these dark thoughts, but writing can purge your system. Get it out, say anything you want. Yell, scream, cry. Yes, cry, cry as much as you want. It’s not weak to cry, crying means you are strong enough to realize you have something that needs releasing, you need to get it out of your mind so you can move forward.
Now switch gears, don’t write anything negative, only positive things about yourself, your life, your surroundings. Write about what you are grateful for. I know at those darkest times, it may seem like there is nothing, but you know deep down, there is at least one thing you can think of that one person, that one memory that lingers that makes you smile, that grandbaby that depends on you to be there. That beautiful sunrise to look forward to. Write about what you have achieved in your life, what you have accomplished, what you love about your life. Writing every day reminds you of what’s important brings clarity and awareness that you may not have seen originally in the day. Find the evidence that the Universe is indeed answering your requests.
I’m going to tell you a little story about a strange thing that happened to me during one of my darkest periods. I was newly divorced, going through a custody battle for my daughters, then four and six years old. I had no job, I had just gotten laid off the day I bought my house.For almost three years I couldn’t find a job. I didn’t get alimony, I had no money. Literally, I lived off $500 a month child support. I was devastated. I tried so hard to keep it together, to control what was happening in my life, to be the perfect Mom to keep the environment for my children the way I thought it should be. I struggled. I was alone. 3,000 miles from family and I thought I had no friends. I was at my absolute lowest. I joined a dying church of twenty-nine members, I was the only divorced person in the church and the youngest. Needless to say, not quite the most popular or accepted person in the church. I decided to give up my needs and desires. I said, “Lord, I’m yours, no more, I can’t do this on my own, but I really need a hug”. I’m not a religious woman. But, I do know that was my first time that I stopped trying to control my own destiny.
Guess what? I went to church that Sunday, sat alone in the pew like I always did, and thought about if I was heard. Then it happened – someone actually hugged me! I was shocked! I looked around to see who had done this, who it was, no one was there. I had actually felt the warm, snug feeling of a hug with no one around. I started crying. Talk about a wake up call. I then found groceries on my front porch at random times, exactly when I needed them. The federal cheese truck came in town, just when I needed it. You can’t believe how things manifested for me. Shortly later, I qualified for a free grant to learn how to drive a tractor-trailer, I was the first woman to get this grant and became one of the first women to drive tractor-trailers. From then things just picked up and got better.
Now, I know this story may sound a little far-fetched to some, but it’s my story. and it’s my life and it did happen to me. I’ve decided I don’t care what other people think! It doesn’t bother me, that event impacted my life. It changed how I approach my life, I don’t try to control everything now.
You must decide to accept yourself as you are and if you are not happy with that, decide to grow, to learn and to take those steps to move forward. Decide to ignore what others may think about you or think about your opinions or experiences. It’s not their life! It doesn’t matter. In the grand scheme of things, you are the only one it matters to, you count, what you believe counts.
Decide to remove negative aspects from your life, if after you journal you see that you are including or talking about toxic people or toxic situations. It’s time to do something about it. Remove yourself from these people. Learn to say “no“.
You just need to stop getting in your own way. Stop trying to control your destiny with self-defeating thoughts and instead, discover your happiness. Find the beauty in your life, find what is giving you peace at that moment. Happiness can be as easy or difficult a journey as you make it. Don’t make it hard, it doesn’t have to be. I am at an age now where peace and contentment are foremost in my thoughts. I do have my struggles, but I don’t live in them. Recognize your struggles, your weaknesses, by becoming aware of what is holding you back now so it won’t have that control anymore. You will be able to move forward and beyond, to recognize that you can let go and let the day happen as it should, not as you may have expected it might.
Have you noticed that often times our expectations are often the things that make us the most unhappy because they don’t happen? I’ve learned to appreciate what I have today and not have expectations of people or of the future. Don’t get me wrong, I love to plan my vacations and I plan my retirement. But expecting it to be a certain way? Let’s say, I’m flexible and keeping my options open has always been my motto. Life is full of surprises and if I’m not flexible enough or willing enough to give up those “expectations” of what I want, then I may just miss out something much better. And I have had some really wonderful unexpected diversions on those vacations.
Just saying this makes me smile, makes me happy. I am really looking forward to seeing what’s in store. I hope you can start discovering your happiness too.
© 2016 Candace L Stauber Photography