Will awaken the noise
That lives within me
I will see the love
In living a life
Without you in it
There were a lot of moments, especially early on, where all I could think about was the “after”.
After I finally chose to leave.
After he stops contacting me.
After he stops watching me.
After he gets a new victim.
After I stop crying myself to sleep every night.
After it doesn’t hurt to see him.
After I can talk about him and our “relationship” without shame or heartbreak.
After one of us leaves the island.
After he gets what’s coming to him.
After I’m happy again.
After I’m over it.
After I fall in love with someone new.
I spent a lot of time wishing and praying for the “after” to get here. If only this one thing would happen, my life would get just a little better.
But then I realized something.
When it comes to your life, there are aspects of it where other people are actually quite irrelevant. One of these aspects is your happiness.
That may seem selfish at first, but allow me to explain.
I cannot thrive if all of my focus is on others. Of course, a large part of it should be, and still is. But when it comes down to it….unless I am happy, I am confident, I know who I am…how will I help anyone else?
Self awareness is a powerful thing often forgotten by people. Maybe it’s because we’re lazy or we tend to think our way is the best way. But until you can genuinely look at yourself from an unbiased perspective and really see your flaws, short comings, strong points and positives, you won’t be in a place to help anyone else anyway.
I had to learn to focus on me. To fix me. To make my own happiness, because Lord knows how long waiting on any one of those things I listed earlier could take.
I took a step back and looked at myself: who I was, who I am, and who I wanted to be. I had a very in-depth talk with a friend of mine about psychology and variables that make us the way we are. Had any one thing at any point in my life happened differently, I wouldn’t be where, or who, I am today. The butterfly effect of an event from 10 years ago going slightly differently could’ve changed my entire reaction to this situation, or caused the situation not to happen at all. This was also a turning point for me in regard to my view of difficulties, which inspired my post “Here’s to Hardship”. Every little thing- birthdays, lunch on a random Tuesday, meeting strangers, traffic jams -have an effect on us later, whether that be changing our mood which effects our future reactions or events we respond to in the moment. Every little thing makes us who we are. Every little thing happens for a reason.
Isn’t that amazing? All those little moments from all those years made me and you. They shaped my ability to rebound from difficulties, my stubbornness, my helping heart, my sometimes short temper, and my open mind. Good and bad, I am made from my experiences and reactions.
So if we are made from our experiences and reactions…why not make them good?
This is where my prior statement comes in- when it comes to your happiness, other people are largely irrelevant.
You will always have setbacks. You will always have someone, somewhere, pushing against you. You will always have moments of doubt here and there. Those things won’t change.
But you can.
This is when I realized I didn’t have to wait for the “after”. I can make my own after. It doesn’t matter what he does, because I have control over what I do. And I can choose to be happy regardless of what new way he’s decided to try to screw with my life. I’ve overcome worse, and I will continue to- because all of these little moments will shape me too, and I didn’t get this far just to fail now. If I choose it, I can become strong from something that could break someone else. I can find beauty in pain. I can grow from something meant to kill. It’s all up to me, and always has been.
So I chose to be happy.
Those of you who know me may have noticed my new “catchphrase”, if you will.
“Live your best life.”
I know, it’s cheesy. But think about it. Why shouldn’t you live your best life? What’s stopping you? Embrace your flaws and work on fixing them. Embrace your strengths and thank God for them. Take a while to think about what you really want out of your life and go get it. As long as its not hurting anyone or illegal, why shouldn’t you do what makes you happy? Because you’re worried what people will think? Because you’re afraid? Because you think you can’t?
I’ll be the first to tell you: worrying what people will think is the biggest hindrance to real happiness. I’ll give you an example from my life.
I have an active life and an active job. I love the gym. I’ve always been thin, and I do like myself that way, but I want to see what I’m capable of and I want to push myself to my limits. I want to see how much I can lift. I want to see if I could place in a meet. I want to be able to do any physical challenge at any time and smile knowing I could beat it. But here’s where other people come in.
There will always be people against what you choose to do, or who criticize you for changing. “You’re so skinny”, “You work out too much, do you want to look like a man?”, “If you turned sideways you’d disappear!”, “Muscles are so unattractive on girls”, “Real girls have curves”. Take your pick, I’ve heard it all.
There will also be people FOR what you’re doing. I get just as many, if not more, positive comments as I do negative. It’s up to YOU to decide which ones you listen to more. This is why other people are irrelevant to your own personal happiness, and why it’s important for you to be confident in what you want before the comments come pouring in- because they will.
Once you know what you want and what “living your best life” means to you, stay the course. Don’t stop until you’ve made all the improvements you needed to make and have accomplished what you wanted to accomplish, and then do more.
Your mind is your greatest weakness and your greatest strength. Once you learn how to use it, the “after’s” won’t matter anymore because you’ll be happy without them.
I can honestly say that I’m happier now than I was before I even met my soon-to-be-ex-husband. Happier with myself, life, work, the gym, everything. It’s all a mental shift. Conquer that, and there’s nothing standing between you and your best life. No “afters”. No negativity. Just you. Confident, happy, motivated, you.
Happiness is one of the few things in life you do have control over. Sure, there will be times you’re down and depressed. It’s life, it happens. But it’s up to you whether you stay there or get back up. Give yourself time to be upset- those are very real, very deep feelings that need to be felt to truly heal- but don’t stay there. Pull yourself up and find the silver linings. Find the things you can control and change them.
Make your happiness.
Make your after.