My husband always tells me the first impression I made on him that really stood out as different from other women... I was happy.
Sure, I know what you're probably thinking. Yeah, right. That's the FIRST thing? I'm not saying it was the first thing he noticed....we all know what visual beings men are. I'm saying it was the first impression.
The first time he told me that he could tell I was happy, I was completely confused. How could he possibly have seen that in me when I didn't see that in myself?
I think back to that time in my life and I was such a hot mess. I was in a job I'd been at for a decade and a half, living paycheck to paycheck. I lived alone and felt unfulfilled. I'd chosen bad relationships with the wrong men. In my mind I didn't feel happy.
What I know now is that I felt unsettled. I felt insecure. I felt restless. I had a little voice in my head telling me every day that I wasn't living up to my full potential. What I know now is just because my life wasn't anywhere near where I thought it would be at 31 years old...didn't make me an unhappy person. I'd always been optimistic. I just saw no way out of my current situation. I hadn't yet learned to get out of my own way.
One thing that helped me change my life was taking responsibility for my life. I quit blaming others for my current situation, which is the easy way out. We get really good at blaming others. I could have just settled for my unsettled life. I could have blamed my parents for not giving me more guidance. I could have blamed my boss for not paying me more money. I could have blamed it on my weaknesses. I could have blamed just about anyone or anything, because I THOUGHT I was doing everything I could...I was working hard.
But was I? When I look back now, I think hell no. Sure, I worked at my job. I was extremely good at it. I did what was expected of me. I felt like I didn't have any extra time in my day to change my life. I was stuck. I felt I had no control. My life was just happening to me. So. Many. Excuses. I was full of excuses back then.
One thing that had changed shortly before that day I met my husband was I had been really working on ME. I was searching for SOMETHING. I was reading more books. I was learning to focus on gratitude. I was learning ways to take control of my life. I was learning I was worthy. I was learning that if I wanted my life to change, it had to start with ME. After all, the only person we can control is ourselves. That small shift, even though I didn't know how my life could get better....BELIEVING that it could...and would, changed everything for me.
Fast forward to now.... there are days when I can just be driving down the road, by myself, and I'll smile. I smile because I'm happy. I'm very aware of my happiness today. I'm so grateful that I have the life that I do. I'm grateful that I have the amazing, loving, supportive husband that I do. I'm grateful that I get to live where I do. I'm grateful for my health. I'm grateful for my ambition. I'm grateful for my positive friends. I'm grateful I found my creative outlet. I'm grateful I get to help others. I'm grateful that I didn't settle for less.
I never take my life for granted. As a young child I was extremely unhappy. That unhappiness was true. I never felt security as a child and was anxious all the time. I had an unstable childhood, was extremely introverted, and was fearful of everything. My parents would take me to a psychiatrist as a child because they didn't know why I was so unhappy. They'd prescribe me valium, which I'd refuse to take. I knew that wasn't the answer, even at a young age.
Instead of dwelling on any of those times, today I choose to focus on gratitude. When we focus on the things we are grateful for, we cannot focus on anything negative. It also brings more and more things we want into our lives. Gratitude has been the key for me. Every morning I start my day with gratitude. I start my day with my 5 Minute Journal to make sure I focus on 3 things I'm grateful for and 3 things I'll do that day to make it great. They also have an app so I can use it on the go.
Happiness is a decision. Having a grateful heart can be the key to getting there.
Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to get what you want in life. If you want it bad enough, you'll make it work. If you don't want it bad enough, you'll make excuses.
This blog post was inspired by all that is going on in our country today with the recent election. While I refuse to get political, because honestly, I don't think there was a good choice in either candidate, I will say this... I'm disappointed at all the spewing negativity in the streets and in my newsfeed. Is that really making the world a better place?...or is that feeding the fire? I don't have time for negativity in my life anymore. Be the solution. STOP blaming others. The only person you can control is yourself. I encourage you to stop focusing on others and start focusing on yourself. What can YOU do to make the world a better place? Go do that. Stop the hate. Stop the unkind words. Stop the judgement...everyone has their own story and you might not know what that is. Help others. Lead by example. Be grateful.