How Happy Are You With The State Of Your Life Right Now?
How happy are you with the state of your life right now? Very happy? Happy? Unhappy? Or just feeling “aight”?
I think I’m in the latter group. I had an epiphany of sorts over the weekend about my pursuit of happiness. I realized that despite the many things I have to celebrate, for some reason, I can’t say that I’m currently that happy with the state of my life right now. I’m not happy with wedding planning, with the ups and downs of work, with the mouse situation in my home (which is supposed to be my sanctuary), with my financial situation, and with some of my friends and sometimes, my family. I’m not depressed, but rather, ridiculously stressed. Maybe you can relate.
I didn’t really confront this until my pastor, after reading Phillippians 4:10-14, asked everyone a simple question: How happy are you right now? The whole sermon was to offer you the story of Paul, how he was able to be optimistic while facing what seemed like insurmountable trials, and how we can be happy where we currently are. And while I left church feeling good, feeling optimistic, I went through a series of unfortunate events as the day went on that reminded me of how unhappy I really am. From losing my brand new monthly MetroCard ($116 down the drain) and realizing I really couldn’t afford to buy another one, crying at brunch with my sister while talking about wedding planning woes, to having awakenings about the people I call my friends, it was quite the struggle. By the end of the night, after speaking with my best friend, fiancée, and mother, I realized that despite smiling and trying to be a more positive person and wanting to exude that, I don’t fill myself with that positivity.
And I think it’s because I let so much of what happens around me, or sometimes, to me, affect me. To the point that I didn’t realize I’ve been fighting just to maintain a sense of peace, albeit unsuccessfully. I put too many expectations on the people around me, and when they don’t live up to them, I’m left feeling like I’ve been deserted. I let too many people tell me what expectations they have for me and my wedding. I let people tell me years worth of work isn’t good enough despite all it took to do it and what came from it. I let the negativity on social media and the inconsequential sh-t consume my thoughts, and when people around me act like assholes, I temporarily think it’s cute to stoop to their level, only to feel bad about it later. When I make efforts while others do nothing, I’m left wondering why incessantly. What goes on around me always tends to leave me questioning and being too hard on myself. So as my mother instructed me to do, I’m going to do a better job of removing myself from negative spaces and situations. And working on filling myself with whatever it is I’m looking for from others.
So, aside from using it for work purposes, I’m taking a break from social media. When I want to be nosey about what’s going on in people’s lives, I’m going to start ignoring celebrities and instead, call and have direct interactions with my close friends and family. The people who I have been saying for months I can’t seem to find time to interact with, despite finding time at the end of the night to flip through Instagram.
I’m going to fill myself with more positive affirmations and know that whatever positive things happen to other people I should applaud, and not compare to my own position.
I’m going to focus on the things that matter instead of dwelling on the petty. Save money towards things of long-term importance instead of going broke trying to keep up with the Joneses (that includes in my wedding planning).
I’m going to concentrate on the things and people that help to make me happy. Push myself to go to my weekly yoga classes and free my mind even when I’d rather stay in the house and eat Doritos.
I’m going to a better job of identifying what I’m feeling. Whatever I’m feeling I’m going to accept, acknowledge, find out what’s causing it, and move forward instead of dwelling.
And I’m going to do a better job of doing all the things that I’ve read, both online and in the Bible, that help to bring happiness. From focusing on my relationship with God (if you don’t believe, I’m not judging you, but please don’t come for my faith please and thank you!) and my blessings (and where I could be), to giving back, working out like a fool when I’m feeling the weight of stress, getting more sleep, and more than anything, reminding myself that joy shouldn’t come from the world. I shouldn’t let the things that happen outside of me impact what goes on inside of me. If that is the case, I’ll always be at the mercy of the shenanigans of others.
Of course, this is an ongoing process, getting back to happy. And honestly, I already know it’s going to take some time. But I feel like this is what I’m meant to do this year. Because it’s important for me to be able to confidently say that I am happy, and know the smile on my face is as real as the happiness I’m feeling within. Until then…