Growing up I thought life would just get better. I was always told better days are still to come, but that’s because I learned with time that I am in control of my happiness. I learned how to live.
I learned how to express gratitude. I learned that once you start appreciating things for the way they are that the world seemingly get better. Once you stop trying to change the way things are and trying to control the outcome you can breathe easier and sleep more soundly. Being grateful means you will find more good in the world because if you’re not grateful you’ll never be happy with anything.
I learned to stop expecting things. I learned to show up with a blank mind and just take things and accept things for the way they are. I learned to accept instead of judge. I learned once my expectations were gone that there would be nothing for me to be disappointed by.
I learned how to be vulnerable. Before I accepted being vulnerable as a strength I thought negatively about it. I associated it with weakness, but I was so wrong. Once you allow yourself to be vulnerable and express your feelings with the world it opens up a whole other door to life. It lets you be at peace with yourself and your feelings. It allows you to connect to others on a deeper level and it allows you to not only find yourself, but also accept who you are as a person.
I learned how to be optimistic about everything, even my failures. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes being positive is insanely difficult, but even if you can’t be positive in the moment try to think about it later. Think about how you will feel about the situation in the future, think about how little it will really matter. Try to let go of the things you can’t control and only focus on the things you can control. Try to see the best in everything and look for the lesson in the situation.
I learned how to accept constructive criticism. Instead of letting it destroy me inside for not being good enough, I learned how to take criticism and use it to better myself. Sometimes it’s still something I struggle with, sometimes I get mad and want to curse out the person for calling me out, but I’ve learned that if someone is willing to give you feedback, good or bad, that you have to be thankful. Be thankful because most people don’t care enough about you to reach out to help you.
I learned to let go of over thinking. I learned to stop worrying about what others think of me and just be myself. I learned those who love me will love me for me, not someone I try to be. I learned it’s nothing but a waste of time to build up endless worry inside your head.
I learned how to give without expecting anything in return. I used to love taking, if something was free I thought I needed it. I wanted as much as I could have, but once I had it nothing changed. I didn’t feel happier or more satisfied now that I had this new possession. I learned over the years that taking isn’t fulfilling, but giving it. Giving is so much greater than receiving. I learned that the more you can give to others the more satisfied you feel in return.
I learned that nurturing relationships is insanely important. I learned that the amount of friends you have doesn’t matter if the relationships are shallow and meaningless. You need relationships that inspire you and motivate you, relationships that challenge you and push you to be better. You need depth and meaning to these relationships because these relationships and conversations are going to be the things that ultimately bring you joy and happiness, and they will be the things that make you feel less alone when the world gets hard.
I learned that your mindset and reactions are everything. If you start with a negative mindset there is no way you will enjoy yourself or your life. Also if you react to things that don’t go your way in a negative manner then you will never be happy. When you can’t change the outcome change your mindset because it’s the only thing you have control over and it’s the only thing that will make the little things remain little.
I learned to forgive and let go. I learned that not everyone has the same heart and mindset as me and that’s okay. I learned forgiveness is the greatest thing you can do for your mind because holding grudges only makes you angry and bitter. It takes a toll on your body and it ultimately hurts you. Letting go of those people who hurt you and the anger inside you will let go of all the toxic thoughts as well, which will ultimately make you feel happy and free.
I learned how to define my own happiness. I learned how to find a balance in my life that makes me happy. I learned through trial and error, through being closed minded and closed hearted to having an open mind and open heart. I learned through experiences and stories. I learned through broken promises and disappointments. I learned and learned, and I’m still learning. Life teaches you something new every day, as long as you’re open to learning the lessons will never stop and those lessons are what teaches you how to achieve happiness.