To Get The Life You Want, You Have To Put In The Work

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Christian Acosta

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to someone who says their unhappy—with their job, in their marriage/relationship, with their current lifestyle, in their own body—it makes me ache. I think all of us have been there, will be there at some point. Feeling like we don’t know who we are or where we belong. Feeling lost, or frustrated, or stuck.

But the thing about happiness, I’ve learned, is that it’s largely dependent upon your mindset. If you wake up every morning dreading what you have to do, carrying the baggage from the day before, dragging your feet—you’re not going to find reasons to celebrate. You’re going to wrap yourself up in a ball of misery, and reflect that misery to the people around you—a vicious cycle.

You’re not going to see joy because you’re just not searching for it or focused on it.

Honestly, I think happiness is found when you take steps back and decide to look at what’s good, rather than what you’re lacking. You’re never going to have a moment where everything is perfect, where all the people you care for love you back completely, where you aren’t fighting with anyone, where every single aspect of your job and family and hobbies makes absolute sense and is at peace.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t still find joy in those things.

That doesn’t mean you can’t choose to celebrate the little moments, the blessings, the chaos and craziness of your existence, even if, and when, it’s a hot mess.

We complain about our lives, say they ‘suck,’ or they’re ‘hard,’ or ‘not what I imagined,’ or ‘pointless.’ And perhaps, sometimes we are justified in those things; perhaps we’ve gone through the worst of times and are struggling—that shouldn’t be discredited.

But sometimes we have to question the lens we’re using to see the world. Are we only focused on the bad, the pain, the crap? Are we giving negativity so much attention, that it has become our central and only way of thinking?

If you want to change your day-to-day, if you want to live a life that you’re proud of, that excites and inspires you, that feels good, then you have to put in the work.

You can’t sit back and expect wonderful things to fall into your lap. You can’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder, believing that the world owes you something, simply because you’re here.

You can’t demand a promotion without giving the position your all. You can’t long for a connection with another person to grow without choosing to love them, and fighting for them when things get tough. You can’t think that by wishing something into being, it will be—even happiness. You have to actively search for joy, actively focus on the positive, actively change your mindset if you want to be happy.

You have to make changes if you really want to see a difference. And those changes can only come from you.

If you’re tired of the same routine, shake it up. If you hate your job, pursue other options. If your relationship or marriage has fallen flat, see what you can do to change it, seek help, work on being a better communicator. If you’re dreading getting out of bed in the morning, explore things that inspire you and take time each day to do those things before your regular activities.

This is your life. You’re the one in control. You’re the one that can shift, or change, or mend, or rebuild it however you feel. If you’re not happy, do something about it.

The truth is, if you want something bad enough, you’ll pursue it—whether a dream, goal, person, idea, or state of being—so don’t hold yourself back anymore. Your best life is, always has been, and always will be, within reach. TC mark

Marisa Donnelly

Marisa is a writer, poet, & editor. She is the author of Somewhere On A Highway, a poetry collection on self-discovery, growth, love, loss and the challenges of becoming.

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