Everything you need to know is going to be in this very first paragraph. Enjoy your life. Not because life is short. Not because you’re supposed to. Not because your religion, a book, or any motivational speaker tells you. Enjoy your life because you are worthy of being happy.
If you’re interested in why we might not enjoy our life or how we can, then keep reading. Otherwise, you’ve got the most important piece of this puzzle: you are worthy of living a life you enjoy.
It’s no secret that I have struggled in my life, even though I’m only 23 at this moment. I’ve gone through a lot. Lots of obstacles. Lots of pain. All that jazz. But my biggest struggle, or one them I guess, came when the majority of my stress was one. When I was in financially safe place, an emotionally stable place, a place with only one or two major stressors here and there, I was not happy. I finally wasn’t depressed. I finally had my anxiety at least under control. I finally had outlets. I finally overcame my eating disorder and was well on my way to loving my body and my mind. But I was miserable. And this was only like a year ago.
Everything looked really good. On paper.
So why was I so miserable?
I could tell you ten million and one reasons why I was so unhappy but that’s not me being honest. That’s me writing more. If I’m honest, it boils down to three things:
My inability to accept that I was worthy of happiness.
My love of pity parties.
And my self-sabotaging behaviors.
Whew, that’s a lot to unpack, isn’t it? First, I want you to be open with yourself. No one else is in your head with you here so we can establish that this is a safe and honest space. If we are not honest with ourselves, there’s not much of a point to spending hours trying to change ourselves. Why? While exposure to various sorts of advice is good, not being honest with yourself means you’re working hard for nothing.
Me being honest with myself looks like this. I say that I love a good pity party. I like to wallow. Do you? Honestly. I like pity parties and I happen to think a lot of people do.
Why do I like throwing myself a pity party though?
A couple reasons. Some make sense, some are just me speculating on myself. One, it means I don’t have to do anything. At all. If I’m throwing myself a pity party, it means that I am not working towards a solution. I am not putting in the extra work and effort that might change the situation.
For instance, let’s say something goes wrong during the day. Internet goes down, I’m late to post my homework or something. By whining, moping, and throwing myself a pity party, I know that I’m just letting myself throw my day away. I’m plopping myself down, criss-cross applesauce in my problem and refusing to do anything. Instead of throwing that pity party and moping around all day, a better solution is to sit and breathe. Meditate for five minutes. Calm myself down. Center myself. Explain to myself that it’s fine, it will resolve. Find a solution.
If it’s out of my hands, it’s out of my hands. But there is always something I can do to make myself feel better about the situation. Maybe it means working ahead and getting next week’s homework ready. Maybe it means going for a run. Or something. But a little extra work and effort to keep myself from attending a pity party is pretty important.
All right, I self-sabotage. For a very, very long time I subscribed to the idea that I cannot be happy. I took a lot of strange coincidences, turned them into some weird pattern, and said, “I cannot be happy without something bad happening”.
I cannot emphasize this enough. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Under no circumstances is this the way the universe works. Something that helped me a ton was realizing I am not significant enough in the grand scheme of things to have something out there create a bad event just because I got happy for a moment. I am just not important enough.
This really did help, even though it sounds cynical.
The other thing that helped was getting to a different point in my understand of existentialism. I had an existential crisis in high school. You know the, “everything ends, we all die, nothing matters” kind of crisis. But then recently, I looked into existential theory some more and had a light bulb moment.
Yep, everything ends nothing matters but since nothing matters I am free to do as I want. This doesn’t mean do drugs, drive crazy, and sky dive. But it means, I can enjoy my life in whatever manner I choose. I am free to like what I like. It was a liberating moment for me. I suddenly realized there was a whole world of options and decisions and choices out there.
That opened me up to understanding I could be happy.
I could be happy and nothing bad would happen because it isn’t one and then the other. I will always be able to find the bad inside the good. Every day I make a conscious decision to overlook if there’s a little bump in the road. I won’t get upset if I sleep a little too long, or can’t lift the same weights, or run a little slower. It doesn’t matter because I’m choosing my own joy.
Last one. I didn’t seem to think I was worthy of enjoying my life. I have some reasons as to why that might be so, but that’s not important. They won’t be the same as yours. All I’ll say is that I really didn’t think I was worthy of living a happy life.
I thought that you had to be better, be stronger, have more money to be allowed happiness.
It’s not a commodity. It won’t run out. I’m not sharing my happiness with others. Other’s happiness doesn’t take away from mine (a different blog post, upcoming). I’m allowed to be happy. That’s fine. It’s my life and I want to enjoy it.
If that means dancing on the dance floor even though my arm jiggles or I don’t dance right, that’s what it means. If it means running in shorts and a sports bra because it’s hot, that’s what it means. My happiness doesn’t have to rely on other’s opinions. My happiness is my own and I am worthy of it.
In my mindfulness practice, I focus on this a lot. At least daily I tell myself that I am worthy of being happy. This is the most important piece. If we can acknowledge that we do deserve happiness, a lot of things start changing. We make different decisions. We see our reflection differently. We start finding happiness.
If you take one thing away today, steal that. Teach yourself that you deserve happiness.
You are worthy of enjoying your life.