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Happiness is a choice. I have spent the last three years of my life learning this harsh lesson.
Today's generations have learned the damaging behavior of relying on circumstantial happiness. This means that our happiness is limited. It has boundaries and rules and a period at the end instead of a comma. Because we believe happiness always has to come to an end.
It's the number one goal people have for their lives and their loved ones. The number one thing people say they want to look back at the end of their lives and see.
Then why is it so hard to accomplish?
Someone, somewhere has looked at you when you were having a rough time and has said, "I'm so sorry. You must be so sad," or they have told you that things will get better once your struggles go away. In the long run, we have convinced ourselves (with other people's help), that we are only allowed to be happy when things are going good or when everyone around you is happy.
This is a bold-faced lie.
I believed it too, subconsciously. Then when I spent my nights crying, drunk and all alone. I wondered why I just couldn't be happy. The answer is harsh. The answer is one that no one wants to hear it. It contains responsibility, and a truth that's much too hard to accept, for most. The truth is: I chose to be sad.
I decided that if I was in financial stress, I couldn't be happy. If a loved one was sick, there was no room for happiness. If I was broken up with, there was NO WAY I could be happy. But the secondary thoughts that came along with this theory were the most damaging. If I wasn't happy, I wasn't doing good enough.
I wanted a change. I wanted to feel good enough. So I started therapy. I explained my hardships to this man that was dressed up in a fancy suit, and I could tell he was analyzing me as soon as I walked in the door. I automatically decided I wasn't trusting his opinions. I told him, matter-of-fact, that there was "No way I could be happy with my life."
He simply asked me why.
Frustrated and confused, I answered him.
"Because all these bad things are happening In my life. I know it will never be easy, and that other people have a harder life than me, but I definitely didn't think it would be this hard."
What he said next is what started me on the best journey I've ever been on. The journey to love myself. To love my life. No matter what it looked like.
He said, "What if you didn't think of it as bad?"
Our session ended, and I walked out of that building with a curious mind.
Then it clicked. What he said made me aware that I'm in control of my thoughts. I'm in control of how I feel. Not always, as we are human and have natural feelings. But the things I convinced myself were bad and negative and had no good in them could affect my life differently than they had been for all these years. It's not always about finding the good in situations (although I believe that's a helpful practice), but simply accepting things as they are is the first step to loving the life you have, no matter what it looks like.
For example; If you get fired from your job, choose to see it as a positive thing. Sounds crazy, right? Well, there just must be a better opportunity out there for you. People may see you as crazy, as they usually will when someone isn't siding with the majority (in this case, the majority of negative thinking). But what they think does not concern you or your happiness. You are the only one in charge of it and responsible for it. Everything is happening for a reason. This is possible to see in every single situation, only if you allow yourself.
Take a moment, look at your life. Look at the bills, your less-than-perfect kids, your messy marriage or relationship, the issues you have lingering from your past, your job, your losses, the stresses of your day, and decide that they are okay. Just as they are. Maybe you hope they improve someday, but here, in this moment, they are okay.
This is what you have. Some of it you can't change. Lay it all out in front of you and see each thing as beautiful, one by one. Even if it's a struggle, it's part of YOUR journey. No one gets to live your beautiful life, other than you. Train your mind to think this way and you will slowly gain confidence in yourself, and trust yourself to handle each situation with grace and peace. Life changes from an everyday battle, to a day that you were allowed to wake up again. From a burden, to a blessing. From a nightmare, to a story.
Choose happiness, and everything will become a little more beautiful. 🦋