"Happiness is a choice" is the number one quote I live by. I have it written on my white board at work, I repeat it to myself whenever I am feeling down, and I make a solid effort to live by those words. The quote is simple, but in my opinion, it's very powerful.
Many people pour their dependency and need for happiness into their significant other. This is also true for material things, children, food-- the list could go on. However, what I see most is depending upon ones partner. I was guilty of this when I had my first real relationship a few years ago. As a result, it did nothing but tear me down. I let myself go. I let my happiness be decided by another person. One day things were perfect, the next day it was hell. I tried to always be understanding and compromise, but it was never good enough... and that is when I started to lose myself. I started to slowly transforming into someone I was not. When that relationship ended and I was on my own starting over, I realized that if I wanted to be happy, that all I had to do, was simply be.
I decided when I was 14 years old that no matter what happened in life or hardships I went through, I was always going to think positive, solve problems, find resolutions, and live as a happy person. I will never forget the day I decided to change the way I thought and saw life. I was a freshman in high school and I had recently transferred into a new school system and bullying because of my looks and weight was beginning. I was hiding behind my bed my against the wall crying because my former step-father was on one of his tangents. I was so tired of going through so much pain. Even at 14 years old, I knew that this was not was life was about. At the time, I could not control how my step-father acted nor the people at school, but I could control my mind and attitude.
A few weeks ago when I started to sink in a really bad place and become depressed, I tried immensely to tell myself over and over that happiness is a choice. I was fighting a war inside of myself -- my heart had given up and felt hopeless, yet my mind was trying to be logical and remind myself of the mantra I chose to live by. For those few weeks, my broken heart won. My aching heart broke my mind.
I resulted back into depending upon someone else for happiness. My ex and I were talking, and I was being dragged around through an entangled web of "I love you so much", "I can't live without you", "I'm not sure what I want", "I don't think this is going to work", "You're my best friend and I want to spend the rest of my life with you", "I don't want to see you right now". One second things were great... the next second things were awful. During those few weeks, the only time I felt peace and happiness were when I had hope for our relationship and being told sweet things. The second it went opposite, I was back to my world falling apart. Living through a constant roller coaster of having my emotions and heart thrown around like trash was excruciating.
The Saturday before last, I finally hit rock bottom. I had been void of happiness, positivity, and hope for nearly 3 weeks. Thursday and Friday, things were wonderful. Saturday, things were not. Saturday evening I started to cry because once again my hopes and feelings were stepped on and completely disregarded. I was so damn angry by this point, that I lost it. I was screaming; "Why God, WHY... Why am I feeling this way? Why am I so weak that I am resulting back to a relationship that I knew was never going to work? Why am I letting someone treat me so poorly and drag me around? Why cannot I pull myself out of this?"
Finally I was not just heartbroken. Finally, I was mad.
I do not know a lot about love, but I do that when someone loves you, they will do anything in their power to avoid hurting you. They will not worry about being "always right". They will NOT keep score. They will not be possessive and jealous to the point of degrading your confidence and breaking your dreams out of their own insecurities. They will be understanding, they will compromise, and you will work together as a team. If you do not have that... run like hell.
That night, I reached my breaking point. I was on my knees on my kitchen floor crying, and a million thoughts were running through my head. I could not believe this is what my life was coming too from all of my hard work this year. I could not believe I had sank into such a deep depression. I sat on my kitchen floor shaking and crying profusely, and I kept repeating to myself, "I just need to go to sleep". I reached up to one of my kitchen drawers to find Tylenol PM. I was so hopeless that I was going to swallow a bunch of them so it would knock me out and I would not feel any pain. I was shaking so bad when I grabbed the bottle, that I dropped it and the pills scattered across the floor. I stared at the pills scattered on my floor for what felt like 5 minutes.
That in itself was very sobering. I quietly said aloud to myself "I have had enough. I am not living this way anymore." I am not going to dismantle all of my hard work. I cannot give up on my dreams. I cannot have someone who does not love me be my dependency for happiness. I picked up the pills, put them in the bottle, and then put the bottle back in the drawer. I took and shower and went to bed. It was about 7:30 PM on a Saturday night, but I had exhausted myself to the point that as soon as my head hit the pillow, I fell asleep.
Sunday morning when I woke up, I thought "Today is the day I am changing my life and I am going back to the woman I know I am". A woman who is working hard to be independently successful, who would never let a person treat her so poorly, a woman who knows her worth, and a woman who always thinks and lives with a positive and optimistic outlook.
That day I went to my favorite mountain and hiked 7 miles. I prayed and got lost in my music the entire time. It was a strong hike and the sun shining on me provided an immense comfort. When I came back home, I took a shower, did my hair and makeup, then went to my favorite church. It was the first time I had been there in a year and a half. After church, I went to a movie. The next day-- that Monday, I was off of work and spent the day reading and sunning by the pool.
I pushed myself. I made myself go out and do things that I love I do to. Step by step, and day by day, I am feeling happy again. It has been nearly two weeks since I have been back to "normal", and now when I look back, I can't believe I had gotten so weak.
I know now what happened -- I burned myself out so much that I let a false loneliness consume me.
Finally, I had enough. I decided I wanted to be happy again. I hit bottom and in my weakest moment, crying on my kitchen floor, I knew that I had to push through this and make my mind be stronger than it has ever been before. It has worked. I am a work in progress, but I do know I am constantly learning and evolving.
I am grateful that this dark period I lived through only last about 3 weeks, but it was literally the hardest 3 weeks that I have ever had to endure. I never want to live a life without hope. I hated life. I woke up in tears, I cried myself to sleep, I couldn't concentrate, I wanted to be alone at all times... I was simply trying to exist everyday. I do not know who can live their life that way, but I certainly can't.
I am back to blogging, which is such a blessing. I have made so many friends and your emails and support through that time was incredibly reassuring. I am back to exceeding expectations at my job and not having to hide tears. I feel motivated to push hard at my training every evening at the gym. I have made great progress with my first book. I am happy. I am hopeful. And I am this way because I choose to be. No one else in this world can be my major source of happiness. Happiness is my choice.