Happiness is a Choice

July 23, 2014

"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. 


  1. You are beautiful and this was a wonderful post. I'm dealing with someone in my life that needs to understand this choice!

  2. You're so awesome and such an inspiration! I love everything you write and I love that you share your struggles & how you overcome them. I know it helps more people than you'd ever imagine! Thank you for being real!

    1. Friends like you help me feel comfortable and OK doing it. Thank you so much for this comment.

  3. What a wonderful and positive post. Love this and what a great photo of you too :)

  4. I LOVE this post. I have been there too many times before with my ex. Screaming and crying on my hands and knees then getting mad at myself for how pathetic I looked...one day I just snapped out of it. Happiness is definitely a choice! xoxo

  5. Such an open and honest post which is what I love about you. We all have our breaking point, we all have hit rock bottom in some way, but pulling yourself out of it is all that matters and you have done that! It's no surprise to me that you overcame this because you're such a strong willed person. Glad that you're feeling back to your normal self!! You're a beautiful woman who has so many accomplishments already in life!! So glad that you've chose happiness!

  6. Glad you are feeling back to yourself again. We all have those weak moments that try to keep us down. The important thing is to learn from them and not let yourself get there again :) You are amazing and you deserve amazing things!

  7. Girrrrrl I just really want to give you a big hug right now! Bless your heart! You are so brave for writing this post. You are so very beautiful and an inspiration to others. You deserve happiness!
    xo Krissy @ Sneakers and Sequins

  8. I've been there. Not long ago in fact. You are strong. You are smart and you are beautiful. You deserve happiness each and every day. Now you know clearly what can trigger a downward spiral, you really don't need me telling you to steer clear of it now. Sometimes we need to hit rock bottom to rebuild ourselves. Choose to be happy each and every day Liz <3

  9. First off you are so beautiful! That makeup is perfection!
    I find that in lows in my life, throwing myself into things that I love(working out)/love me (family) helps me to get past hard times. Hiding and staying home doesn't help as much as we hope it will.So keep powering through and you will be so successful! You deserve to be so happy and Im so glad you are seeing it that way! Keep on writing your thoughts, you are helping so many other girls in your position and I cant wait to read your book!

  10. I love this post. You're absolutely right, everyday we make a choice to be happy and lead a good life and no matter what you shouldn't let anyone make you feel like less of a person. You have this and one day you'll find someone who makes you feel as amazing as you are!

  11. Glad that the pain only lasted 3 weeks and you learned that you deserve more, that love shouldn't make you feel that way. It is a hard lesson but one I hope you always remember. You deserve better, more.

  12. I hate that you had that experience. My heart breaks for you because you are young and have so much life ahead of you. I'm glad you're embracing happiness and hope you always will. There is nothing more important in this life than taking care of yourself. If you cannot take care of yourself you'll never find peace with anything or anyone else. Love to you.

  13. YOU.ARE.INCREDIBLE! Thanks so much for sharing your feelings...I think most people have gone through this at one point in their lives (I know I did) and it's so important to be reminded that WE are in charge of our own happiness. You are such a strong and courageous woman and you will come out of this on top!! {{{HUGS}}}


  14. Everytime you write a post like this I can just admire how brave you are to publish such things. I guess a lot of people would be scared or uncomfortable to share feelings like this, but you're not one of them. And it just shows how strong you are - it would be a lot easier to just deny everything and run from it, but you face your feelings and just come stronger out of it. You really are an amazing person and I am sure you inspire a lot of people (me being one of them).

  15. hugs to you my sweet friend!!! my heart was breaking reading this...I am so glad you are doing better. You are so strong and such an amazing person!!! I love that you are willing to share your story. xoxo

  16. It is so hard going through rough times & feeling alone throughout it all. We choose our path to walk down with guidance from God & you hit a rocky road. But, like the true strong independent woman that you are, you made it through with your head held high inspiring all of us along the way. You possess such strength & will power. I am so glad you are feeling better & so proud to be your blog-friend. <3

  17. such a fabulous post girl, you have such a way words. that photo of you is gorgeous of course! you are amazing and strong and have been through so much and still you come out on top! you can only go up from here. xxx

  18. I have been right there. Slightly different situation, but deep down in that black hole that sucks away all your happiness and joy. My husband deployed and when he did, I felt like I lost apart of myself, starting drinking a bit too much alcohol. This went on for a couple a months. I woke up one day and decided enough was enough. I started focusing on training, nutrition, on roller derby and gave up the alcohol. And what do you know, I'm a lot happier and feel like a 'whole' me again. You go girl! Because it takes a strong woman to make a conscious decision to pick yourself up and start again!

  19. Thank you for writing this.
    Thank you for baring your soul for us.

    You are beautiful inside and out... strong, fearless, wise beyond your years...

    I am so proud to be your friend (even if it's only through this blog)... You inspire us all.

    Happiness is a choice, and I'm glad it's yours.

  20. Awww girl! So sorry to hear about what you have been going through! You absolutely DO NOT deserve to feel that way or be treated that way! Kudos to you for standing up straight, starting a clean slate, and living life for YOU! You are so strong! Don't give up! Your a true inspiration! ♥

  21. I love how open you are! Your posts are so inspirational! I keep telling you that you need to write a book! :)

  22. The only person responsible for my happiness is me. Once I learned that, life has been a lot better!

    Great post!

  23. Girl YAS you deserve the best! It's so hard sometimes but you got this! You are so strong and inspiring to so many people!

  24. You are awesome and an amazing person. We all have our moments in life where we feel down. But it's how we get up and work through it that matters! PS I love that pic of you, look beautiful as always!

  25. Yes happiness is a choice! I applaud you for going back to church, God will help you heal and give you peace if you let Him take over your heart! Wish you the very best and God bless you

  26. oh my god. I feel like I'm going to cry because this blog post is just like my journal entry.I need to do things that make me happy. I've been stuck in this depression for years and I don't no how to get myself out by reading your post I realize that I need to take the time to do the things in love even if that means not going about my to-do list and being "productive". I need to find myself again and I need to be happy again. I need to visit places that make me happy I need to get out there and just be with myself. I cannot thank you enough for this post. This is been the most beautiful post I've read all year. Thank you so, so, so incredibly much.

  27. I'm glad you have been able to make peace with it all. It sucks but sometimes you need to go through all of that to get to a place of true happiness. I'm also glad you came back to this space, because I love reading it.

  28. Liz, I just cried at my desk reading this. I had a similar thing happen to me just 2 nights ago. I had let stress, work and stupid hormones consume me for too long. It's been a battle for 2 months and the other night, I was the same way, crying uncontrollably and searching for a wrong answer and a wrong way out. I have come cold turkey off of my woman meds in hopes of starting a family later this year and the time since then has been absolutely awful on me mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. My husband kept looking at me going "this is not you" and he's right. I'm so glad that you felt the courage to post this publicly. I had to get a handle on myself and decide to mentally be healthy and own taking care of myself. I've been physically fit for most of my life, but I let the rest of myself get beat up in the process sometimes. My aunt said it best to me in "you have to take care of you". You are a shining light my friend, I'm so glad you have had a chance to regroup and choose happiness. That's awesome. If I could love this post I would :)

  29. Oh Liz...

    I can feel all the pain and vulnerability in this post and I think its safe to say we've all been there at some point! Sometimes, we can be the happy ones but its ones around us that just want to be miserable and suck the life out of everything. We're human so we can so easily fall into that trap sometimes.

    I am so glad that you were able to pick yourself up and get right back on track!!

    One thing I remind myself all the time is to take it day by day and to accomplish at least ONE thing that goes towards my goals. I have the book "The Power" on my phone and go over the notes I highlighted that really spoke to me in my darkest hours.

    Keep charging on, you're a big inspiration and if you ever need a shoulder, contact me anytime! <3

  30. You are beautiful and deserve the very best! I love that you are so open and it is so encouraging for me on my own journey! Hugs hun!

  31. i seriously just want to hug you. i want to SQUEEEZE you because you were sad and i want to SQUUUUEEEZE you for coming back so positive and smiley and great and i want to SQUUUEEEZE you for sharing. we all have our moments and instead of being disappointed that we let life get us down we should be proud when we can pick ourselves up again.
    i think you're wonderful <3



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