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The best year, I gave myself a lot of practice in being unhappy. I took on difficult changes and like any point in life, some pain was inevitable. However, there are things, particularly coping mechanisms, that only made things worse.

1. Believe that your happiness and meaning in life is locked up in something you can’t control.
Unless you let go and let God, you can push all you want but you will end up feeling as puny as you are in the face of fate or destiny as you will. Pray harder, work harder, don’t stop believing in yourself and your dreams, AND enjoy the ride. The road will take you where you need to go, even if it’s not always in the way you expect.
It’s delusional to think that it all depends on you. It doesn’t. Your choices and efforts are important, and you must have the fortitude to follow through, but you have to have a little serenity or you will just grow bitter.

2. Substitute empty pleasure for inner joy.
It just doesn’t work. Whether it’s food, alcohol, or anything else, it’s not going to give you the genuine feeling that makes life livable. If you happen to believe your happiness is all wrapped up in something outside yourself that is unattainable or completely out of your control, you risk falling victim to the hedonic treadmill of increasingly small highs for increasingly large and out of control hits. I am definitely guilty of this one, and overeating and binge eating took a big toll on me.

3. Letting go completely in one area to focus all your willpower in another.
As it turns out, you just lose willpower overall and respect for yourself when you let something that’s a priority go. For me, maintaining a healthy weight has been something I’ve felt strongly about and I believe staying healthy to the extent it’s within our control is a personal responsibility. As I spiraled down into depression believing I couldn’t get what I needed to be happy and successful, I found it difficult to concentrate on school work and used all my willpower to just push things through. Unfortunately, it deactivated me an my self image changed, along with my weight and health. Junk food is called junk for a reason, and letting myself go felt just like that. Everyone is human and sometimes you can’t give 100% to everything but small victories and maintaining what you have is imporant. Maybe you won’t run a marathon and double your income in the same year, maybe you will. Focus is important but don’t stop running your own race just because you have other responsibilities.

4. Rehashing past decisions to the point that you feel you are living the wrong life.
I had the opportunity to stay in Paris but I turned it down for financial and professional development reasons. Regret nearly destroyed me as I felt I’d lost my one shot. Boy, was I wrong. Doubting my judgment just dragged me farther and farther down until I lost all confidence in myself. I started doubting every other major decision i’d ever made, analyzed everything from every angle, and just came up with reasons to feel bad abou myself. Don’t do this- what’s past is prologue but it doens’t control the whole story, you have to write it now. Regret can tell you what you value, and there may be times you made a genuine mistake, but even if you did, it wasn’t on purpose. Be gentle but firm with yourself and live in the now which is the only place you can make a difference. Remember, once you go down this road no one can pull you away from it but you, no one can save you from your own regrets but yourself, but the time you waste rehashing the past is time you aren’t fully enjoying the moments that will never come again.

5. Denying the signs you are headed down the wrong path.
When your suit is tight, when your skinny jeans are busting, tha is the time to realize you need to do something different. Not when you can’t wear any of your clothes. When you are doing yoga every day but don’t feel energized by it. When you can’t shake your negative attitude and just double down on everything you are already doing-binging, procrastinating, letting your room and your life and most of all, your mind be a mess, tha’s the time to stop the pity party, face the facts, and be grateful for all that you already have. And then run in the opposite direction to preserve it. Don’t maintain your pace on a downward spiral. STOP! And got the heck off of it and start the long slw clib that’s the only way up the mounain again. Soon you’ll be flying by leaps and bounds, but you have to stop and change gears first.

So this is some of the best advice I think I’ve got. I would like to dedicate it to future me, because some day I am going to read this and know exactly what it means and avoid making the same mistakes. I am human, and I will make mistakes, but I hope I get to learn more.
And this is for me right now. It’s easy for me to say how horrible I am and how horrible I’ve been, bu what I ned most now is respect for myself, compassion, and the belief in myself tha will sustain me as I move forward and leave the unecessary suffering behind.
Bless you all.
Namaste,
MJ

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