“there is no limit to what i can imagine, therefore there is no limit to what i can achieve”
four months into 2012 and it’s time to reflect on what you have achieved so far. a third of the year is gone – what have you done?
what i have done this year is directly linked to what i did last year, so that’s where i shall start.
last year, 2011, was the worst and best year of my life. what made it the worst year?
i’d moved to a new country far away from all my friends and family. i’d sold or given away all my belongings and i remained with two suitcases containing a few clothes and the books i couldn’t bear to part with.
i’d moved not because i wanted to, but because i felt i had no choice. although a part of me was excited for the new experience, a bigger part of me felt weak. why? because i was not in control of my life. i was being buffeted by whatever winds came up. i allowed myself to be someone else’s responsibilty and gave up my right to make decisions about what kind of life i was living.
i became depressed and frustrated. i was angry and sad and very close to a nervous break-down. i became unpleasant to be around because i was always complaining about something, yet doing nothing to change anything.
i hit rock-bottom when i started entertaining thoughts of suicide. i became even angrier when i felt thwarted in that by own fears regarding my family’s response to such an event. that was the turning point. since i couldn’t change my life by ending it, i decided to end it by changing it.
i sat down and cried. i’d been crying already, weeping about how miserable i was and wallowing in self-pity. this time i cried over all the opportunities that i’d missed because i was too busy being negative to see them. i cried for the months i spent drifting along doing nothing of any value. i cried over the relationships i’d let die because i was too busy feeling sorry for myself to nurture them. i cried a lot of tears over many days; i mourned for myself.
then i got out a notebook and started writing down all the things that would make me happy. this forced me to think about what i wanted for myself and how i was going to achieve it. as i did that, i found myself getting happier. it sounds incredible, but that’s what happened. i didn’t know it at the time, but the simple act of deciding to change things, changed my outlook. as i solidified what i wanted, i was taking back a bit more power and i started feeling more positive about my life. my circumstances had not changed, but by deciding that the change was up to me, i changed myself and my view of my situation.
i started working out and running because i knew i wanted to be stronger – physical strength was one of the things that would make me happy. i personally can testify to the ‘runner’s high’, and seeing the changes in my body made me happy too (yes, i really am that vain).
i started taking note of my surroundings, taking pictures of things that made me joyful, like the sunset below.
i made friends with like-minded people and i invested in those relationships. i was truthful about my circumstances without turning myself into a victim, and the result was friendships that continue to withstand the pressures of time and distance.
in short, by deciding to change my life and setting out to do so, i became happier. the bigger part of the change was not the running or the girl-time, it was the act of consciously moving toward my happiness. happiness was my aim and setting goals to achieve that made me happy in and of itself. how? read on.
feeling powerless in your own life gives rise to so many feelings of negativity. i was overwhelmed with fear, anger, sadness and feelings of failure. i was stagnant and miserable. when i took back control, i found that the fear became manageable, i was no longer angry and i was more joyful. i had a sense of direction, i felt more confident in myself and in my abilities. this is not to say that everything suddenly became light and rainbows, but once i set goals and set about achieving them, with the help of some truly amazing people, i became happier.
the changes in my life were now self-determined and self-directed. my life began to have meaning and purpose. all that changed was that i decided to pursue my happiness myself instead of waiting for it to magically happen. once i realized that my happiness was in my hands, and took responsibility for what i wanted and how to achieve it, i became stronger. the stronger i became, the more determined i became.
i developed an intense desire to change my circumstance and i honed it till i was ready to act on it. acting became easier once i knew what i was aiming for.
2011 became the best year of my life because it became the year that i set out on my journey to live my life instead of letting life shove me in any direction it wanted. i’d given up my power and lost control, but when i took back that power and got back in the driver’s seat, i felt like i was on top of the world.
becoming the boss of my own life was the key to my happiness. i’d given up my power and that made me weak and resentful and led to negative emotions of all kinds. these negative emotions in all their manifestations took away all the joy from my life and sucked away my peace.
when i stepped onto the plate and stopped rationalizing and justifying my unhappiness and took steps to change it, everything changed. being in control and bearing the burden of MY life made me happy! i stopped making other people the source of and explanation for my problems and quit casting myself in the role of victim. i decided to change my life, i stopped being a victim and that brought me an inner peace i can’t quite explain.
by the end of last year i’d made some pretty drastic changes, some easier than others. i also vowed to never again give up power over my own destiny, no matter the reason, because i know first-hand how damaging to the psyche living a life of powerlessness can be.
today, i am the happiest i have been in a long time. i have the same struggles that most people have – finances, relationships, childcare, family etc – but i’m still way happier than i’ve been because i am in control, i am in charge, i am responsible. i am the CEO of my life and of myself.
are you in control of your success and your happiness? are you taking steps to change things that you’re not happy with?