Almost exactly one year ago I started an epic challenge called 31 Days to a Happy Place. It was a great experience for me as a writer and as a human being. I learned a lot about myself, my life, my career, and my relationships with others. But the biggest lesson I learned? ... 31 days of writing is not enough to go from a sad place to a happy one. Pulling yourself out of a depression takes more than just blogging about it. It takes a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, tears, reflection, trust, support, and commitment. The challenge was, however, as good a place as any to really look at my life and the parts of it that made me TRULY happy. I took it was an exercise in honest communication with myself, my family, my friends, and even my followers.
There’s nothing more vulnerable than talking through your unhappiness in a public forum. And although the posts in that series may come off as happy-go-lucky and chipper, I have to confess that I was in a very, very dark place. I was completely consumed by trying to accommodate the needs and wants of everyone around me. My life was filled to the brim with the burdens of other people and my own problems were buried so deep that they might as well have been classified as part of the Paleozoic era.
The worst part of it all was that I knew I was doing it to myself but I couldn't seem to stop.
On day two of my journey, I wrote a really personal piece about letting things go. I'm a textbook worry-wart and this has been my biggest struggle in life so far - learning how to compartmentalize certain situations and emotions. I had filled my life with anxiety, doubt, fear, tension, guilt, shame, regret, confusion, and so much rage about things that were beyond my control. And I would let it all fester in my brain for days, weeks, months until suddenly I was completely paralyzed. I couldn't focus on my work, I couldn't enjoy myself when I went out... I was letting the weight of the world ruin MY world. And that's pretty silly, right?
I had to learn how to listen to bad news or things I didn't want to hear, and allow whatever emotion was coming up to surface to pass through my life. Permit myself to feel it in it's entirety without trying to drown it out or deal with it later or simply sweep it under the rug. I am human after all, and I can't program myself to respond appropriately all the time. I had to learn to release the emotions and move the fuck on with my day and MY LIFE.
If I'm angry, I'm gonna scream. If I'm sad, I'm going to cry. If I'm anxious about something, I'm going to talk about it in circles until I have nothing left to say. And there's NOTHING wrong with that. It's actually preferable and desirable when it comes to survival.
So now here I am a year later, and I’m still practicing. Learning how to let those emotions wash over me, do what they need to do, serve their purpose, and then get over it. By giving myself the opportunity to fully experience these negative energies when they first come up, I'm saving myself from a lot of pain in the long run. And for the first time in a long time, I feel truly happy.
You see friends... We’ve got bigger fish to fry. We need our strength and energy to tackle things that really matter - none of this silly bullshit. We deserve to start every day with a full night's rest under our belt. We deserve to start every day feeling alive. We deserve to feel like we're progressing as human beings, learning from our pasts, and not allowing the stress of the world around us to keep us from living.
We deserve, at the very least, to survive ourselves. Because (#realtalk) sometimes we really are our own worst enemies.
Tracking my own evolution, xx Nikbear