We were taught that if you are unhappy, then change is needed. By change of course it means altering your outside world and thus, expecting your inside to be content because of that. But what if true permanent happiness is truly within you, buried beneath all your fears, insecurities, and how you feel towards your self and image? What if change is not necessary but simply facing your truth and accepting who you are?
I will refer to my past life as an example, I battled clinical depression and suicidal thoughts throughout my late teens. It was a matter of my self-destructive nature and the environment I lived in. I despised living in Egypt. I was always misunderstood and not only did I fight a populace of people, but also, my own family, day in and out. Till today I still do. I simply changed my attitude towards circumstances no matter how grave they may seem, I became my own emotional boss no matter who says or did what to me, and I relied on myself for all the support and strength I need. I stopped seeking understanding and approval from others. I chose to stand alone. I picked my battles wisely.
Only when I decided to find the answers within did I begin to truly understand who I am and what is happiness. When I dropped the medical pills, stopped listening to others, and started believing in myself; I finally found the courage, strength, and energy to change. I begun really working on strengthening my mindset. I went for absolute change of my thoughts and habits, and so, the person I was.
It did require a few steps of external as well change, what I did was:
(1) I eliminated the people that bring me down, although sadly for me the people that always brought out my worst (a practically non-existent worst) were my own family, particularly my mother. Since I value family and choose to respect them regardless, I decided I simply need to change the fact they have an emotional hold on me and just believe in myself without need for their comprehension or approval. As a little kid growing up you would continually long for your parents support and them telling you otherwise even if you fail, but yes, my case was the complete opposite. I learned to accept that they never will understand or accept me, till today. I am finally okay with that and I understand why fully.
The people you surround yourself by affect you and will come to mirror you in many ways, so make sure you are surrounded by the right positive people. Surely do not be around those you do not wish to ever become!
(2) I found ways to release my anger; I got addicted to heavy weight lifting and intense exercising. I took very good care of my health, I quit all my toxic lifestyles. I wanted my body to reflect my mind. Good habits, no matter how little they are, foster other good habits. When you make time for yourself, you affirm your self-worth within and with that you grow to shine in front of others.
Make sure you change your health and body for yourself and no one else! Do not do it to please a man (or woman), do it for YOU, because you deserve to feel good and that means looking good! If you are good enough for yourself, you will be good enough for anyone. But if you rate your goodness according to other people’s perceptions, then you will never be good enough.
(3) I started being more productive during my university years and really putting the effort to create. Letting your emotions out there most definitely helps. I never understood people that bottled-up in silence, eventually you will explode and it will be disastrous and out of your control! Recognize emotions, particularly “negative” ones such as anger, are energy! You can break the house down, scream and curse, and wreck your life reacting to others…it will give you instant gratification however, you will be back in the cycle of shame, guilty, and so anger again! Instead, use that fuel to your growth, to create, and to become better. Don’t let it go to waste, or worse, eat you up alive to your destruction.
(4) I began to declutter and detach myself from all material things. I finally visited my huge closet and begun emptying out all that I can for donation. I promised myself 3 years ago I am not to buy an expensive designer item ever again, and I have not since. I used to say many years back, “My clothes tell who I am and give me confidence,” now I can walk with nothing on and I have all confidence I need. As for who I am, I let my words and actions define that.
Even material things, we hold onto them out of fear, loneliness, and nostalgia. The embody our past and memories, acting like a baggage we drag into our future. Becoming a minimalist and letting go of your external past can help you be content with your today’s and really put them to use. Also, giving to others will always make you grow in spirit.
So, the motive behind you changing should be for one sole reason: to please yourself and nobody else. Do not do anything in anticipation of proving others that hurt you, do not believe in you, or do not want you to succeed. There is nothing that needs to be proven, especially not to them.
Personally, in my current life, I have concluded that external sources and changes can make you happy but definitely not permanently or for long enough. While I am much happier than I was in my past, it is not because it just happened or something changed in my life, it is because I learned who I am and what I want in life and relationships. I became content with who I am, yet, I am still not happy with where I live. I cannot grow to my potential and I surely cannot have the ideal life and relationships I believe in. I long to be surrounded by free passionate spirits like my own, and I long to be understood and to belong. I mean why be tolerated when you can be celebrated? As much as I can work on my mindset in this country and find happiness within me, it would be more of a delusion. It would mean giving up my passions and my essence to just live in silent luxury and be the wife and mother every woman here seems to settle for as her only predetermined destiny. And that my dear friends, never was or will be me. I have waited for my freedom for far too long, time I work on truly reclaiming it!
I can tell you realizing your true self and soul will never happen through partners, relationships, food, drugs, luxury items, shopping, or anything external. They just feed your ego. The only way you can link to your soul is through reflecting within in silence and peace, and with honesty and love. Strip yourself away from all false beliefs of others and material things. The only person that can link you within to your true essence is indeed yourself.
And last piece of advice, NEVER sell your soul for money or to please others, even if they are you are own family that you have to let go. The greatest lesson in this life and the hardest of all is letting go… of things, people, relationships, situations, you name it!
Let go of your past, in whatever form it may come in. It is only weighing you down.
Chin up and look forward to a future you will path your way to. Pick your battles wisely. It is about proving yourself to others or triumphing, it is about realizing your truth, your worth, and your potential.. then turning around and taking the better road!