The festivities of Christmas are over, you still haven't started going to the gym or changing your life in the way you wanted. You're stuck in a job you don't enjoy to pay the rent on a flat you don't really like and when someone asks how you are you say "fine". Sound familiar?
This time last year I was going through something so painful that I wouldn't even wish it on my worst enemy. My world was falling apart but on the outside I put on a brave face and kept going. I thought I was going through a rough patch and kept telling myself about all of the amazing things I had to be happy about and how lucky I was. I spent weeks if not months keeping all of my problems to myself and it didn't make it any better. They were still there but I was fighting them alone. We put on a brave face and skim over the problem and keep going but is that the best way to deal with our problems?
To a certain extent we feel pressured to be okay. Every day we have images forced down our throats in glossy magazines, via social media, on television and newspapers of the perfect life and we're all on a treadmill rushing for somewhere, working towards something better and the whole time all we really want, all anyone really wants, is to fit in. No-one wants to admit that they aren't coping. On social media we put ourselves out there day by day and get judged. We all judge and we all want to be accepted. So when things go wrong we keep it to ourselves when really we would benefit from sharing the problem because do you know what, everyone else's life isn't as great as it seems. Everyone has hopes and fears and good days and bad days and just because someone has more bad days it doesn't mean it will always be that way. Although things might be tough and it might sometimes seem like the world is against you it won't always be like that and pretty soon you'll be on the other side of the toughest time of your life having learnt a whole lot about yourself and about life.
But what should we do about our happiness when we feel rock bottom? Our generation have grown up with a sense of entitlement, that because we want something we should have it. In reality this doesn't happen and most of the time we make excuses and blame someone else for why something didn't work out but when we approach our happiness in this way we become unstuck. We believe that we are entitled to be happy, and that's right, we are all entitled to be happy but there's a lot more to it than that. I don't believe that happiness is just a given and that you get happy simply by doing nothing and by just being a good person. My granddad used to say "Strive to be happy" I'm not sure I really understood that fully at the time. Now I understand that what he was saying is that if you want to be happy you have to go out there and get it - put yourself in a place: in a job you're passionate about, surrounded by friends who get you, doing the things that you love - where you'll be happy. It's no good dreaming big and waiting for life to come to you, that's a sure fire way to waste your life. Instead try sprinting at life full of enthusiasm full of ambition and hope because otherwise what's the alternative? Wallowing in your own self pity? Never before has the saying "One Life Live It" resonated more. It's not just hyperbole it's fact and you have to make things happen for yourself, without blaming your teachers or your parents or your partner for putting you on that path, you have to take a step back and then step-up and take responsibility for your own happiness.
Last week I posted a picture on Instagram with my own words, "One day I realised that if my life was a book my story was so boring that even I didn't want to read it. So I changed it". It led to messages from people asking me "how?" How should they go about changing their life to make them happy? I wrote out a response to the first person who asked and deleted it so many times and it was only when I worked out the answer I thought, I should share it, so here it is:
1) Accept that you are not alone - there are thousands of people out there; men, women, old, young, professionals and students who all have days when they feel down. You are not the only one.
2) Realise that your happiness is your own responsibility - I think this is the biggest and hardest step. You have to stop wishing and waiting for someone to walk into your life and turn it around for you. You are the leading lady (or guy) in your own life and you have to take responsibility for your own happiness.
3) Strive to be happy - don't wait for a good day, make today a good day. Do you want to start eating well? Then start. Do you want a new job or a new house? Then get out a pen and a piece of paper and start planning how you're going to make it happen by adding stepping stone goals along the way.
I really hope this helps to make you realise that if you're not okay, that is okay and that not everyone else is as happy as they seem. However, those who are happy become so by following one simple idea, they "Strive to be happy".
My Pictures: there were no obvious pictures for this post so this was me bored post knee op stuck in the house taking selfies.