Okay it is December 11, 2008 now, my daughter’s birthday, and I just got paid. I am making waay less than what I used to make in my other job in another city and in another marriage, but it was a hellish life. I have traded being miserable but with a lot of money for being truly loved and having what I need and most of what I want. I watched the news this morning and it put me in a very bad mood: foreclosures, unemployment is at an all-time high, Obama going back on his campaign promises already, people who have gotten bail-outs took the money and went on a luxurious jaunt at an exclusive resort,etc. The world is going to hell in a handbasket and you are right in the middle of it is what the newscast is telling me. Today should be a great day of celebration for my family because we have a baby girl who is turning 15 today and yet here I am thinking about how screwed we are as a country so I got to work, pissed off, dissatisfied, depressed and wishing I could be at the beach when I ran across this post I wrote in August. It made me feel better immediately. I hope it does the same to you in this stressful time:
If your first thought upon waking up is, “Oh yeah, I’m in this life,” do not despair. Here are ten ways to make yourself happy again.
1) Be grateful that you woke up. Think of your friends or relatives who have passed on and be grateful that you still have life and that they are around you in their spirit form, helping and guiding you at all times in spite of yourself. Be grateful that you have been given the day to choose whether you are going to be happy and have a positive outlook on life or be miserable, bitter and bring down other people’s lives.
2) If you are unhappy because of your employment situation, start looking for something else when you have time. Send out resumes, make phone calls, spread the word, scour the classifieds, look on the Internet, hand out flyers, and ask friends if they need extra work done around their houses. There is no shame in actively trying to better your situation. Get cheap business cards made out and network, go to functions and events. Nothing will come to you if you are enclosed in the walls of your home. If you can’t leave your home, find out what is a legitimate job online and go for it. Write, paint, sew, plant, find something you can do to sell and you may find out that it can lead to many doors opening in the future.
3. If you are unhappy because of your domestic situation, save up money and move out. Don’t put it off because all we have is time. Time is life and the more time you squander the less life you will have to live. You don’t know what God has in store for you in your new life but he is not going to have an armored car drop a bag of bank money in front of your house. You need to actively move to a friend’s or a shelter or somewhere where you can stay until you get your own place. Your independence may be the happiness you have been needing this whole time.
4. If you are unhappy because of your romantic situation. Snap out of it. If you have a good partner, be grateful and then make moments special. Get back into the habit of letting that person know why you chose them and why you feel lucky to be the one who gets to be with them. Making them coffee and bringing them the cup while they are in bed in the morning is a nice touch and isn’t as expensive as roses. Romance does not have to be expensive. Look around and see how many people are miserable in the relationships they are in or in their loneliness and try to make yours work. Focus on how you would want to feel if you were in your partner’s shoes and take that extra step to show caring. That is what it is all about. What you put into it should result in a revitalization of an awesome partnership that results in feelings of self-worth, pride, security, love and better health for the both of you. If you are in a bad relationship, leave. Quit wasting your time and energy on something that is not beneficial, or pleasurable or sensible. Life is too short to waste. It takes guts to start over but you will be a better person for having the courage to take the needed steps to make a new life and create new happiness elsewhere. Don’t believe the cliche, “There are no good men/women out there,” because it is a complete lie. Amazing intriguing men and women are right here in your neighborhood possibly waiting for someone exactly like you. Realize how incredibly special and beautiful you are and quit selling yourself short. Get out there and do something about your situation!
5. If you are unhappy with your physical condition, take charge of what goes into your mouth and how much you move. It is simple; if you eat less than you burn, you will lose weight. Eat more fruits and vegetables than bad foods and get out there and exercise but be persistent and you will lose weight. I walked for at least 45 minutes (doctor-recommended time) every night for a year and lost 40 pounds just from walking. Of course, I cut out sweets, cokes, and all the bad stuff and it worked. Just stick to it; that is the hard part but the payoff is so worth it. You will be so happy to fit into normal clothes, find nice outfits to wear and take pride in your figure. It can really happen as it is a physical law. Output more than intake and you will lose weight. Guaranteed. You just have to move.
6. If you are unhappy because you cannot forgive yourself for what you have done in the past, whether it was to another person or yourself, you have to move on and get past it. It will be a struggle but you have to take your thoughts and purposely focus on the positive instead of negative, deprecating thoughts. It is the only way you will move on and succeed. It is a great struggle, one that you will battle everyday, but there is nothing you can do but accept what happened and work to deal with it on all levels.
7. If you are unhappy because you are addicted to a substance, get away from it. Dry out. Find other ways to find pleasure or pass the time. Find healthy outlets for yourself. You may have to change where you live and who your friends are but if you are seriously needing a life change, that is what it takes. Your health, both physical and mental depend on dealing with life without drugs and alcohol, or too much of anything. Practice healthy living and improving yourself physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
8. If you are unhappy because you have lost someone whether it is to death or to another situation, be grateful for the time you were able to spend with them. Forgive yourself for anything bad that you may have said or done to them for they have done it already. Whenever you get bad thoughts associated with your memories of that person, purposely change them to positive ones so that you can help yourself heal from that loss. On the other hand, if you are missing someone who was a bad influence on your life, it is better to remember the bad so that you do not remember only the good and start wearing rose-colored glasses. There are times when remembering the bad moments in a relationship is useful, especially when it is protecting you from a return to a hellish situation. Remember that the hope of the unknown is exciting because you don’t know all the good that may be in store for you. If you return to a bad situation you are deliberately eliminating the chances for any new good opportunities that that new course in life may offer..
9. If you are unhappy because of your spiritual situation, get back to your core beliefs and find out what you believe in and what you need to make you spiritually fulfilled. Find a way to worship that makes you comfortable and find a core set of beliefs that make you comfortable. Your soul, your direction and your life are yours alone and you are not to follow another’s beliefs because they are more powerful than you are. You are in charge of your soul and your spirit and therefore responsible for what you believe in. Practice your faith on a daily basis. Do what you know is right and your soul will be able to live with itself.
10. Stand on one leg and hop around then be happy you have two. Put one arm behind your back, try to do something, then be glad you have it back. Close one eye, then open the other one and be glad. If you have food, be glad. If you have a bed to sleep in at night, be glad. If you have luxuries like A/C, cable, Internet and possesions, be glad. Look around when you are out and about and know that as unhappy as you think you may be with your life, it is still a hell of alot better than most people’s.
In this trying time when people are feeling pressure to buy gifts and decorate their houses and run up their light bills while getting their hours cut and losing their jobs entirely, let us all learn to be happy with what we have. I pray I am able to be grateful for all that I have instead of longing for what I don’t. I pray that I don’t turn to any kind of method to make myself feel better that involves opening a bottle of pills or booze or anything else. I pray that I may continue to be the parent and spouse I should be instead of what I can become when I use that crap. I believe the key word here is pray – pray that we all make it and when we get overwhelmed, step out of the picture, get away for awhile and know somehow, everything is going to be okay.
I know my readership has grown immensely and I want to share that should anyone need a place to turn during these horribly stressful times, and you need someone to talk to and understand, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I have been through hell myself and want you to know I will be available to talk to. Use a pseudonym if you want. I do not need to know who anyone is. I do not care. All I care about is that we make it through these times. Email me if you just want to rant and get stuff off your chest because you have no one else who will listen. I will. I promise.