Setback after setback, I am starting to realize the true importance of being happy. Although it may sound a little silly and redundant at first, I believe it is the most important thing in the word to strive to see the positive in absolutely every aspect of life.
My life, and all of our lives are filled with endless challenges that act as roadblocks to happiness. As a student and an athlete, I am trying to balance the best of both worlds. As a daughter, sister and a girlfriend, I try my best to value every moment I spend with the people I care about. As I'm getting older, I feel myself slowly moving away in different directions from a lot of people I've spent the majority of my life with... and it's difficult to remain positive.
However, I am starting to realize that choosing to find the positive in everything I do has allowed me to become the best version of myself that I can possibly be. There are so many times in my life right now that I find difficult, but I know that by making a conscious effort to make the best out of every situation I find myself in makes the hard times bearable.
I honestly used to be very negative, but now 9 times out of 10 I catch myself and force myself to be positive. I truly believe that this is something I never would have done years ago, but now it is due to the fact that I've trained myself to be happy with these 3 steps:
STEP ONE: Practice Reinforcing Happiness
Once I realized that my mind was what was blocking me from being happy I had to learn how to reinforce that positivity in my life. As with many types of training, the more you practice the better you get. As an athlete, I know this to be true. The best way to reinforce happiness is to be positive when it comes to your relationship with yourself. Talk to yourself. Tell yourself you're amazing. Tell yourself you look good today. Smile in the mirror. Be proud of your accomplishments, whether that be at school or at the gym or even something as simple as being someone's friend.
Now with this, there is an important aspect of honesty with yourself. You have to look for the good in yourself even if you find something negative. It's perfectly okay to not like everything about yourself, but don't focus on it. We all have positive aspects about ourselves, so it's just important to remind ourselves of them every day, big or small.
STEP TWO: Get rid of all negativity
You can not lead a positive life by surrounding yourself with negative people. I myself seemed to attract negative people. When I decided to make a change to live a happier life, I had to get rid of all things negative in my life. It is important to understand the no one is perfect, and that perfection isn't the goal. However, there were certain things in my life that were bringing me down. I switched programs after two years of university, moved back home and now I am extremely happy with the choices I've made. Im extremely passionate about my career and the people I choose to surround myself with.
However, it's hard to distance yourself from people and from the things that you've always known. It takes courage and strength to know when things aren't good for you or your lifestyle, which directly correlates to your overall happiness.
In addition to removing things in your life that are bringing you down, you also have to get rid of any negative behaviours you may have. Some of mine, for example, included having an awful relationship with food for years and body dysmorphia. I had to take a step back and study which behaviours were healthy and which were not and make the changes necessary in order to be happy.
STEP THREE: Sharing is Caring
You need people in your life that are going to surround you and support its you love and kindness. Not only do you need to be positive with yourself for happiness training to have its effect, but you need to be positive with others. You have to share your happiness with everyone you come in contact with. It's quite simple; be nice to other people. Tell someone they look good today, did a good job on a project, or simply a smile to a stranger. This can do wonders not only to that person, but to yourself as well.
Tell your parents, girlfriend or boyfriend how much they mean to you. Send flowers, cheer people up, write notes, don't talk behind backs and be kind when speaking to other people. All of these things sound pretty basic, right? But for someone like me they didn't come easy. I was always very hard on myself, and therefore I found myself never going out of the way to be nice to others. I wasn't mean necessarily, I just never went the extra mile to make someone extra happy. I also used to be over critical and now I strive to be supportive, a good listener and encouraging to all people in my life.
Just like the classic saying goes, "treat people the way you want to be treated." Everyone appreciates positivity and happiness and the more you can share it with them, the more that you are practicing it and using happiness in your own life.
I learned to focus on the positive things I was doing, such as school, the gym and the relationships I'm in with other people. I let go of the negatives. This process is not easy, and is honestly still ongoing. Happiness is addicting. Believe in yourself and remember that your happiness is ultimately the most important thing in life and is always a choice you can make.