photo by Ben Heine.
My gratitude for life overwhelms me sometimes. I find myself crying tears of joy that this is my life now, that I am happy. I am happy. I felt so continuously bad about myself for so long that I really did not think happiness was possible for me. And now my happiness can stay present even in the darkness.
If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy. But if you make up your mind to be happy, no one and nothing on earth can take that happiness from you… Happiness comes, not by helplessly wishing for it, but by dreaming, thinking, and living it in all circumstances. — Paramahansa Yogananda
The key to happiness is having it in all circumstances, when things are going your way and when you wish you could fast forward through a painful experience. Be happy for it all, the dark and the light for both make up our joy. They are all our teachers.
My happiness started small. For a long time, it only expanded the width of my yoga mat but over time it grew. I slowly began to recognize my worth and let go of the people who did not value me and did not treat me well. I spent a lot of evenings alone, reading and practicing yoga, getting to know and understand myself. I did not realize that this solitude gave me the tools I needed to go within and find the happiness that was inside me all along. It gave me the space to meet wonderfully kind and loving people once I fully understand how to be my own happiness.
I can never regret my years of unhappiness because it led me to some of the things that I love the most: my work in the mental health field, my yoga and meditation practice, and my writing. I will never know how my life would have been if I had heard good things about myself at an early age, if someone had believed in me and told me how capable and worthy I was. That was not my story or my journey; I had to find those things on my own. It brings me so much joy to be able to tell you those things. I want you to know how capable you are. I want you to know how lovable you are. I want you to know that you are enough.
The only person you ever need to be enough for is yourself. That’s actually the only person you can ever be enough for because that is something we are each responsible for in our lives. You don’t need to impress people. You don’t need to let what others think of you bring you down. You don’t need to live for others. You don’t need to worry about their expectations. Those are their expectations. Let them live their life. Just be yourself and do your best and at the end of each day let go and start again with that same intention.