The Art of Happiness

This year has been so impactful on my overall outlook on life, understanding of love, & definition of success.

One of the things I wish I could change about myself is how I’m constantly over analyzing and trying to make sense of things. I wish I could just roll with the punches, take things one step at a time, and be happy with what I have. Instead, I’m always trying to think in the long-term, yet a lot of the choices I end up making yield short-term returns.

I’m good at a lot of things, but one of the things I’m really bad at is taking charge of my own happiness. I think it’s because finding happiness isn’t a skill – it’s an art. It takes real creativity to see the beauty in everything and to realize the positive side to any situation. If everyone thought logically, no one would be completely content. We are all going to have goals – even once you reach a certain point, you’ll still want more. There will always be something missing. The important part is that you realize where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. Being happy is a choice, not something that comes naturally.

The other day, a friend of mine told me something really sweet.  She said:

“Gosh Kat, you’ve worked hard as long as I’ve known you, and now you have the perfect life.  I’m so glad to see that you have a sexy, well-paying job, good relationships with your friends, and now you have the perfect boyfriend – you have everything you’ve always wanted.  You inspire me to get my act together and work toward my dreams.”

This felt really good to hear.

But while I know I am in a great place, and I have a lot to be thankful for, my life is not a fairy tale.  I may project it to be perfect, but it isn’t, because I’m not perfect either.  I’ve made plenty of selfish mistakes, hurt dozens of people, and spend a good two minutes every single day regretting some things I can no longer change – and it’s probably safe to say that I’m still paying the price for those decisions.  I just don’t share how broken I truly am because I think it’s important to always stay as positive as you can be.

Behind everyone’s success story is an equally unglamorous one.  Nothing in this world is free – the most rewarding aspects of life require lots of hard work, discipline and commitment.  The two people in a happy couple went through a lot of struggle, past failed relationships, and heartbreak to get to the point of stability and understanding where they are.  An athlete may have been born with natural talent, but also needed to make a lot of sacrifices in order to train to the level of skill they are now.  The CEO of a prosperous company could have possibly led multiple failed start-ups before finally creating something that could compete in the market.

My point is, life is life.  Realize that some people get dealt better cards than others in this game of life, but ultimately it still takes a lot of strategy, skill, and commitment to facilitate the best outcome for yourself.  You’ll have to make trade-offs and give up a lot of things you love, but just keep telling yourself that in the end it’ll be worth it.  You’ll make decisions that you’ll regret, but it’s important to accept that what’s done is done, and move on.  You’ll have times when you feel like a complete failure, but you also have to realize your self-worth and look at how much you have accomplished.

I think the people who are successful and happy are the ones who are just as proud of their accomplishments as they are of surviving hell and back to get there.  It’s important to stay humble, and remember where you came from – everyone is working as hard as you are to create their happy ending, and the degree to which you are able to accomplish your goals depends on your personal drive combined with your family and friends who make up your support system, and sometimes just pure luck.  Opportunities don’t always just fall into your lap, but when they do, don’t take them for granted.

Consistent with all my other posts, my thoughts are all over the place…  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m thankful for every aspect of my life.  I wouldn’t undo any of the mistakes I’ve made over the last couple of years, and I wouldn’t take back any of the challenging times when I felt defeated, because if none of it happened, I wouldn’t be where I am today.  But I also wouldn’t wish the pain I felt on anyone else… Some people, like myself, just need to learn everything the hard way.

And at this point, I think I’m the best person I ever was because of it all.  I’m still working toward building my own happily ever after – I may not deserve it yet, and it’ll take me a lot more work to achieve than all the other good people out there.  But I’ll get there, because I know I’m capable of getting anything I want.  I think that’s something to be proud of. 🙂

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