Everyone wants to be happy. But after reflecting on the hundreds of conversations I’ve had in 2016, something became quite clear to me…
A lot of people don’t feel happy on a day-to-day basis. And that’s devastating to me.
So, my goal is to make 2017 the year where you find lifelong happiness.
I know that sounds presumptuous. What the hell does a 29-year-old know about making you happy?
I’m not claiming I’ve singlehandedly made some amazing discovery — the path to happiness has been researched for millennia.
And everywhere you look, the advice always comes back to YOU.
Your self-respect. Self-reliance. Self-compassion. Self-acceptance.
Yes, the key to happiness is learning to fall madly in love with yourself.
What a novel idea! But stay with me…I’m not trying to preach some abstract, new-age way of drinking the kool-aid.
Happiness is a daily practice of appreciating everything you are and coming to terms with everything you aren’t.
Happiness is a constant commitment to developing your sense of self and being true to that. You have to discover who are you, what you stand for, what you desire, what you need, where your strengths lie, and where you can grow.
You do that by waking up every day and making decisions that align with your core values. Or at least, attempting to and learning from those choices to make more fulfilling choices next time.
It’s being vulnerable to take those actions even when you’re terrified and uncertain of the outcome.
Because every time you follow that path of congruence, you will reinforce a deeper appreciation and respect for yourself. Every time you don’t, you’re convincing yourself that who you are isn’t worth anything.
All the money, women, power, and attention in the world can’t fix your self-worth. It may make life easier or less stressful at times, but it’s not a guaranteed path to fulfillment. I’ve met way too many people who are miserable yet have all those things. And I know many more who are satisfied with the little they do have.
So you have to PRIORITIZE and INVEST in your fulfillment. (And you should want that for everyone else, too.) You have to seek out experiences and connections that are meaningful to you.
That may feel impossible at times. It’s so easy to doubt ourselves and think we’re not worthy of love or belonging. We get hung up on our faults, our failures, what we don’t have, and what we haven’t yet accomplished — and begin to hate ourselves because of it.
But all that is not a reflection of who we really are. They are all a combination of luck, circumstance, mistakes, and factors that are out of our control.
You still need love yourself despite all that. Just like you love your mother who’s brought shitty boyfriends home in the past. Or your dog who took a big crap on your favorite rug. You accept them with your whole heart even though they may be “imperfect”.
If you can do it for them, you can do it for yourself.
I was poor for 7 years. I had to stop my education to support my family and I don’t have a degree. I’m shorter than average. I had growth hormone deficiency growing up and I could’ve been taller but I didn’t take all my shots. I used to be an emotionally controlling jerk in my relationships. I wasn’t the greatest friend.
I’ve had many regrets, things I hated about myself, and missteps along the way. Yet, I’ve come to terms with all of that and found peace within myself.
Because all those “negatives” are in the past or out of your control now. They don’t dictate who you are today or who you can become. You can always change or adapt.
You are what you try to put into this world and how you try to treat others. You are the character you embody. You are the individual thoughts, opinions, and values that make up just you and nobody else.
You are who you strive to be now. That’s what makes you valuable along with every other individual on the planet.
But you have to see it for yourself. You have to want to experience it for yourself.
And that’s why I’m BEGGING you to focus on making yourself happy this year. I want to shake the shit out of every single person who’s struggled with self-doubt, self-loathing, anxiety, and shame, and just say, “Love yourself, damn it!!”
I want you to promise not to me, but to yourself, that in 2017 you will aim to do things like…
- Spend more time with people who show you love and walk away from those who don’t. Stop chasing the attention or validation of those who endlessly flake on you.
- Defeat your negative inner critic. Praise your efforts every single day even when you’re struggling or the results aren’t there yet.
- Show yourself compassion when you make mistakes — you’re a person, not a machine.
- Take care of your health so your body takes care of you. This is not an option. If you want better energy, better moods, less pain, and a longer life…you can’t delay this anymore.
- Speak your opinions and interests to other people with passion and pride. Don’t hide who you are just because someone may not like the real you. Seek those who appreciate or at least respect your individuality.
- Work towards joining an employer that sees your value or find a career that engages. If that’s not feasible due to your current situation, take up a personally rewarding hobby on the side.
- Join classes or attend events that challenge your growth and provide you with new skills to make your life easier.
- Get help for your addictions or depression and accept that it is not weak to need support. It’s a sign of real courage.
- Stop wasting time and settling for people you know aren’t right for you. Value your time over the quick gratification of fleeting romantic interest.
- Let go of the grudges that prevent you from repairing relationships that matter to you. Reach back out to those people and show them you still care. Give them a heartfelt apology.
- Do everything you can to overcome your social anxiety. Work towards meeting new women or friends regularly and build an abundance of significant connections for your lifetime.
No other resolution matters if you can’t find a way to love yourself.
If you don’t love yourself, you can’t be happy. It’s as simple as that. And no one else can love the real you if you don’t get there first.
This may sound terrifying but it shouldn’t be. The path to happiness is embracing whoever you truly are. That should be liberating and empowering.
You don’t need to find who that person is overnight. You can take this whole coming year to work towards it. This is the beginning of your lifetime journey for happiness.
When you make decisions that are NOT congruent to your core values, take note. Write them down if you have to. Then, come up with manageable ways to start making more personally rewarding choices — one by one.
The more you start acting in your best interest, the more you will naturally start thinking about your own fulfillment at every crossroads in your life. Before you know it, you’ll be the happiest person you know.