“Happiness comes from contentment.”
If we are not content, then of course, it is difficult to truly be happy.
Content: (adjective), satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.
Who you are versus who you intend to be.
What you have versus what you need.
Where you are now versus where you would like to be.
Going back a few years to a darker point in my life, when I was apt to severe anxiety and panic attacks, doubt and depression and an overall state of mental and emotional exhaustion, I knew something had to change. This wasn't me. I am not these negative attributes that one could easily use to describe me. As much as I let this negativity take over the greater portion of my well-being, there was still something deep inside screaming to be released. The better part of me, the self, the consciousness, the soul, the absolute most true version of me, hidden and pushed aside through spiritual neglect, taken over by the cares and worries of every day life.
There came a point when I realized I needed to have a heart to heart with myself to find the root of my unhappiness. I actually began to write a list of “pros” and “cons” in my life. This list included things like being with my wonderful boyfriend to living hundreds of miles from my family; having amazing and supportive friends to having a job that was constantly bringing me down. I proceeded to go through all areas of my life, writing both what made me happy versus what was negatively impacting my life. After writing this list, I held onto it for a good few weeks, referring to it every so often before finally deciding what I was going to do about it.
During these weeks, (because the universe works in mysterious ways), a friend of mine invited me to attend a guided meditation at the local Buddhist meditation center down the street. Being raised in the Christian church, I knew meditation would bring a sense of calm and serenity, but it wasn't until years after leaving the church did I make the correlation between God, the Universe, and my Inner-Self as one in the same. What an amazing experience this guided meditation was, sitting in absolute silence, breathing deep and allowing my mind to finally be still and quiet. I enjoyed the experience so much that I decided to return the following week, shortly thereafter making the decision to buy my first yoga mat and yoga DVD geared toward stress relief. Right from the start of my practice, I learned how emotionally intense and healing yoga and meditation can be.
Getting back to my list, it was time to begin eliminating some of the negative aspects of my life. First, I had to realize that not everything could be changed easily or right away. For example, living hundreds of miles from my immediate family, while it made me unhappy, was something that I had to learn to accept by reassuring myself that I am still loved by them no matter the distance and that if needed, they will be there for me anytime I call. What I needed to do was focus on the areas that I could change. For me, the biggest cause of my unhappiness was in my work situation. I realized that I was meant to do more, meant to do something that would make a bigger difference in the lives of others, and that the stress and anxiety caused from this particular job was absolutely holding me back from being the best version of myself that I could be. It was time to let go, to move on and continue on this journey of happiness through life.
After talking with my at-the-time boyfriend (and now amazing husband), the decision to leave my job made the most sense. He saw the absolute worst of my anxiety and knew where the bulk of it stemmed from, and thankfully supported my decision to move on. After following through and leaving my work situation, a huge sense of relief came over me. I knew this was the start of my healing journey and I still had a long way to go. However, sometimes the first steps toward change are the most difficult and I had finally taken mine. From that point on, my life became a whirlwind of change. There have been ups and downs, lessons to be learned, but where I am now and who I intend to be are becoming closer and closer with each day, as I continue to grow stronger mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
If you are going through a severe bout of unhappiness, I would absolutely recommend analyzing your life, making yourself a list to find any negative aspects that you may be able to change, and practicing meditation and/or yoga to calm and strengthen your heart and mind. You were put on this earth with so much potential and your unhappiness may just be your inner-self screaming to you that you need to change something in order to get back on track with your journey, to live the life you are meant to love.