Sometimes finding true happiness isn’t always as simple as you may think. Here is my story of how I achieved total happiness.
I used to think that happiness was buying a new, latest luxury ‘must-have’ or having a wild night out with the girls. But now at the ripe old age of 26, I think I’m starting to learn that the real place to find happiness in the simpler things; the small stuff. So, without further ado here are the three steps that I took to find happiness.
Step 1 – SELF LOVE / DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO ANYONE.
This step sounds in theory and perhaps the simplest, however, to me in was one of the hardest. Growing up, I’m not saying that I was the total ‘ugly duckling’ nor am I saying that I was destined to be ‘Britain’s Next Top Model’. However, I’m sure like most teens out there, I had moments where I was super self-conscious and often found I was comparing myself to friends in the changing rooms before game class or when getting ready for the school discos.
As I grew into my late teen and even into my twenties, I found that it wasn’t just friends that I was comparing myself with, now it was celebrities and Victoria Secret Models! Why I didn’t look like them? Why wasn’t my life as great as theirs? Why couldn’t I do everything that the did?
I tried every diet known to woman, ranging from juice detoxes to eating nothing but rice cakes for three days! I even investigated and booked myself in for plastic surgery! Looking back, I want to kick myself, but at the time I completely believed that that was what I needed to do to truly love myself and what I saw in the mirror each day.
Even with all the crazy diets and extensive exercise plans I followed, I still wasn’t happy despite delivering an Oscar winning performance in front of my friends and family. Finally, one day I broke down in tears while in the shower, devastated that despite everything I’d tried, I still didn’t have the perfect life. Honestly, that was the longest shower of my life! Dragging myself out I stood butt naked and stood in front of the mirror and just stared at myself. Right then and there I said enough is enough! No more diets and pushing my body to extremes. It’s time to learn how to love what I have and find happiness within myself. About a year down the line, I haven’t gone back to my old ways. I wake up each morning happy with what I see. Yes, I still go the gym and yes, I still semi-watch what I eat. However now I feel that I have found a perfect balance. I’m happy on the inside and out.
STEP 2 – LEARN TO OPEN UP.
For me learning how to open up wasn’t just about talking about my emotions, I have always been able to express how I’m feeling; it was more about, learning how to open up within a relationship. After losing my Mum I had a VERY messy break up with my long-term boyfriend of three years who decided to up and move countries, while I was at the undertaker’s two days before my Mum’s funeral. It’s safe to say that I built a MASSIVE protective wall around myself.
Confused and heartbroken, I thought that if I found that perfect boyfriend then I would finally be happy. Countless Tinder dates later I was still no closer. I will never kiss and tell but yes, I did have some fun and I met some amazing people, some I still speak to and grab a coffee with every now and then. It goes without saying I did have rather a lot of bad dates. Without going into much detail. I will tell you about one which I never forget.
This is the story of, let’s call him (Mike). I met Mike early one the morning on the tube. I was heading to the gym for my daily training session. He was very well dressed in a Hugo Boss suit, dark hair and dazzling green eyes. We locked glances and he asked me then and there for dinner that night. We exchanged numbers and he jumped off at the next stop. Looking back, I should have known better, but in my quest for total happiness and finding that ‘perfect’ guy, I was over the moon. We planned to meet at a local pizza restaurant for 7pm that night. I was panic stations; I moved everything I had planned, booked in for hair, nails and went shopping for that killer outfit. I was convinced his was the one. 7pm came and I was dressed and ready to meet my Mr Right.
He turned up looking drop dead gorgeous. I was like a school kid didn’t know what do with myself. We ordered starters and mains (clearly, I thought it was going well with 2 courses ordered). Chatting away about one another’s life the starters arrived. Then all out-of-the-blue he stood up, and looking me up and down with some weird hand gestures he blurted out, “I’m sorry, but this is just not for me!”, turned and left! I was heartbroken and faced with the reality that someone ‘out-there’ could be that cruel and emotionless.
I swore to myself that night, that that was the end of my dating life. I ended up building my already massive protective wall even higher and now threw in a moat for good measure. After a while, it struck me, it’s all well and good me having a massive wall to hide behind that meant I’d never get hurt but, that self-same wall was causing me to miss out. To miss out on that feeling of knowing that someone would always be by my side to support my mad ideas and to laugh with then they went wrong. To miss out on having that someone to ask, “how was your day?”. So, slowly but surely, brick-by brink my wall has started to come down. The first brick was without doubt the hardest remove but, each day that goes by, one more brick comes down. However, I’m still tempted to keep the moat, you know, just in case. So, I guess my message would be, “no matter how big your wall is or, why it’s there in the first place, it’s never too late (or too soon) to start taking it down”.
STEP 3 – FINDING YOUR PURPOSE
Out of all the steps I have been trying to put in place on my journey to find true happiness, this is the step has taken the longest to fully understand.
Unlike most of my amazing friends and family they all seem to have their lives planned out and their own goals. However, I have always felt that my path has never been clear. It goes right back to when I was at school. Choosing GCSEs; all my friends knew exactly what to choose to help them on their path to getting into the right uni. I never had that. I knew that I loved sport, dance and cooking but I never had a clear idea or life plan. Yes, I did OK at school and managed to achieve grades that I was proud off, but in all honesty, I was never happy at school. With my dyslexia I found reading and writing harder than others. Which in hand really knocked my confidence.
So, I made the choice to not go to uni and to continue studying what I loved, sport, in particular outdoor sports such as; rocking climbing, abseiling and kayaking. As a result, I had a real mixture of jobs, some great fun, others, less so. And do you know what, I had some amazing adventures and have some unbelievable stories. The fact is, I never woke up each morning with that buzz of going to work and pushing myself. While all my friends were ‘living the dream’ at uni and becoming for independent, I wasn’t. As I mentioned in my last blog, I made the move to London and, without wanting to sound totally cheesy, it felt like I was on my path to finding my true purpose. I think I was right.
I know that I haven’t necessarily found my true purpose yet and there’s still a lot to discover on the way. I do know that now, having taken the recent leap-of-faith to make blogging my fulltime activity, I wake up each morning with the buzz. Surely that’s a great step on the way to realising my true purpose?