The Key to Happiness Discovering/Creating You and Embracing It

I sincerely believe the key to true happiness is truly knowing who you are and then embracing it. I don’t think that’s an easy task for some people. It hasn’t been for me. If you read my last blog “Accepting Who You Are” then you know I’ve struggled with it myself. There are so many things that can get in the way including: money, time, tragedies, people who have a negative influence on you and feelings of being lost or misunderstood etc… As I mentioned previously we have control over two things in our life: our thoughts and our actions. We have the power over our happiness. We can’t base it around what we have and what we don’t have. I found this quote awhile back and I found it really helped me.

“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” ― Gerard Way

I always thought that I would be happy when I had all these material possessions and then I would gain them, but still feel empty. Then I would find something new I needed to have to be happy. But, nothing made a significant change in my happiness.

I knew someone who was diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 23 and he fought it and it just kept coming back like 3 or 4 times. Doctors’ told him to give up, but he refused. He didn’t care about all the pain he had to suffer through every day he just wanted to live so badly it didn’t matter. He made a huge influence on so many people’s lives due to his will to live and be happy despite the hand he was dealt.

Once you realize you’re the only one who has power over your happiness the next step is to discover who you are and create the person you want to be. Take some time alone and think about what you love most in your life. Don’t just think it, write it all down. Write what you’re passionate about; write what you love about yourself, moments in your life you’re proud of, successes, write down your hobbies and your interests. When you feel bad about yourself and you’re having a crumby day, it will help to go back and read it. I’ve done it myself. You can also come up with a list of inspirational quotes. We can’t be happy all the time, but to feel happy most of the time is an excellent goal to have.

If you haven’t already you should also take the Brigg’s and Myers personality test: http://www.16personalities.com/. Read the in-depth descriptions of your personality to make sure it’s accurate. You would be surprised how much it helps. I also recommend you read StrengthFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. Make sure you get a new copy because otherwise you won’t be able to take the test that’s included. This will help show you your strengths and learn how to apply them.

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You have the power to create the best version of yourself!

When you truly understand who you are and what your strengths are then to be truly happy you need to take action! Embrace it. This might involve risks or even doing things outside of your comfort zone. It all depends on what your goals are. But, every day you should do one thing that makes you happy. Find hobbies or activities you can enjoy.

When you know who you are and your happy with yourself you will have a positive influence on the people around you. If you’ve noticed unhappy people often come off as being selfish and seem jealous. You need to surround yourself with positive people and remove any negative people from your life who refuse to change.

Love, is also essential to be truly happy. Love of friends, family or a significant other. It’s important that we listen to other people’s problems and show that we care because otherwise they won’t listen to us in return. To be happy you must also seek to make others happy.

Do you agree? What are your thoughts?

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Accepting Who You Are

I’ve been struggling with accepting who I am all my life. As a shy sensitive introvert I’ve always felt out of place in this world. I’ve never felt like I fit in. I had little to no self-esteem when I was growing up, made worse by the fact that people didn’t understand me. I’m a very private person and my parents never gave me the space I needed. I often felt trapped. If you read my “Solving Your Life Puzzle” post I touch more on this and my difficult childhood.

I always felt like I had such a complex personality and was often confused by my own emotions. When I would get angry at someone I would struggle on whether to share my feelings or ignore them. I was conflicted on how to handle different aspects of my life. I’ve also had a hard time making decisions. I’m completely driven by my emotions and worry how my decisions will reflect my future emotions.

When I took psychology in high school I learned that I operate equally with both my left brain and my right brain. Learning this helped me to realize why I was so confused by my own personality. I also took the Briggs and Myers personality test and learned that I’m an INFJ. I remember when I walked up to the teacher to hand in my test he said my personality type was very rare. I knew I was different, but I didn’t know what to do with it at the time. When I’m faced with the challenge of being me I often think about that moment. Just yesterday I ran across a blog of someone who is also an INFJ. I had never seen such a long description describing this personality type and I couldn’t believe how much it described me. I just had to write this post after seeing it. If you’re interested you can read more about INFJ’s on her blog: http://truthloveunity.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/my-personality-type-infj/

Reading how I’m an INFJ and my personality type is the rarest kind of makes me feel special. After years of struggling with my self-confidence; these last few months I’ve finally started embracing who I am. I’ve always felt the pressure to change who I am to fit in and find a place in this world. I’m my biggest critic of myself and I’m often really hard on myself. I’m struggling right now because I know I should be doing other things right now, but all I want to do is write. I’ve ignored my drive to write for a long time and when I’m compelled to write it’s often when I’m busy doing something else. Like in high school I wrote poetry when I was suppose to be paying attention in class. But, I’ve learned that writing is a part of me. The problem is once I start I won’t stop or rest until all my words flow out of me. I can’t stand any interruptions because I know I might lose my train of thought.

What I’ve started to realize is there’s nothing more important than accepting who you are and being happy with it. I went to this networking event where a speaker said “You have control of only two things in your life and two things only! Your thoughts and your actions.” I’ve become a happier person through learning more about myself and accepting the bad with the good. The thing is we create the world we live in. The world is the way it is because we perceive it that way and because we take action in deciding how we want to live our lives.

I get so bored lately with my life and I want to change things, but the income isn’t there to do what I want. I’m trying to find a way to make money in this tough economy and I’m the most determined person I know, but yet I still struggle. Lately I find myself daydreaming about living a different life. Which upsets me but also makes me wonder what will really bring my spirit to life? What kind of career would make me excited to get out of bed every morning?

After writing this I’ve just come up with three more ideas on blog posts. I just can’t seem to stop my train of thought. I plan to write one on how to discover/create who you are and accept it as a follow up to this one.

That’s all for now. Hope to hear from you.

Valentine’s Day: More than a “Hallmark Holiday!”

ImageYou may view Valentines’ Day as just a “hallmark holiday” as many do; or maybe you’re like me and love to celebrate love. Even if you’re single and you don’t want to be you must still have love in your life. You must have some friends or family members you love or pets that show you unconditional love. You can share the holiday with them or you can share the holiday with people who have no one. Take part in a charitable event or visit a nursing home. Delight in the fact that you have people who love you!

Remember when you were a kid and you would pick out your favorite cartoon or Disney movie Valentine cards (at least for my generation)?  It was fun even when you had to give Valentine’s out to the kids you didn’t particularly like. I was always super excited to read my Valentine’s! I remember one year we had to write down something we liked about everyone in our class and that was hard. But, it made everyone incredibly happy. I mean how often do you get the many compliments in a day?

Why make Valentine’s Day about the love you don’t have in your life? When you can embrace the love you do have. Don’t we all love compliments, gifts and the feeling of knowing someone cares’?

Back in college I had one of those Valentine’s Days that was right after a big break up with a guy that I had been dating for a couple years where I was all sad and whiny. My best friend was single and upset over a break up and we decided to have an “I Hate Valentine’s Day Party” in our dorm room. It actually ended up just being the two of us and we were drinking. Looking back on it, we did celebrate the day it’s not like we ignored it. We had each other and we mourned together and that’s what we needed. That’s what love is about having someone who cares about you and being able to share in the same feelings. I’m glad we didn’t ignore the holiday. But, looking back on it I’m not proud of looking at in a hateful way.

As you might know from my previous post I’m married and it’s just the two of us and our kitty. As a young married couple with no kids we tend to make a big deal when Valentines’ Day comes around. I know some people see it as annoying having to buy gifts to show how much you love one another. I’ve also heard people say “Why do we need Valentine’s Day? Shouldn’t we be showing how much we love our significant other every day of the year?” and the answer is yes! But, if you ask me the person saying that is usually the person who isn’t! Correct me if I’m wrong on this.

If you have this perspective you are missing the point of Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day is not about gifts and if you feel pressured to buy expensive gifts then I do feel sorry for you. I personally love spending money on my husband and spoiling him. I love that holidays give me an excuse to do so. But, we don’t buy expensive gifts. I tell him each year to make me something because I will appreciate that even more. That requires time and creativity and makes the holiday more fun! This year his present to me was a really great massage in front of the fireplace with spa music, spa oils and heated stones and it lasted about an hour. I loved it.

Let’s be realistic. How often do we stop and reminisce about when we first fell in love and how awesome it was? If you’re a young couple probably more frequently, but if you’ve been married for 25 years probably not much. Our anniversaries and Valentine’s Day is that time to look back. It’s that time to pull out an old photo album, look at cards or share and laugh about memories from the past. We might kiss and hug our significant others every day and exchange multiple “I love you’s.” But, a lot of times things just become routine and we don’t think about how truly lucky we are. I can tell you my husband and I talk about how lucky we are quite frequently, but we still appreciate showing it through romantic gestures on Valentine’s Day.

If you found love then you should cherish it and remember what it was like to find that person. Remember how life was before you had them in your life. Embrace Valentine’s Day and LOVE every day of the year!

I also encourage you to read the history of Valentine’s Day if you haven’t in the past: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine’s_Day

I encourage you to comment. Share your perspective on Valentine’s Day.

First Impression? or First & Last Impression?

I’m not the person you think I am upon first meeting me.

I’m not good with 1st impressions in any aspect of my life. When people meet me they think they can see right through me or I just confuse them enough that they don’t want to bother. I’m a very complex person and have a rather unique personality. I’m also quite unpredictable, which is something I enjoy about myself and do not wish to change.

I don’t have a large group of friends and it can be difficult for me to make new friends. Which is rough sometimes, but usually I don’t really care. It does upset me however when people are quick to judge me and not quick to get to know me. I have a great deal of self-confidence and love to joke and laugh and try all sorts of new things. I’m not a shy or quiet person once you know me.

When my husband first met me he thought I was shy, quiet and innocent. Somewhat of a girly girl and he was completely wrong! After he took the time to get to know me he realized I’m loud, not afraid to speak my mind, adventurous and unpredictable. But, still a girly girl but just as much a tom-boy. He was surprised! And liked me even more once he realized I wasn’t the girl he initially thought I was.

The thing with 1st impressions is they are usually not accurate, but people rely on them anyway. I’m the type of person you’re not going to get to really know unless you try. I only open up to my closest friends and family. But, it’s not that I don’t make the effort. I always make an effort to get to know people and let them get to know me.

No matter what my first impression of someone is I always remind myself to not make it the last impression. They always get a second chance and I always try to find common ground. You never know who you’ll meet and you’ll never know who they are unless you make the effort to find out.

In society you are expected to make good 1st impressions and if you’re not good at it you have to learn, because it’s the only way to succeed in a job interview. It’s the only way to move up in many scenarios in life.

Just because society won’t accept me the way I am: doesn’t mean I’ll change. I can only adapt to the way things are. I don’t want be anyone else. I am who I am and that’s who I want to be.

What do people think about you when they first meet you? Is it accurate? or who are you really?

Solving Your Life Puzzle

When I was young I was so incredibly afraid of the world. I wish I could say that has now changed. But, it’s more like a different viewpoint that causes me to fear the world now. When I was a kid it was not knowing or understanding it, and now I fear the world because I understand it.

When I was a kid, I didn’t want to be a kid. I wanted to be an adult, but not for the responsibility. I was creative and inventive and loved playing games, making up games and acting silly. I was a fun, wild and free spirit while at home. But, I wanted control of my life. I think more than anything I just wanted to not be afraid of life and all the people around me. I was extremely sensitive, shy and often felt alone as if I was watching the world from the outside looking in. I would spend many hours just day dreaming about falling in love, even though I was only 8 years old. I wanted to find someone who would understand me.

Some people miss being a kid because it was a time of innocence, lack of responsibility and little to no stress. It was a time when life was easier. I think about when I was a kid and wonder about how it’s effected who I am today. I never miss it. I was a shy kid, an introvert, sensitive and incredibly insecure. Not sure if the insecurity was always there or it was brought out by becoming the kid that everyone picked on. The things that kids say is more hurtful then anything an adult could say or do to you. I’ve never felt more emotional pain then when the kids in elementary school made me feel like an outcast. Even with friends I was still the center of a lot of bullying. It didn’t help that looking back I was pretty sure I had ADHD (inattentive: which is marked by impaired attention and concentration). All the signs were there and I remember how much I tried to pay attention, but then I was just zone out. I would stare off into space and kids would wave their hand in front of me thinking I was staring at them. I then had to deal with a teacher who pointed it out every time, embarrassing me in front of the rest of the kids in my class. Most of my teacher’s notes even mentioned it and yet instead of seeing that problem they put me in speech class because I was shy. So, then I missed class time and worried about falling behind. I finally begged my Mom to remove me from it and she did. I told my Mom I had ADHD years later and she was in complete denial, she refused to believe that there was ever anything wrong with me. Which makes me so angry looking back on it. Being an introvert and shy I think it was probably hard for me to constantly be in a crowd of people as well.

By middle school 2 out of the 3 close friends I made ended up turning into bullies. But, that one friend who became my best friend was the one who got me through it all. To this day she still understands me better than anyone else.

By high school things got easier I was rarely picked on, I was more attentive to what I was learning, my self-confidence grew and I had a lot more friends. I then began to write poetry (if you could call it that) and between that and my art classes I had a way of channeling my emotions creatively. My grades were better in high school than both elementary school and middle school.

High school was still tough though. I lived in a small house and little to no privacy from my family. My Mom was exceptionally annoying, would never leave me alone and was very controlling. I had my own room and it didn’t even matter. I would spend so much time screaming at her and then not even 30 minutes later she would act like everything was perfect. I could go on and on about it, but I won’t in this post.

I had a lot of fun times and unforgettable memories from my childhood, especially with my best friend. I even had a boyfriend in high school who I stupidly decided to date although he had the same personality type as me. In fact he was more insecure than me, which at the time was tough to beat. But, I was a hopeless romantic and it made high school and my family life easier to manage.

I look back on my childhood and I wonder what I can learn from it. Like maybe there’s some missing puzzle piece that could explain something about myself that I don’t already know. Because maybe my childhood could have effect on the person I am today? Or because it could contain some idea of who I should be or what I should be doing?

I’ve changed. But, many of my personality traits are still the same. As I mentioned in my first post I’m still an introvert, a sensitive person and can come across as shy. This isn’t how I choose to define myself, but it’s qualities I consistently come back to as being a part of me and usually having a negative effect on my life. Even though, I have become less shy, less sensitive and less of an introvert.

How can I truly embrace who I am?

If you read this, I hope to hear from you. I encourage you to comment and share your thoughts.