Thursday, July 16, 2015

Finding happiness

Last weekend I posted a photo on Instagram with a rather lengthy caption (for me anyway).

It's just a snapshot of what's been going through my head lately.  That's what Instagram is for, right?  Just snapshots?  Right.  But I thought I should expound a little anyway.

A year ago, I was a completely different woman.  I had a lot of self-doubt, insecurities, and anxiety. I wasn't 100 percent happy with who I was or how my life was going.  Sure, I made the best of it and focused on the good things. I put on a good show for the most part, but acting happy when you aren't is exhausting. And causes even more anxiety and self-doubt.   It just becomes a vicious cycle.

Lately, I've been feeling very confident and fond of myself. Sure, I have room for improvement (and always will), but it seems I've finally decided I'm pretty awesome.  I've stepped out of my comfort zone more times than I can count, and I can't tell if these instances contributed to my confidence or were a bi-product. And maybe it doesn't really matter.  While I still have a few moments in which I'm unsure of myself, I've stopped assuming I'm unlikeable and undeserving.  I've stopped letting other people tell me who I am, and I'm deciding for myself. I'm defining who I am. I'm happy.

So what caused the change? A lot of things, I think. 

I think one contributing factor is just age. I've always been told I would change the way I look at things and myself in my thirties.  So far, that's been true.  At 34, I have a much better view of myself than I did at 24.

Secondly, I've put in the work. This wasn't an instantaneous switch.  I've been working on it for a while. I figured out the things that were bothering me -- I actually wrote out a list -- and evaluated them, deciding which ones I could fix and which ones were out of my control. I acted accordingly, working on the aspects I could change and either releasing or changing the way I looked at the things that were out of my control. I did all of this quietly.  And I did it mostly on my own. Occasionally I sought the help of people I trust (even though they were unaware they were helping me).  But it was mostly a solo project, as it should be. I'm responsible for me and my own happiness. I can't depend on anyone else for that.

Another factor is my busy schedule.  Working three jobs and being on committees seems crazy, but they've been part of my growth.  I've learned and advanced in my full-time job.  My part-time jobs have fed two of my biggest interests -- books and craft beer -- and they've helped me practice small talk with strangers.  I can honestly say I genuinely enjoy all the work I do.  My life is busy, but it's full.

Part B of the above reason is that my free time is at a premium.  I have so little time off from those three jobs, and I've made an effort not to waste it.  Sometimes that means sitting at home, binge watching "Everwood" or reading a book in one sitting. Sometimes it means going out -- with friends or by myself. Regardless, I've started focusing on the people who surround me. I'm choosing those who feed my joy instead of depleting it. I'm choosing the cheerleaders over the critics.  I'm choosing sunny skies over cloudy ones.  I know not every day is perfect and everyone has bad days, but I'm doing my best to stay away from sources of constant negativity.  I've worked hard to find this inner peace, and I'm not giving it up.

So ... that's the story behind my photo and my glow.  Thanks for indulging me and reading through these ramblings.  I hope they made a little sense.  I hope you can relate -- whether that's today or someday in the future -- because everyone deserves to be this happy.


  1. I love this!

    There really is something so comforting and settling about getting older. I'm glad you have been able to find joy in who you are and in the direction you're going and I know even more good things are coming your way.

  2. I love this so much. It can be really hard to find our own inner confidence that we feel comfortable with who we are. I am so happy you have found this, because the glow really does show!

  3. Amazing!!!! So happy you've found this happy place. It's hard to do but once you're there it's like you feel invincible. I love this post :) PS you look amazing in that first shot! It's true when they say confidence shows on the outside :)

  4. This made me smile while reading - I am glad to hear things are going well and positive and like you said, simply happy. Good for you Micah!


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