When I was 9 years old, my mom and I were standing outside by a concession stand and I caught myself staring at this woman, studying her. She was maybe 40 years old but looked 60, caved in cheeks, wearing a spaghetti strap dirty shirt, no teeth, coughing constantly with a cigarette in her hand. I mentioned before, that my brain has always been wired a little differently since the passing of my father. So the question I asked my mom was not what you would expect a typical 9 year old to ask.
Looking at this woman I processed an unfortunate and unhealthy lifestyle with lots of pain and suffering. I asked “Mom, how do I know I won’t look like that when I grow up?”. Her response was short and quick “Well, I guess you just never know.” After that moment I grew up concerned, unsure of how I was going to turn out (not discriminating against any smokers, just keep reading).
Whether you think this picture looks cool or disgusting I am going to give you a reality check that social media, media in general for that fact, WILL NOT give you (this is wondering off topic a bit but necessary to include). During this time in my life I had never felt so lost and afraid. I weighed about 105 pounds, told my kids to “Hold on” every time I needed a smoke break, not to mention how little my self worth was and I had no direction. It is okay to hit rock bottom, as long as you recognize it, get up, and do something.
Taking a look at this picture…Which one do you think I posted on social media?… Correct! The one on the left. But in fact, the one on the right was my reality behind the scenes. You can post whatever you want and put on an act for as many people as you want. But right now, no matter where you are in life, I want you to accept that you are capable of becoming better than what you are right now. I have found a few effective methods that will get you moving forward and get you places you never thought you were capable of. Those happy successful looking pictures can actually become your reality.
- Discover your vision. Right now, or right after you finish the article, write down what your perfect day looks like. Have you ever done that? Seriously, think about what your perfect day would look like, because if you haven’t thought about it and it hits you in the face one day, you might just let it pass by and go back to your average or even typical “bad days”. Who are you with? What time do you get up? What do you eat? What do you smell? Envision no financial limitations. How do you end your night with joy and peace? After you write it down share it with your husband, significant other, best friend, mom (someone important that genuinely cares about your well being). This simple task just allowed you to take control and choose your path. Then, create a vision board. Mine is pictured below. Your vision board should have pictures, words, places, people that direct you to your dreams and perfect day. Hang it somewhere where you will see it everyday. In just a few short months you will see things in your life slowly start to brighten and be what YOU CHOSE it to be.
Write this down somewhere where you will see it often, “Choose your path before it chooses you”. Having a vision board alone is going to set you apart from a world of average people.
I look at this picture of me 3 years ago and I barely even know who that person is because of how quickly I dropped the cigarette and sprinted to my vision. And you are going to get that same opportunity when you choose to discover YOUR vision!
2. Get to know yourself. I have attached self-help books that I have used to get to know myself as well as journaling. Self awareness is going to allow you to pick out things you like and don’t like and do something about it.
I might need my husbands approval before publishing this but I am going to use him as an example. My husband is 28, masculine built, has a masters degree, a great dad, and we still have hours of conversation about who he is, what makes him happy, what colors make him feel attractive, what environments inspire him, why does he make certain facial expressions, why do certain situations make him tick? Getting to know yourself takes a lot of constant work and attention and it is COMPLETELY necessary. I am fortunate enough to say that I have been journaling since I was 9 and now know A LOT about myself to the very core. I know what sets me off, what makes me cry, and what brings me absolute joy. THIS is why I am sharing this blog with you. There are rich people of all ages still seeking therapy, trying to understand who they are. So do not delay learning who you are and being true to yourself. Once you do this, it will get easy to turn down opportunities and situations that do not align with what you want for yourself and begin moving forward on the path that YOU chose.
As a human race we feel entitled to constantly be entertained. Turn off the TV, turn off the music, drop the phone, and pick up a pen and notebook. Pick up a book. Do something that will bring personal development and understanding within you.
3. Change your environment. After a few weeks of doing these things you are going to find yourself on a different level of happiness that miserable people do not know how to understand. That roommate, friend, family member that is constantly talking negative and talking down about people…They got to go. I have always been a dreamer. Like I said, got it from my dad. I am also an open book, which I consider to be a strength but in this case…CLOSE YOUR BOOK and hold it dear to you. Negative people do not need to hear about your dreams and aspirations you’re already busy enough trying to fight off that negative voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough. So keep your efforts in positive light. This includes moving, cutting people off, switching jobs, or even a break up. If you ignore this step and 10 years later you come back and comment here and say you still aren’t living your dream, I am going to tell you that it is because you threw it in the trash for someone else’s comfort. This is about YOU and YOU only. (I will explain why this isn’t selfish a little later, just stay with me).
4. Serve others. This is my opinion and statistics do back it up, but I also believe you have to live a life of SERVING OTHERS to be truly happy. This can be a complicated step and I will most likely have a separate article to cover serving others but for now, get in the zone, repeat steps 1, 2, and 3, start looking for people you can serve! Some of us can grasp the first 3 steps really quickly, others maybe not, but you WILL get there! And YOU WILL be successful!
These 4 steps will become your way of life and a pattern of happiness. Every drop of effort IS worth your happiness. Begin your path and purpose that YOU chose yourself.
I DO KNOW if I will or will not be like that woman in line at the concession stand because I get to CHOOSE my path before it chooses me.
Love you all!
(Please share your vision boards and success stories! We can all learn from each other!)