You may have heard the common saying, “You have to love yourself first.” These clichés are just that, but there is truth to them. In The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith, it meant a fight to become stable financially. More importantly, his character focused on teaching his son very valuable lessons of not ever giving up, love, and trust.
With any decision you make, many times, you already can feel if the decision you’re making is right for you. I once knew a decision was so wrong for me, that thinking about actually choosing to do it gave me the most vivid nightmare I have had in years—that kind that wakes you up in the middle of the night, and you aren’t sure if you’re still dreaming or not. I did not choose to take that path. The content of the dream was very related, and that was enough of a message for me. The path I was already on was making me happy, and I chose to stay on it.
What can you do to lead yourself down a path of feeling good about yourself, and your decisions? That is a road that has questions along it that only you can answer for yourself, but here are some things you can try in your personal pursuit of happiness.
Pay attention to your gut. Your intuition, or your gut feeling, really is trying to tell you something. If you have a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that something is wrong for you, you are probably right. If it is uncomfortable, effects your sleep--bringing up anxiety, or depression--it may be time to take a different path to something that makes you feel comfortable, healthy, allows you to sleep at night, feel at ease, and makes you happy.
Realize when it is not your fault. Many things are passed down to us, intentional or not. Maybe you grew up with someone that had low self esteem, or didn’t teach you how to be proud of yourself, or confident in your decisions. Just like mental health concerns, low self esteem, and not being happy or comfortable with yourself, can be passed down. That does not mean you cannot take steps to find out what can make you happy.
Try new things. Is there anything that you enjoyed growing up that you might want to get back to? Is there anything that you always wanted to try, but haven’t? Is there a person you admire for what they do, and you’d love to try the same? Have you ever thought, “If only I could do that.”? The first time you try something new, it may take a hold of you instantly; or you may enjoy it, but it might take practice to become good at it. Know that taking baby steps in the right direction for you, is better than not taking any steps at all.
Question yourself. Oftentimes, instead of pleasing ourselves, we can tend to try to please others, or do something that we think will make them proud of us. Maybe you once enjoyed something, but not anymore. You can apply this to anything and everything--your career choice, activities you engage in, people that are in your life, where you live, or even the way you have your house decorated.
- What will truly make you happy?
- Is your environment, and those you chose to be in it, adding to your life, or taking away from you?
- What energizes you?
- What would give you the identity that would make you proud of yourself?
Those are some big questions. Yet, taking time to answer them can lead you down a path to what makes you authentically happy and comfortable with you. Once you have the questions answered, make a list of steps that you can take to get you there, and how having your answers will change the way you feel about yourself.
Once you start to have an idea of how to get where you want to be, you’ll start to feel more happy and fulfilled. As you begin to feel happier, those around you will start to notice your changes. If the people in your life are right for you, this will most likely make them feel happier too. So, don't ever give up, love yourself first, and trust your journey.
Raising your self esteem, and becoming happy is not something that happens overnight. It takes time and effort. Please feel free to reach out to me if you feel you would like assistance through your process.
1. Pay attention to your gut.
2. Realize when it is not your fault.
3. Try new things.
4. Question yourself.