A couple years ago I realized for the first real time that I have spent my entire life putting my self-worth in everything but myself. What a simple thought that has the power to revolutionize my life, revolutionize other people’s lives.
I wonder how many people have come to terms with the idea that they’ve spent their entire lives putting their worth and value in all the wrong things? How many people out there are putting their worth in their significant other or their friends or their social status or their achievements or degrees or piles of money? How many people have to numb their pain with alcohol or drugs or cigarettes because to touch the raw nerve that is our true self would be too painful to bear?
I finally saw once and for all that I have spent my life putting my worth and value as a human being in everything, absolutely everything except in myself, as I should have been doing, and for that reason I had been plagued with happiness that was conditional on all the things in which I placed my worth being sturdy and steadfast and okay.
I spent the better part of middle school spending way too much time obsessing about my appearance and feeling fat and ugly and acne-ridden and unworthy. In reality I wasn’t really any of these things, for the most part anyway, but because I believed this to be true right down to the core of my being, I was nothing because my appearance was so wrong, so out of whack, so messed up and messy.
As I grew older I came to appreciate my appearances and appreciate that I had a strong, (mostly) healthy body and I wasn’t going to starve myself to look like the so-called role models society has impressed upon us. I grew to love my flaws and imperfections and come to terms with the temporary nature of acne and skin issues and felt immediately grateful for the presence of something as trivial as pimples when I had to have a skin biopsy at the age of sixteen (definitely benign). In that way my small insecurities about my appearance were put into perspective.
In high school I thought the secret to happiness was having good friends and making good grades and being generally well-liked by everyone. I made lots of superficial friends and was a people pleaser to the inth degree but I still wasn’t happy. Then whenever my friends would snub me or “forget” to invite me to something or decide I wasn’t “enough” to be worth their kindness, my happiness from having friends was destroyed because I was chasing after such conditional states.
In college I thought I could find happiness through having the right friends, through dating, through belonging to a group, through having a prestigious major and being accepted into a prestigious school, through partying and going out. These things brought temporary happiness and joy but not the unconditional level of happiness that I was truly seeking.
And now at twenty-two years old, after many years of chasing after all the wrong “things” and hoping I could diet, makeup, befriend, ace tests, goal-set, or date my way to happiness, I have realized finally that happiness is not something that you find or chase, happiness is something that is always inside you. It is a simple, conscious choice you make each day.
Day in and day out, you must choose to be happy, for your own sake. You deserve it.