“Life is too short to be anything but happy”
My mom whispered this into my ear back in the fall of 2015 when I was miserable at my “dream school”, and to be quite honest, I think it is the most truthful thing I’ve ever heard.
Think about it; how much are we living our lives and contributing to our community if we’re miserable, angry, hurting, etc? How are we able to take care of ourselves if we keep subjecting ourselves to environments that instigate negative self-esteem and neglect the idea of self-care? How are we to be happy if our body and mind’s needs are not fulfilled?From my experience, we can’t be happy unless we are in situations and environments that allow us to take care of ourselves: mind, body and spirit.
Last year, I was a waitress at a sports bar. Now, I didn’t realize how much my work situation negatively affected me until I started having panic attacks every day before work, crying my eyes out after every shift and eventually having full-blown breakdowns on the clock when I was tired of putting up with the unfairness of it all. Between not getting breaks, getting treated unfairly and never seeing my family, I was the shell of the girl I used to be. My depression became deeper, my anxiety got worse and I turned to using ED behaviors to cope with the stress. I couldn’t enjoy school or my second job anymore because I was always worried about what would happen while waiting tables
that night. One day all of the anger, sadness and pain hit me like a train, and without thinking about anything other than my mom’s advice, I spontaneously put in my two weeks. No words can describe the weight that was lifted off of my chest at that moment: I was FREE.
I was free from what I once thought I deserved. Having a background of being bullied, harassed and belittled, it’s not uncommon for me to accept verbal/emotional bullying and/or abuse, internalize it and think that everything these people say or do to me is something I deserve because I’m “bad” or “flawed”. By standing up for myself and saying enough is enough, I broke the vicious cycle. I started to think, “maybe I am worthy of better”.
In the days and weeks to follow, I recognized my worth more and more. I realized that I deserve to go to work and be respected, valued and treated fairly. I deserve to take breaks, eat a snack or take a minute to go to the bathroom. I deserve a workplace where I am not belittled or “screwed over”. I deserve to have a job that allows me to take care of myself. I deserve to feel worthy and important. I deserve to be happy!
That’s the thing about happiness: we have to recognize that we deserve it and surround ourselves with people and things that make us feel valued and loved. It’s not easy to shift your mindset to always feel deserving. Believe me, I still have to remind myself at least five times a day that I deserve happiness, and some days, I just can’t do it. But do believe me when I say that it is possible. For instance, I recently channeled the same courage to quit another serving job because I was treated like I was unimportant and unworthy. As my depression’s worsened over the summer, I realized it was finally time to make a move, and now that I’m done serving, I’ve never been happier.
Am I terrified to cut off my major source of income: I’m absolutely scared to death! But they didn’t lie when they said money can’t buy happiness. I am now the anchor and paid student producer for my university’s news station, something that not only brings me pure bliss but also gets me one step closer to my dream of being an anchor on Good Morning America. I’ve also secured an unpaid internship at a top news station to continue following my dreams. Combined with running Girl in the Mirror and having more time to expand my platform, my heart has never, ever been this full. Life is way too short to be anything but happy: happy in what you do, happy in what you are and happy in who you’re with. Thank you God for giving me the courage to change the things I can and giving me the guidance to create a happier, more fulfilling life for myself!
Girl, if your job is killing your mental health, if you are unhappy with your college decision, if you are in a relationship that’s bringing you down: YOU DESERVE BETTER! You do not have to keep living a life that doesn’t bring you pure happiness, and I hope you realize that you are deserving of all of the happiness in this world. Making big life changes is scary, especially when you’re so familiar and comfortable with the way things are or think you deserve the negativity, but I can PROMISE you that you will not regret removing the negative pieces of your life and replacing them with people and things that will serve you, help you grow and make you feel loved. Take the leap of faith. Trust the process. Take care of yourself, chase your dreams and do what will make you happy ❤
What’s one thing that’s holding you back? What’s the first step you’ll take towards making a change?
I’m here to support you on our journey, girly! I believe in you and am excited for you to realize just how amazing, deserving and beautiful you are ❤