This post was originally posted in December 2015.
A lot can happen when you finally get fed up with feeling bad.
It’s hard to believe that just a couple of years ago I was a completely different person than I am now. I was suffering from depression and anxiety which the doctors prescribed meds for (but I refused, much to their dissatisfaction). I was working at a job where I felt overworked, under-appreciated and unfulfilled. I felt so uncomfortable in public; I would suffer panic attacks whenever I was in crowds. I never left the house except to run errands and I rarely did anything with the few friends I had. I kept gaining weight and feeling horrible about my aging body. I numbed myself by binging on TV shows and playing video games because I didn’t know how to deal with my negative feelings. I wasn’t really living, I was merely surviving. Life was passing me by and I knew it.
But now, just a couple of years later my life has completely turned around. Ever since making the decision to be happy and live life my way, everything has changed. I am now traveling full time with the love of my life (and my two adorable cats) in our RV, seeing our beautiful country, making new friends and feeling great!
“Change your thoughts and you change your world. ” ~ Norman Vincent Peale
In the past 6 months: I have cured myself of my depression and anxiety (without pills!), I have lost 15 pounds without diet or exercise, I have made several new friends, I go out in public without any hint of a panic attack, I speak happily to strangers and make new friends easily, I’ve fallen even more in love with my husband (going on 13 years soon), I am running a successful online business simply by talking about what I love and teaching others how they can do it too and most importantly, I’m living life my way.
Sometimes all it takes is a decision to feel good and to work every day toward feeling better than you did the day before. I had a realization one day that the world wasn’t doing all this to me, I was. I realized that I had the power and the freedom to choose differently. Frankly, I was tired of feeling bad. It wasn’t doing me or anyone else any favors to feel bad. Believe it or not, it was Facebook that opened my eyes to what I was doing to myself. I wrote an article on it about here if you’re curious.
The Facebook realization was a real eye opener and the catalyst for great change in my life. I faced my demons and I dealt with the negative emotions I had repressed for so many years (that’s a whole other story). After several months of learning how to live without depression, new realizations came to me. I realized that life really is too short and that it was time I started doing the things I used to dream about when I was a starry-eyed teenager.
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” ~ Willie Nelson
For decades, I had dreamed of traveling by RV across our big country, but I never knew how to make that happen. After the start of my online blogging business, I realized something. I could make my dream come true thanks to the internet! I didn’t need to be tied down to a certain location. So Brandon quit his job and we dedicated ourselves to learning all we could about having a successful blogging business. Within 6 months we had built a lucrative online business and we were finally ready to take the plunge. We sold or donated practically everything we owned, bought an RV and hit the road.
It’s now been another 6 months and here I am in Miami, Florida in the middle of December. It’s 79 degrees outside and sunny. I have a tan for the first time in over 20 years. I spend my time doing all the things I told myself I would get around to one day. I’m reading all the books on my list (there’s a lot and I mean, a lot), Brandon and I are learning Spanish (Rosetta Stone), I’m sketching and drawing again, I’m learning the ukulele, I’m writing everyday (currently I’m working on my first non-fiction book), I’m walking a mile or more every day just for fun and I’m socializing with people, learning more about life and having fun at the same time. I have complete freedom to live how I want to now. Life is good and it just keeps getting better.
But it never would have happened if I hadn’t realized my ultimate freedom – the freedom to choose how I felt. Life is meant to be good and somewhere deep inside us, we all know this. Children know what life is supposed to be about. When we are children, we have this innate ability to have fun, to feel good and to live life as if every day is a new experience. But as we grow older and we adjust to our society, we slowly train ourselves out of this knowing. We begin to tolerate negative feelings and we teach ourselves to accept that feeling bad is normal. We say that we are just being realistic. “Life is hard, I’m just telling it like it is,” we say. “It’s nice to dream, but at some point, we have to face reality.”
But I have good news for you.
As Quantum Mechanics is teaching us, reality is relative. Your observation of something affects it, changes it. You can change your own personal reality by using your ability to focus. You can focus your attention on anything you want, which means that you have the freedom to choose your response to any situation. You are not a slave to conditions. Conditions do not have to define your feelings. You define your feelings by choosing what you focus on. All you need to do is care enough about how you feel.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
In any given situation there really are only two responses available to you. No matter how you want to label the feelings, you always have the choice to focus on what makes you feel worse or on what makes you feel better. If you care enough about how you feel, and you have the desire to feel good, then the choice is simple.
It may seem unrealistic to some, but that’s kind of my point. Reality is what you make of it. And only you can change your own reality. The more you practice reaching for the better feeling thoughts, the easier it will get and the better you will feel. And the better you feel, the more you can allow better feelings into your experience. After a while of practicing this, you will begin to realize that conditions no longer have their hold over you as they once did because now you are not looking at conditions to determine your level of happiness. Instead you are learning what it means to be unconditional in your own experience; you are learning that you control your responses and ultimately your own reality.
It starts with the simple desire to stop feeling bad and to start feeling good. It is your ultimate freedom to be able to choose this for yourself, nobody can decide this for you and nobody can take this away from you. So if you’re like I was and you’re fed up with feeling bad then I challenge you today to make a new choice. It’s time you stopped tolerating feeling bad. I challenge you to use your ability to focus and to make the conscious decision to feel good now.
You can and will feel good if you choose it. And the more you make that choice, the more good you will allow into your life and the more you will find yourself moving in the direction of your dreams. Pretty soon you will look back on your life and realize that you have become the person you always wanted to be. In fact, you always were.
“The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” ~ William James