Does anyone else agree that your twenties are basically just a broken record of feeling like you know EXACTLY who you are and what you want only to find that a year later you look back and say, “what the hell was I thinking?” Or, am I the only one? I knew for about year before the blog launched that I wanted to start blogging, so naturally I started doing some writing. I just found this post written from about a year ago, it had a different title and a totally different intention than this post. It was eye opening to read how sure I was about what I was writing. I got a good laugh out of it and am really grateful for the changes I’ve made since then. Here is a bit of the original post that didn’t make me cringe, as much.
For as long as I can remember, I have had something nice to say about pretty much anything, everything and everyone (I say ‘pretty much,’ because seriously no one is perfect). If you were to ask anyone who knows me to describe me in one word, there is about a 98 ¾ percent chance they would use the word ‘positive’ or ‘optimistic.’ I consider myself a serial optimist. Just like any piece of my identity, I can pretty much pin point when I decided that for the rest of my life the glass would be half full. Back in grade school I distinctly remember these little orange paper signs hung up all over the school that read “Attitude Is Everything.” Every day I read them and was reminded that I was in complete control of my attitude; no matter what happened to me, or around me, I could decide how I was going to react to it.
The conclusion that I came to was that it just felt better to see the good in everything. As I got older, and life started to happen to me, I always did my best to keep a good attitude. Optimism became a part of my identity. I became a person who was always happy, accepting of everyone, rarely got angry, who avoided confrontation at all costs because I couldn’t handle anyone being upset with me, or not liking me. Recently I have come to realize that I was using positivity as a coping mechanism for internal doubts, insecurities, stress, fear or uncertainties. Optimism protected me from dealing with what was really going on. However, things have changed quite a bit recently.
Which is genuinely true. In fact, things have changed substantially since I first wrote this blog post. The two paragraphs above were followed by a collection of bull sh** motivational quotes and phrases that I had stored in my memory bank. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE a good motivational or positive quote, but I’m no longer interested in using them as a shield from reality. I just deleted the rest of the post because it was basically me convincing you of how smart I am because I’ve read books and then I continued to pretend I was this magical happy unicorn of a person who found the doorway to happy-land and decided to never come back.
The truth is, I’m happier than I have ever been because I stopped forcing myself to pretend to be so damn happy all the time. I know, a bit funny and ironic. I realized that it is healthy, normal and beneficial to experience the negative parts of life. I used to think that a good life was being perfectly happy all the time, but I never felt fully expressed, I felt held back. I found that when we allow ourselves to fully experience anxiety, stress and negativity there are usually opportunities to heal and understand ourselves better. We actually get a chance to let some of those anxious feelings go, rather than shutting them away and pretending they are not there. When you accept those feelings as a part of being human they almost lose their grip on you, or at least for me, they don’t rattle me as much anymore. I think it is almost engrained in my DNA to choose optimism and it will probably always be my default, but it is such a relief to stop making myself feel bad for having feelings on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Who knows maybe a year from now I will have made even more changes, hopefully improvements. Maybe I will look back on these words and laugh at myself again. I actually hope I do. Cheers, to growing and changing.