This week, I’m getting real. Like, really real. It’s time to talk about being happy with your life and owning your own happiness. But first, a question.
Are you happy with your life? Is your own happiness a priority right now?
If you answered “no” to either of those questions, then this post is for you.
There’s a bakery downtown called Niedlov’s that I’ve been wanting to try for the better part of a year. I walk and drive by it often, as it’s near one of my favorite bars, and we’ve had some of their pastries at work before. But there’s something different about visiting the actual location and enjoying a cup of coffee and pastry on a Monday morning before a client meeting.
Niedlov’s bakes a lot of bread and pastries, and distributes a lot of their products to other restaurants and cafes around town. I’d had sandwiches served on Niedlov’s buns at other places and was impressed, so I was excited to try a buttery cheese croissant. I paired it with a cafe au lait, which is coffee with steamed milk — not too sweet, but not overly strong or bitter, either.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t always have to be a big meal. I always eat a small bowl of berries at home, and that with my cheese croissant and cafe au lait was all I needed to feel full. Next time, I’ll try one of their sweeter options — maybe a mocha with a chocolate croissant.
I’ve always been a believer that there is always something in life to be happy about, and that you control your own happiness. Not everything in life is in your hands, of course, but happiness is always possible and always part of the equation.
As much as I love living in Chattanooga and where my life is now, if I’m being honest, it wasn’t always like this. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was unhappy with my life, but I wasn’t as happy as I could be. I loved my job from day one, and starting over in a brand new city was nothing new to me. But I struggled in other areas and let too much negativity get to me. I eventually had my epiphany (thanks, quarter-life crisis), found who and what makes me happy and have been a completely different person ever since.
I learned that it was up to me to find my happiness. The only thing keeping me from being completely, 100% happy, was me.
Lately, I’ve had some similar conversations with a few friends. They’re unhappy with their jobs, wondering why they’re in the cities they’re in, wondering why they feel “stuck” or in a rut or how much longer those feelings will last. They’re experiencing their quarter-life crises, and even though they’re different than mine was, I understand those emotions completely.
One day, I asked one of those friends what’s holding her back — what’s holding her back from finding a job that she wakes up happy to go to each day, a job where she feels appreciated, moving to a new town or city where she can explore and find new adventures, from living a life that she would be happy to live. I understood and empathized with her answer, but I also encouraged her to consider her own happiness. Making other people happy at your own expense can only carry you so far. Eventually, you lose the will to even do that. And if you can’t find your own happiness, you can’t possibly have the energy or drive to help others feel happy, for whatever reason.
I understand that it’s hard to start over, pick up and move and start a new life. That kind of change is terrifying. As many times as I’ve moved and started over, I was still scared and nervous to make my move to Chattanooga. But ultimately what matters the most is your own happiness. As I’ve said, I eventually found what I was looking for. And I have all the faith that you can, too.
You control your own happiness. It’s largely up to you. You control your destiny (to an extent).
Take some time to reflect on your life as you live it now: are you truly happy? What would make you happier? What changes do you need to make to feel the happiness you desire? Find a way to make those changes and bring more happiness into your life. If you’re the praying type–and I am–pray about it.
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4.
If you aren’t happy with your own life, then it becomes more difficult to help make other’s lives happy. As another friend said, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Do what it takes to take care of yourself.
Find what makes you happy, do it, and own your happiness. Your life will be so much better for it.
What makes you happy? What can you do to own your happiness?