Throughout my life I have been obnoxiously positive. I have been referred to as Little Miss Sunshine since childhood and typically can find rainbows and butterflies in even the worst of situations. I could never understand the concept of sadness or “the struggle bus”, especially for long periods of time, because life is just so darn wonderful.
But guess what y’all? THE STRUGGLE BUS IS REAL. I discovered this and understand now that life isn’t always sunshine. Over the past six-months I was in a season of sadness and the ride seemed NEVER ending. Thankfully my life is on the up-and-up, but as I reflect upon the past few months I realize there are certain things I did that extended the time and made the sadness worse.
So lovelies, here are three tips on how to get off the struggle bus, and how to live an obnoxiously positive life….or at least a more enjoyable life.
This may seem like common sense. Of course you should know yourself, but in reality sometimes we are so busy trying to excel at work, or in school that we lose sight of who we are and try to fit the mold of someone else.
A mentor of mine told me that they accomplish so much and are so successful because they wake up at 5:30 every morning to meditate upon the day ahead. So of course, I had this grand idea that I would emulate her. I was going to wake up before the sun, I would walk my dog Mylo, do my devotions, cook a nice breakfast and start the day with a big ole’ bang.
There are multiple problems with this wonderful idea of mine though. I am not a morning person. If I wake up to an alarm I am grumpy and short with people all day long. Also I don’t cook, like ever, so why all of a sudden did I put pressure on myself to wake up and cook myself eggs and bacon? This plan was a total disaster. I was sleep deprived and grumpy and the only thought on my mind was when I could nap.
Mad props to my mentor for being able to wake up and start her day that early, but y’all I am an 8 am-er. I am most successful when the sun wakes up before me. I am totally owning the fact that this is who I am and now that I wake up at a normal hour, my focus is upon people, places and ideas, not an afternoon snooze session.
A wise man once told me (okay, it was my boyfriend) “Let your yes’s mean yes and your no’s mean no.” Such a simple message, but it carries so much truth.
There were a couple of months where I literally had ZERO free nights. Every night was devoted to hanging out with someone, a small group of some sort, or work. All of these are wonderful things, but I am an introvert. Sometimes the only person I need to hang out with is my BFF Harry. And Harry is fictional character and our favorite place to hangout is on the Quidditch Field. If Harry and I go too long without spending time together, I go crazy. And let me tell you, I was going crazy during those months of sadness when I had no alone time.
I was trying to say yes to everything because all of those things are good things that I enjoyed doing, but in reality sometimes I wanted to say no and turn hangouts down. I wasn’t actually present during so many of those moments because I was too overwhelmed and dreaming of time to myself.
So girl, say no sometimes. It is okay to take time for yourself. Ultimately saying no every once in awhile will make the times you do say yes even more meaningful. You will be more present and actually be happy to be there.
Comparison is the work of the devil. Of course there are times that I struggle with comparing myself to other woman, but something that harms me even more often is comparing myself to the idea I have of who I “should” be.
About 7 months ago I found a list of goals I wanted to accomplish by the time I was 24. I wrote the list for an assignment in high school when I was a sweet, naïve 16-year-old. Well I am a month away from 25 and guess how many of those goals I have accomplished? Zero. Zilch. Nada. Sixteen-year-old Emily was ambitious, and 24-year-old Emily felt like a failure.
Over the next few months I was constantly in my head thinking about all of the things from the list that I dreamed of accomplishing. I wanted to be a law school graduate, I wanted to own a home, have a stacked bank account, and own a pair of Louboutins. I just kept thinking about how far away I was from all of these things and it made me so sad.
Then one day it hit me that I was so focused upon the ideas of 16-year-old me that I wasn’t focusing upon all the things that I actually accomplished. I have a college degree, I have traveled to over 20 countries and I have helped thousands of kids in the Central Florida area through my job and through The Lovely Project. I have even helped kids in Honduras.
I might not be a lawyer, and I might not be the wealthiest person, but when I really think about it, my view of success is no longer defined by money or things. It’s defined by experiences, loving others and just living a full and fun life. And for a 24-year-old I have experienced a lot of life that should bring me joy. I have people all over the world that I can call friends and I have made a direct impact on so many people. That makes my heart way happier than the “things” I once dreamed of.
These tips really aren’t that extravagant, in fact, they’re actually pretty basic. But sometimes, when we are on the struggle bus we forget that in order to be happy and successful, we need to be brilliant at the basics. Remember who you are, say no if you need to, and don’t compare yourself to others or to yourself.
So lovelies, if you’re struggling know that we all go through those bouts (even the obnoxiously happy girls) but we don’t have to stay in those seasons of sadness. The world is full of rainbows and butterflies, sometimes we just have to look a little harder, but trust me, eventually they’ll be visible everywhere. Look for the good rather than focusing upon the bad my friends, and before you know it you’ll see joy in everyday things once again.