Several years ago, I was stuck in a quarter-life crisis. For over a decade, I lived this delusional nightmare of co-dependency and was on an endless search for security, without success. My romantic relationships were carefully chosen to escape the painful reality of my anxieties. I consistently picked partners who were addicted to numbing their pain like me, and we’d escape life by doing drugs together and drinking to drown our fear. When I would finally get up enough courage to recognize that a relationship was unhealthy, I would end it, only to find myself back in the arms of different addiction — overeating, over-exercising, overworking, overspending, more men and more drugs. I lived in a constant state of denial, consumed by my fear-based mind.
I was always waiting for the next thing to happen: the next promotion, the next boyfriend, the next anything, always hoping it would drag me out of my depression. It never occurred to me that “pushing” was the problem. My inner drive and constant need to force things to happen was really just a cry for help, an outburst and a desperate need for love.
Today my life looks much different. I'm happy, healthy, addiction free, and living a life I love. Suffering through the depression and addictions sparked a deep desire for me to stop holding back and to start living a life that had real meaning.
Along the way, I discovered the source of my unhappiness. It was the fact that I was ignoring my inner voice and refusing to ask myself, “What do I really want?” If I could have seen my future-self back then, well, I can’t help but wonder if things would have been different.
Here's what I wish I would have known.
1. Every ending is the beginning of something much better.
Let go of the situation, the pain and your expectations. That person who broke your heart is a blessing, as well as a lesson. You've grown, and this ending is preparing you for something much grander. Be open to the unknown; it's filled with magic and miracles. Everything is in its right order, and something much better is on its way to you.
2. You can love what you do for a living.
You don't ever have to stay in a situation that hurts your spirit. If you don't like your job, you CAN walk away. As soon as you do, the universe will swoop in and show you a new opportunity. Trust the unknown. Allow yourself to dream and to imagine a life beyond even your wildest dreams. You can love what you do for a living!
3. The journey is the reward — there is no destination.
Let go of the “there.” Your focus on the future is keeping you out of the moment, and you're not really living your life. The journey is where the magic happens. The destination is right here, right now.
4. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
Stop being a victim, and thinking that life happens to you. You have the power to change anything in your life. If you don't like something, then get up your courage and change it. You're more powerful than you ever give yourself credit for. You, my younger self, can move mountains and change your fate when you're truly ready and willing.
5. You are beautiful.
My dear one, you spend far too much time thinking about your weight, the number on the scale, and food. The number on the scale does not define who you are.
Food is not the enemy, and your body will one day be your best friend. Don't be so hard on yourself! You’re much more beautiful than you will ever give yourself credit for, and your weight is not who you are, nor will it ever define or limit your greatness.
6. What people say is a reflection of them, not you.
You spend far too much time asking what other people think, and listening to them. You allow their opinions to become your own. Know that what they say and do has nothing to do with you.
7. This too shall pass.
Change is the only constant in life; clinging to anything is what causes suffering and unhappiness. What ails you at the moment does not need to define you. You are not your problems. What seems traumatic and life changing today will be a fond memory tomorrow. This too shall pass!
And remember, no matter what you're going through right now, tomorrow is a new day and it always works out in the end.