I've always been a pessimist and said, "Expecting the worst is great because if the worst does happen, you're ready for it and if not, it's a pleasant surprise!" I realize now that "you make your own happiness" is completely true in a lot of ways and keeping a pessimistic outlook on life is not going to get me closer to nirvana any quicker...
I've always gone on rants about how now that we are adults, we have to take responsibility for ourselves. Our mothers are not going to call and make dentist appointments and doctor appointments for us. They are not going to be there to sign us up for dance classes and wake us up for school (or work). As adults, if we have dates to make, we need to set our own alarms and get ourselves up and ready and be there on time. If we are bored, we have to seek out hobbies or find our own areas of interest to entertain us. If we are sick, we have to make our own doctors appointments. This goes for mental health, as well. There seems to be a deep stigma attached to people seeking help for their own happiness and well-being. Just as easy as it is to make up excuses not to go to the gym (because it's too cold, because you went yesterday, because you didn't eat anything bad all day, because your tummy hurts, because you don't have the time or money, etc.), it's just as easy (if not EASIER), to make up excuses for why you don't have time to deal with your own issues that are holding you back from happiness.
Money and time are the lamest excuses. Nothing is more important (or at least shouldn't be) than your health and happiness. If you have a job, I'm sure they will let you go for a doctor's appointment. If you "don't have extra money", then maybe you shouldn't have bought those new jeans or packed your lunch all week instead of eating out, or maybe you skip a weekend out at the bar! *GASP* Yeah. I said it. BAM. All of a sudden, you have the time and money to go see a therapist and start examining yourself.
Not everyone NEEDS therapy, though I don't think it would do any damage... I believe the main thing people fail to realize is that the amount of stress and pain they may be internalizing comes out in other ways if they aren't dealing with it. It comes out on the people around them (friends, family, co-workers). The person in pain/stress may not be dealing with it, but I can guarantee that the people around you are more than likely finding themselves dealing with it.
It's not that these people want to place their issues on others, but in not taking responsibility for your happiness, you're placing the responsibility on others.
That is one huge round-about way of saying that I spent many years in therapy learning about myself and what makes me happy, unhappy, stressed, anxious, joyous, etc. I learned how to be healthy and think through my stresses and most importantly, how to communicate these things to others.
Before leaving Baltimore, my therapist, WHO I WAS PAYING, told me she thought I was "done". She thought I had gotten to a place where I was emotionally mature enough to take care of myself and to think through each situation I find myself in on my own, and basically left it up to me to continue the path of bettering myself. More adult responsibility. In the meantime, I've focused on alternative ways of exploring happiness and how to live a more fulfilling, happy life. Basically taking my therapy into my own hands.
I'm sarcastic and have my down days for SURE. I'm overly-emotional and have to constantly remind myself of what I have to be grateful and thankful for. It's an ongoing process that I am going through, but I promise I am making great effort to be more positive in my everyday life.
Through getting closer with one of my friends from Baltimore even after my move to Connecticut, I have found myself wanting to be a better person and wanting to let go of the negativity I have recently realized that I've always carried. I'm human, so I will err. But I figure if I have a place to write about where I am in certain points, I can at least let it be a string tied around my finger to remind myself where I'm supposed to be headed.
As a reminder for things that have inspired me:
The Four Agreements
More to come.