“Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.” – Alice Walker
I’ve always loved the quote above by Alice Walker. However, I’ve never really managed to live my life in a way where I thought of myself as solely responsible for my own happiness. I always took my cue from others on how I should feel or behave.
As someone with anxiety and who has gone through rough bouts of depression, I found it increasingly hard to find happiness because I was always reflecting on other people’s view of who I was. Someone not liking me could make or break me to the point of self harm.
In 2017, I’ve started to slowly change that.
For one thing, I’ve achieved a lot in my career this year by caring less about people’s opinions and more about myself and what I have to offer the world. I’ve realised that focusing on my own talent and skill has allowed me to make strides in my career that I didn’t think possible.
I started the year in a job where I was miserable and under a manager who belittled me with every task I was given. It got to a point where I realised that if I went back into the office, I was going to start getting back into a pattern of toxicity that I struggled with during university. So I left and didn’t look back.
I won’t lie and say that her opinion hasn’t made some kind of impact. I still have nightmares sometimes that I’m back in that office and she’s yelling at me or gossiping about me to my colleagues.
But I care less now than I did a few months ago. Not just about her but about most people’s opinions. I know how far I’ve come and how much I’ve had to fight to get to where I am in my life and I’ve started to let that become the light that directs my path.
I still wake up some mornings with anxiety gripping me down to my bed. My legs numb. My stomach churning. But it’s in these moments that I can truely say that my inner voice has become stronger because more times than not, I will get myself out of bed, into the shower and then into the car.
2017 became a year that I learned that my story doesn’t have to end at anxiety and depression. It doesn’t have to be about the kid who was bullied.
Something inside me decided that 2017 was going to become the year that my story was going to become about the kid who was always special in her own way. About the kid who grew into a woman that is fearless and creative and does her best to be empathetic towards others.
In 2017, I learned to like myself and embrace myself for the person that I am.
I am a proud loner. Proud of my social awkwardness. Proud that I don’t fit into the crowd.
I know that I still have a long way to go but I’m finally on the right path and that’s the best gift I could have asked for in 2017.