ON FINDING HAPPINESS

10:10:00

Exactly one year ago my relationship ended. It was without a doubt my most serious one, the first one that took place within my flat and not my parents´ home, the first one that took place across country borders and the first one that ended without either one of us being fully out of love with the other. So in short it was my first real adult relationship.
When we ended things I took a long hard look at my life. 2016 was one of the most difficult and emotionally draining years of my life. Graduating uni, balancing my life in Malmö and my relationship with a man in Göttingen, applying for Masters, knowing my wonderful group of friends would soon be spread across Europe... I was extremely unhappy at the end of 2016, I was drained, I was so god damn tired. I knew that I was unable to go on as I had and I knew things needed to change. And here I was at the beginning of 2017 in a new city, that I partly had moved to because of the guy I was no longer dating with a wonderful group of new friends, but frankly and for the first time in a very long time truly alone. Single.
I always saw myself as someone who loves being alone, who is extremely strong and independent and as a woman who did not need a man next to her to be happy. But now the mere thought of being alone terrified me. I realised that even though I broke up with my other ex in 2013 before moving to Sweden, we had continued a toxic on and off thing for over a year. There had always been a man in my life, that I could rely on since January 2012, making it 5 full years since I last was really single.
I knew that I needed to be single, that it was not good to be that reliant on another person, that I truly needed to be by myself and happy within me, before I could ever be truly happy in a relationship.
I knew all this logically, but it terrified me. I was so deeply afraid of going through life all by myself  and I was heartbroken, but it was necessary to find my own happiness again.
It was not in January last year that I truly started being all by myself, relationships and especially break ups are extremely messy, I am a person who loves to give and get second or third or fourth chances and so it took until the second half of this year to figure myself out and to really work on becoming happier within myself, by myself.

Just like any other white girl I love "Eat, Pray, Love" and especially one quote from the book:

"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon in, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it."

Elizabeth Gilbert


And that is what I have been doing for the last year. I worked and insisted and strove towards happiness. It took a lot of effort and lots of crying and many bottles of wine, so many workouts and meditation sessions and kissing many a wrong guy. But I finally achieved my state of happiness and now I am working very hard on maintaining it.
One of the main parts of this effort was becoming more aware of me. Realising what I truly wanted, what I truly felt and what I could and could not do. I had been in overdrive for most of my life, jumping from city to city, country to country, working two jobs and a little too many shifts every week, to make sure I could continue travel and pushing down so many of my emotions to be there for other people.
I was so used to being emotionally available at all times, so used to being a little hard worker, responsible for the happiness of everyone around me, that it took a very long time and a very hard fall to realise I never even considered if I had the energy for all this. 
I am so very keen to fulfill expectations, to solve every arising conflict around me and to make sure everyone is happy, that I did not even stop and check for a second to see if I was happy until I truly had to, because I felt like I was completely falling apart. So the first steps to falling in love with me first, was starting to become more aware of what I needed.
I had longed for a home and a routine for the longest time and so I put a lot of my energy into  decorating my little flat (the first thing I did after ending my relationship was going to IKEA. Nothing like figuring out how to construct a shelf to distract you from your broken heart). I think some people call it nesting.
My job at the time as a waitress was stressing me out intensely and so I sat down and wrote applications. I got a good number of rejections, but I actually scored a new job, a job which has provided me with some of the most wonderful new friends, which has a wonderful work atmosphere and very kind colleagues and which will ultimately help my CV a little more than waitressing.
I also started to work out regularly last year and while I am the first one to admit how shit working out is it has helped me so immensely with my mental health and happiness. It helped me sleep better, it made me more aware of my body and my needs, it made me more resilient and it gave me back a good chunk of self confidence.


And next to all of these efforts one of the most important and most magical things that happened to me last year were meditation and Yoga. Now this may sound new agey and spiritual and what have you, but meditating regularly has truly and honestly changed my life. I started with the free 10 days of the app headspace and have since moved on to meditating by myself. I just do it for 15 to 20 minutes in the mornings, but it completely changed my outlook on life and is one of my most cherished routines. Taking a little time to check in with my mind and my body everyday makes it so much easier to understand my own emotions and thoughts, it grounds me, it humbles me and it truly makes me happier. I spent so much of my day looking outside through computer and smartphone screens and I keep myself so busy all day, that I went weeks, maybe even months without really sitting down and thinking about how I truly felt and what I needed. Meditation changed this for me. It reconnects me to me, it is a little break in a busy day and it makes me so intensely happy.
And when I started to incorporate at least some sun salutations and then did the 30 day yoga challenge in November these benefits only grew. In Yoga, in accepting my body and realising it is not a competition to do the craziest poses, but yet another way of connecting with the universe and my mind helped me so much in finding balance at the end of last year. I can´t even express how grateful I am for Adriene and her wonderful YouTube channel and her incredible practices. She represents the perfect balance of spirituality, love and goofiness for me and truly offers what I had looked for in numerous Yoga classes, which I always left slightly unsatisfied.
I am not saying Yoga and meditation will have the same effect for everyone, but I truly feel like they made the biggest impact on my life and I would not want to miss them again for the world.
And last, but definitely not least I started to consciously practice gratitude last year. We tend to so often count the bad and the hurtful things in our life, instead of sitting down and looking at all our blessings.  So in March I began to sit down in the mornings and fill one page in my notebook with things I am grateful for. It is really so easy especially for those of us, who live in the Western world, with secure roofs over our heads, with food to fill our bellies, with health services and education and peace. There has not been a day where I sat down and could not find an entire page full of things that were going great in my life and that I appreciated and honestly if I can do that, then yes I may still get upset and angry and sad, but there is just this underlying feeling of extreme appreciation in my daily life now.
Now let´s be honest I did all of these spiritual and health things, but I also went out a lot last year. I invested in my friendships like nobody´s business and I have spent an intense amount of days hungover and very tired. But I needed both. I needed to live the life I personally love for a while and I needed to take good care of myself while I was at it.



There are plenty of days, where I don´t feel like meditating or going to the gym or writing down a list of gratitude, but whenever I think back to how badly I was feeling just a year ago and how god damn in love I am with my life now it is so so so worth it.
It took a lot of work to be this happy and it took about 25 years to be able to say it, but I LOVE my life, I LOVE myself and I am so fucking happy about this fact alone that I could cry.
It was a very long and strenuous adventure, there were a multitude of ups and downs, but today a year since I became single again I am so glad to say I am fully and completely happy and content with my life. I celebrated my 25th birthday last month and I spent the entire day so grateful, absolutely full of joy, surrounded by such amazing people and very, very happy.
I feel comfortable in my body for the first time in my life. Not only that, I LOVE my body,  I love it bloated and after I had a large meal and when I train and when I don´t. I feel at home in my own body for the first time, which took me 25 long years and sometimes I still can´t believe I reached this point. I am fully happy with my group of friends, I am surrounded by such loving, nurturing female friendships, so much support and compassion. I have given up on toxic friendship and while just like any human being I will always care what people think about me, it is now about the important people and not anyone and everyone.
I have grown roots for the first time since graduating high school, I stayed in a city for longer than nine months and despite not being in love with Göttingen, when I moved here it proved to be the absolute best choice I could have made. I love my flat, I love the people around me, I have a job who brought around lovely colleagues and I like what I study.
And allowing myself this time to settle makes me able to be excited to leave again. I got accepted for one of my absolute dream internships and I will move to Cologne for two months today, actually leaving in about three hours. I have decided to also give me a little more time in other respects, which means I will head to the other side of the world in October in six months and not start working right away. And I can absolutely feel this was the right choice.
I overall can feel and notice what I want, how I feel and I stopped beating myself up for it. I can accept and actually love that I feel everything so very deeply - the good and the bad. I no longer feel the need to push through everything, to hate myself for being way too teary eyed every time I leave, that I am soft and gentle and that I get hurt way too easily. And in accepting this I can find actual strength, not just shoving down my emotions and ignoring them to appear strong and unbothered. I am honest with who I am after so many years of trying to be someone else. And that may be the biggest gift I have ever given to myself.

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2 Kommentare

  1. What a besutiful summary of your journey. I believe you, this was and is hard work. Continue to be proud and humble. Very inspirational, makes me overthink my own process of driving my own happiness...

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Thanks so much for your lovely comments, constructive criticism and suggestions. I will try to answer all of you!

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