I have been caught up in a whirl of low feelings. I know the listlessness of feeling sad and down. I understand the melancholy, the restless blur of days spent accomplishing very little.
Here’s what I know about being in low places mentally:
1. I got very little accomplished
2. I was always thinking of myself (What about me? Why me? No one understands me, etc.).
3. I could not think of anything I could do to get myself out of the doldrums.
Today, I know a very different reality. I have been through some crazy stuff. It really doesn’t matter what that stuff is, the important part is what I have done because of it. And the main thing, the most helpful thing was: Doing the Next Right Thing.
One day I just decided I needed to take control of my own happiness and my own success. Once I truly made a shift in my thinking that no one (not my family, not my husband, not my dog) was truly responsible for putting a smile on my face, I became the one thing I struggled all my life to be: Responsible.
I was no longer waiting around for someone to come home, for someone to bring me something, for someone to do anything.
Here are some of the steps I took:
1. I found a support network.
2. I asked people for help.
3. I read a lot of those self-help books (and guess what? When I was ready for the message, they really did help).
4. I got right with my spiritual self
5. I started caring about my health more.
6. I started caring for others.
8. I was brutally honest with myself and others about who I was and what I was doing to contribute to my own state of unhappiness.
9. I started acting like an adult.
10. I started being present, starting caring about now, starting letting the past stay in the past, and trusted that if I was doing the right things right now, the future would take care of itself.
Doing the next right thing means that you don’t have to have a plan about what your next week looks like, or your next month. What is important is the rest of the day, the next hour, the next minute. I was very vigilant with myself. I forced myself to go to support meetings, to meet friends (even when I didn’t want to), to have experiences, to do things for others, to do anything BESIDES sitting around on the internet whiling away hours, or sleeping in the middle of day, or anything else that was not the next right thing. Sometimes if I couldn’t think of anything, I would take my dog for a walk.
Do the next right thing for getting yourself happy and fulfilled. You’ll be forcing yourself to do things. You’ll be fighting your desire to be isolated. But do it anyway. I know this: No one is responsible for my happiness and my sense of well-being besides me. No one truly can be. No matter how well they take care of me, how much they do for me, they can’t heal the emptiness in my heart and mind. That is my job, one I have to embrace and be responsible for.
Today, I am a happy girl. I have love and laughter in my life. Life is not perfect, but I am transformed by my ability to do the next right thing. The next right thing is not always the easy thing, or the fun thing. But it is the thing that will lead to your best life. And you know what it is, no one has to tell you what you really need to do. You already know.
Trust yourself now. Do the next right thing.
Tell me about it. I want to know.