Happiness. You can’t fight the feeling when you feel it, and you can’t hide it when you crave what it used to be. I thought certain aspects of life might tear me down – especially with what others might think – but I have never allowed myself to be defined by what other people had to say about who I was. It was through lessons, and challenging myself that got me to where I am now. I learned to put myself first. Yes, sometimes there are individuals who see my flaws, and perceive them as something they don’t want to deal with –it’s just easier that way. Unfortunately, I cannot walk away from myself, and I’m not sure I ever would. I am able to accept my weaknesses, and nobody can use that against me. I know who I am, and who I am not. Yes, we all want to be accepted, and loved. But it has to start with yourself.
I want you to be happy. I want you to not rush getting a mortgage, getting married, or growing up. When I was younger, all I wanted was to grow up. I wanted to wear make-up, and drive a car and feel the wind blowing in my hair. Now, I’d trade everything to start over, and appreciate those days spent making snow forts, and eating popsicles. You can’t go back, but you can step back. When I stepped back, I had a chance to see what I could not see before. I saw what was worth fighting for, I felt my life get brighter, and at the same time I felt my heart become emptier. I found kindness where I did not even know it existed. So have patience in today, in tomorrow. Learn to love yourself, even within in the things you cannot change.
Being happy with yourself is something you have to learn. It’s something that will not happen overnight. Waiting for my diagnosis, there were many days where I would distract myself with school, friends, family- anything so I didn’t have to think about it. Behind it all, I wasn’t happy. Which is why I held back on so many things; things I now regret. Somehow, I knew in my heart, I could not love someone unless I loved myself first. Nobody was going to fill the gap for me. I had to do it for myself. Now, after years (yes, years) of growing and learning, I am at peace with myself. I found happiness not by what I gained, but by doing what I was willing to endure.
I hope you find happiness, and I hope it starts with yourself. I hope you don’t settle just because you think it’s what you’re supposed to be doing. Most importantly, I hope you never lose sight of the most important things in life, the things money can’t buy. Take time to reflect on life. Take time to take care of yourself. You deserve it. If you want to start over, every day will bring you a new chance. Don’t worry about what’s going on around you. You’re not meant to follow the crowd in society, you’re not meant to lose yourself out there. Nobody who has ever achieved anything great has followed the book or the crowd. Everything can be taken from you: your possessions; your health; your rights. But nobody can take away what is in your heart, your thoughts, and the freedom to use both. To be happy with yourself will not take a day. It took me lots of little steps to be able to reach where I am now. Not everything will be easy and perhaps far from what you expected, but you must choose to be grateful for all that you have. Happiness comes from knowing that this is your only chance to live this life, no matter how it turns out.
Ivana was born in Sanski Most, Bosnia & Herzegovina, but moved to Canada at the age of three. She was diagnosed with LGMD a few years ago, and it has forever changed her life. She is a regular contributor, and her blogs will be everything she has learned along the way, and what she continues to learn today.