I Seek Happiness Through Action, Not Positive Thoughts
When I was in my early teens, a family member introduced me to the law of attraction.
According to this “law,” thoughts determine the outcome of one’s life. Therefore, if your thoughts are positive, positive things will happen in your life.
I was young and determined to try it out. The success stories from its cult-like believers were enough to convince me it would work. In past years, I had struggled with depression, social anxiety, and low self-esteem, and desperately wanted my life to turn around.
Slowly but surely, I got out of my shell. I started going to selected school events again. I hung out with a group of friends and felt valued. I lost weight and began feeling good about my body again.
But just as quickly as my life turned around, the problems started to return. Deep inside, I knew the euphoria of change wouldn’t last, but I didn’t want to admit it.
My confidence was up, but my academic life was problematic. I still did not enjoy being in a science high school. I was an artist, not a scientist. But I thought I could “fake it till I made it.” I graduated with the help of a tutor, but my mental health suffered.
I also had troubles with so-called friends, and ultimately lost some of them. Meanwhile, I realized who my true friends are when I found out who would stick around. To this day, I am glad to say that some of my high school friends are still part of my “tribe,” but I can only count them with my fingers.
Worse, I became too optimistic. I wasn’t aware of it back then, but that’s what I inevitably taught myself to be. Somehow, I would always think simply visualizing good outcomes was enough to make things good. But then I would fail, and I would wonder why I wasn’t happy.
I started falling into deeper depressive phases. To complicate things, my mom got sick with terminal cancer, and I had to cope with the loss of someone near and dear to me. All of this was happening while I tried to contend with the horrible person I thought I was.
For a long time, I was mad at the world for being so cruel, for limiting my dreams, and for robbing me of my happiness.
Then I met people who challenged my perspective of “attracting” happiness, including my husband, Jared, who has hemophilia and epilepsy.
Chronic illness is a terrible thing. If you have one, you may have limitations. You will inevitably disappoint others. You can be a financial burden to those who care for you, and you will need to make an effort to not be seen that way. Perfection, in the traditional sense, is out of reach. No amount of “positive thinking” can change that.
But when I met my husband, we connected. I realized we were both human. He had his own share of failures in life, but still kept doing his best to push forward. Despite his illnesses and the demoralizing things people would tell him, he continued enjoying life.
Through my husband, I realized that it’s possible to feel happiness even when things are not all positive.
Life is in the little things. The encouragement I feel when our small business receives new orders. The delight of buying something new. The contentment of making the most of something I own. And most importantly, the wonderful feeling of things being good for my family.
I still desire other things, like moving out of the city. But for now, a simple life without health complications is fine.
The new year is a time when people make resolutions to change their lives. I see nothing wrong with that. I don’t intend to ruin other people’s optimism. Besides, there is joy in wanting good things for other people, too.
Personally, I don’t want to focus on manifesting positive change. In fact, it’s probably one of my biggest resolutions to stop being overly optimistic and start being more grounded in reality.
Now that I’m older, I realize that change does not come from thoughts alone. Yes, it starts with a vision, but it takes action to get from point A to B.
Actions build up and lead to an overall feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction, which in turn translate to a form of happiness. I do believe it is in consistently doing these things that one can manage to live happily, despite life’s rough spots.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.