Today I’m going to be sharing my vulnerable journey to finding happiness. Even though I struggle some days and am still working towards creating a happier life for myself, I’m so far from where I used to be and am so proud of that. Taking the first steps to manifesting your dream life can be hard, but once that initiative has been taken, everything starts to fall into place.
About 6 months ago I was sexually assaulted. It’s something I still struggle with to this day, but I’ve been through so much in my youth aside from this, that I know in my heart and soul I will overcome this bump in the road and look back on it as a great lesson. I won’t go into the detail of my assault, as it’s just not what I want this post to be about. All I will do today is share how I came back from a dark place, where flashbacks, suicidal thoughts, and severe anxiety consumed me. I had no idea who I was, who I was going to be, where I was going to end up or what I wanted out of life. I was so unsure of everything, and so scared because of it. I didn’t know what career path I wanted if I wanted to go to school, and worst of all, my relationship with someone I loved so dearly had started to fall apart. I had a lack of trust for people, I was scared to have sex, and I never really liked to be outdoors because I was terrified of the same thing happening again. For a long time, everything seemed hopeless.
I think my biggest turning point to loving myself and life again was finding a creative outlet. For example, I started to meditate and do yoga. It started off in small doses, with me just practicing mindfulness alone in my bedroom when I would become overwhelmed or have flashbacks because of the assault and then it slowly turned into something I believe healed me. When I was younger, I never really had anything I was passionate about. I tried to paint when I was 11 or 12, but because I wasn’t really good at it, I gave up after my first painting. I never liked sports, because if I wasn’t the best, I felt anxious and embarrassed. I tried to dance, and low and behold that didn’t work out either.
One day, my boyfriend said to me “Shelby, you need a hobby. You spend all day in this house scrolling through your phone or watching TV, but you never have anything that you do for creative expression”. He’s said this to me before, but every time I would brush him off because I was afraid of facing the reality; that I was the problem. But I started to grow tired of this unfulfilled, unhappy person that I was looking at in the mirror every day. I knew something needed to be done to shift my overall mood and state of mind. So I went downtown to the Mona Lisa art supply store and bought canvases, acrylic paints, and brushes. I said to myself “Stop letting your ego get in the way of doing something you might love”. That night, I painted on my kitchen floor, half naked and I have never felt more free. I painted a simple sunset. The blending was atrocious and I’m pretty sure the sun looked like a child’s drawing, but making it “good” wasn’t the point of why I was painting, it was to me, a form of self-expression. I felt happy, satisfied and I had created something out of nothing, even if it wasn’t the best art piece in the world.
I had been so consumed by my ego up until this point. I had let it get in the way of everything. I used to be afraid to make friends because I thought they might not like me, so I’d avoid putting myself in social situations where things could have a possibility of being disliked. I was afraid of pursuing a passion in case I wasn’t good at it when in reality, no one is good at something when they first start. Unless you’re a prodigy or something, which I know I’m not, learning a new skill is a process. I finally realized that until I let go of these unrealistic standards I had placed on myself, I would never be happy.
I basically needed to change my entire viewpoint of the world. I was so cynical, that I hadn’t even realized how bad it had got. I would go outside and be jealous of people who were successful, rather than showing them the love they deserved. I truly believe in the law of attraction, and if you don’t know what that is, take some time out of your day to watch The Secret. It’s on Netflix and I’m sure you can find it on YouTube or stream it for free, but it basically states that whatever energy we are putting out into the universe, we will receive back. So rather than showing these successful, happy people love; I mocked them and in return, the universe gave me more pain. I was angry that they knew what they were doing and I didn’t. And so often, we get into that habit of being jealous of others success without even realizing it.
Becoming so cynical wasn’t something I even knew I was doing. I just hated life, didn’t believe I’d ever get anything out of my time on this planet and thought everyone just generally sucked. Once I started finding passions for myself, like yoga, painting, and meditation and now being lucky enough to write on this blog and reach all of you, I started to grow and heal. I soon came to realize how in this world we are so co-dependent on one another. Naturally, we all need each other to make life work. Coming together as one creates an ebb and flow that we all need in our lives. I’ve always been independent and looked at receiving and needing help as being weak, and when I finally learned that everyone needs a helping hand once in awhile and started to accept help when it was offered, I started to heal a little more.
I don’t necessarily have a step by step program to heal your soul and to find peace with yourself and this planet. All I can do is share my personal experiences and hope you gain some sort of wisdom from these stories and possibly apply them to your own life. I think the main thing that really changed my perspective was forming a new found appreciation for this planet and the people that reside on it. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the bullshit of how “corrupted” this world is. It’s so easy to turn on the news or scroll through your Facebook feed and hear all the stories about how terrible things are. And while I agree, there are things happening in this world that need to be corrected, I also know that we can’t fix “war” with exuding more hate from our hearts.
So all in all, my healing came from a variety of things. It wasn’t just a simple x,y, z formula to flip the switch to make everything all better. There needed to be an abundance of change, and I needed to be willing to put in the work to be a happier version of myself. And all of the things I needed to do to heal, I needed to do on my own. No one can fix you but yourself. We need to take responsibility for our lives and care about how we live them. I may not know exactly where I’ll be in 10 years or even 2 months, but all I know right now is that I’m enjoying my life more than I ever have before, and that is such a relieving feeling. I can finally breathe and be at peace with myself and those around me. Everything feels right with the world, and I’m exactly where I need to be. You have to trust life’s process and your own intuition. Nothing about life is simple or predictable, and that’s okay. It’s a journey that we’re all in together, and we need to support one another during this life, to accomplish our own wishes and desires.
Sending all my positive vibrations,