Happiness is -
1. Being told by a friend you've known for 10 years that you look more and more like your younger (beautiful) sister in pictures :) (Thanks Kim!)
2. Running around with my 6 year old nephew, not getting winded, laughing and smiling the whole time.
3. Going to a restaurant, ordering food that isn't that bad for me, enjoying myself and not feeling deprived.
4. Having my nieces run up to me every time I see them and being able to bend down and hug both of them without thinking twice.
5. Having a job I love.
6. Watching kids I work with see their dreams realized.
7. Making friends with different people and seeing how much is available out in the world for me.
8. Putting on a swim suit, going to the pool and walking around in it like it's no big deal.
9. Looking back at pictures and realizing how far I've come in such a short amount of time.
10. Enjoying new experiences and developing a little more confidence every day.
11. Hearing that my brother and sister are proud of me. Their opinions of me mean more to me than I think they'll ever know.
12. Seeing the smile on my my parents' face when they see how happy I am. I know it's been a struggle for them watching me go through the last few years and I think my victory is just as much mine as it is theirs.
13. Getting messages from people that I haven't talked to in ages via Facebook and hearing that I've inspired them in one way or another. Although I still have trouble believing I am an inspiration to anyone, I love to hear that I can make a difference in the lives of others. Even if I don't know them well or see them on a regular basis.
14. Taking two less medications than I was a year ago.
15. Not letting the scale control how I feel about myself and the progress I've made.
16. Not spending an hour in Whole Foods when I try to find something.... when I choose to go in there.... that place is still super confusing to me.
17. Finding simple recipes... I'm still a moron when it comes to food... And I think I always will be...
18. Wearing a pair of shorts in public... still can't believe I did that...more than once!
19. Finding self confidence. If you've never felt a lack of it, just know that, when you find it, it is the greatest feeling in the world.
20. Having 97 pounds of weight, unhappiness, despair and just feelings of inadequacy lifted off my shoulders. Although I haven't lost anymore physical weight, the amount of emotional weight I've lost just in the last few months still amazes me on a regular basis.
You might be wondering when, or how, I finally found happiness. Well, to be honest, I don't know. It's been a gradual process. It was someone taking time to believe in me. It was my family taking a step back but supporting me at the same time while I figured this out for myself. It was breaking down all the walls I had built up around myself for so many years. It was taking chances. It was stepping out of my comfort zone even when it was extremely difficult for me to do. It still is at times. It was being willing to laugh at myself and all my ridiculous questions. It was being comfortable enough to let my guard down and trust these new people in my life. It was opening back up to my old friends and allowing them to be there for me. And, most importantly, it's been the ongoing process of accepting who I am and being okay with it. Being more than okay with it. Being happy with myself.
My life is finally my own. I'm no longer allowing the outside world to control me, my thoughts and my feelings. I'm becoming my own person. It may have taken me 34 years to get to this point but, I'm here and I love that I make new discoveries everyday about myself and the world around me.
"Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to
look beyond the imperfections."
As the wrappers of my dove dark chocolate often say....
"Happiness looks great on you"