I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in deep total darkness, depressed, and actually wanted to die because I believed that death was the only way to take my pain away.
My thoughts were driving me crazy: telling me how much of a failure I am, how unworthy I am, and how the world is an awful, meaningless place to live in.
I hated living, I hated myself, and I didn’t see any way out of the pain.
It was hell.
What made it even worse was, that I believed these thoughts in my head completely, I thought they were all true, I didn’t know that I have other options and felt totally alone.
Externally, it seemed like everything was going well, even going amazingly. I was a teenager back then, heading into 12th grade, I had amazing A+ grades(top of my class), I had awesome friends, physically I was in great shape, and I had a beautiful girlfriend that I love and care about(we’re still together to this day❤️).
Yet despite all that, I was extremely unhappy and in pain.
In many ways, it made sense I felt that way. Going through childhood trauma as well as struggling to live in a culture that celebrates the idea that people are not good enough as they are, that celebrates the idea I need to buy certain products and be a certain “ideal” person so that I can be good enough and worthy of a human being.
The voices in my head, based on my conditioning, were constantly criticizing me and getting me to believe in negative, fear-based thoughts.
None taught me how to be happy, no one taught me how to love myself no matter what, and no one taught me essential skills about how to navigate life with relative happiness and peace.
No wonder I was so unhappy on the inside.
I couldn’t see all the causes of my unhappiness at the time, so I believed that my unhappiness is due to some inherent flaw within me, and that it is my fault.
So, because I was feeling so ashamed about my unhappiness, I hid it very well. I was constantly trying to impress people, look happy, and appear “normal”, hoping no one would see how much inside I am in pain, self-criticism, and fear all the time. And amazingly, it pretty much worked, but I was still miserable, I was unhappy still.
Do you sometimes have voices in your head that drive you into living in fear and self-criticism?
Voices that drive you into living in anxiety and self-doubt?
Never enjoying the present, always worrying about the future, or ruminating about the past?
Do you sometimes feel unhappy and dissatisfied even though everything externally in your life seems to be going well and even though you did everything you believed you needed to do to be happy by now in your life?
That’s sure how my life was and I had no idea how to get out of it.
If that’s the case for you, I totally get it, and I want to share with you what happened for me next.
Because what I wrote above isn’t the end of my story, I actually did find another side.
It was when I got to my lowest point, that I finally decided I need to do something to change.
There came a moment when the suffering got so bad, that I could no longer feel even the most temporary relief from it anymore. All my coping mechanisms like watching TV, being on the phone, or going out with friends and video gaming stopped working, and couldn’t temporarily shut the voices in my head away anymore.
There was no possible relief anymore from the voices in my head’s constant chatter, constant criticism, and the constant fear-based barrage of thoughts and emotions.
That’s when I made the choice that would change my life forever.
I couldn’t keep living with the pain I was living with, so I had to choose something different.
I decided that I am not willing to suffer anymore.
I had two options left then:
I either find a way out of my suffering, or I end my life right there. Deep inside I didn’t want to die, but I was also very desperate to not be in pain.
But another part of me wanted to live and knew deep inside that there must be a way out of my suffering and misery, out of the pain.
So I decided to try something, I decided to give it a year to do my best to be happy.
To learn everything I can about happiness, and see if it works, see if something improves.If it does work, then that’s great! If it doesn’t, I have some serious thinking to do about what’s next.
What’s for sure, I couldn’t take my suffering anymore and wanted to find a way out.
I began doing everything in my power to learn how to be happy, and I really do mean everything.
I did Yoga, Therapy, and Meditation, I was reading all sorts of self-help books, philosophical books, psychology books, and spiritual books.
Everything I could get my hands on.
I was learning all sorts of things that were insightful and eye-opening for me that I never knew, and nobody ever taught me.
I learned that my thoughts are habits that were conditioned into me as a child and so were my emotions.
I learned that they’re not mine, they’re not personal and they belong to my ego mind, but I am NOT my ego mind.
I began gaining a deeper glimpse into who I truly am.
I learned that just because I have a thought, that doesn’t mean that the thought is true and that most of my thoughts aren’t.
I learned that I can love myself, that it’s a choice that I can make, I learned that I can choose to be happy and that happiness and love are inside me and inside everybody.
I learned tools to observe my negative thoughts and disbelieve them.
Some practices and books stuck with me, and some didn’t(sorry Yoga lovers, but while yoga is great, it just wasn’t my cup of tea LOL), I was extremely skeptical about whether anything that I’m trying would work for me, and a big part of me honestly thought that everything I was learning about was simply some new age, wishy-washy wishful thinking that isn’t going to work anyway. Besides, I wasn’t the spiritual type anyway.
Nevertheless, I was so desperate that I was willing to keep going and try.
And sure enough, results slowly, but noticeably started to occur. I couldn’t deny that.
Every day, new insights came, my thoughts weren’t so heavy and didn’t seem so true anymore, and I started to have glimpses of joy, ACTUAL, Real, Authentic Joy, for no reason.
The dark fog of depression slowly started to dissipate and dissolve after 5 years of it only worsening and getting thicker.
By the end of the year, I realized that while I’m not happy yet, I’m also not depressed anymore, so I decided I’m not going to kill myself, and I made it my goal to learn how to be happy, happy no matter what.
I decided to go deeper, I found myself a spiritual teacher called Gary Van Warmerdam who apprenticed with spiritual teacher and author Don Miguel Ruiz(Author of the “Four Agreements”) for 10 years and began working with him. Gary became my mentor and spiritual teacher and is so to this day.
Through my studying with Gary, I went deeper into my healing, I learned that I can impact how I feel, and I learned that I can create gratitude and love in my heart and feel happy no matter what, for no reason.
I learned to question and release my negative thoughts and feelings in ways I never had before. I started releasing all the emotions and beliefs I was carrying inside for many years, and my mind and emotions didn’t feel as heavy any longer.
I learned to use my word with love and in a way that is nourishing, and use my words with truth, I learned to love and accept myself as I am and to love and accept others, for absolutely no reason but because loving feels good.
I learned from Gary that while there’s not much I can control in the outer world, I have the power to control how I respond to my circumstances, and I can control how I feel, think, and act.
Because I wasn’t so afraid anymore, I started listening to what my heart wanted, and even though living from the heart can sometimes be challenging and scary, I’ve been choosing to live from my heart ever since.
These days I’m growing and growing every day, at a rapid pace.
My thoughts aren’t terrorizing my life anymore.
My mind is normally quiet, it got a lot less noisy over the years, I get to be present in my day-to-day life and live a life that I love and enjoy, a life that nourishes me.
Instead of taking my negative thoughts seriously, they don’t show up as much, and when they do, they no longer affect me so greatly. Sometimes I can often LAUGH at them, other times I get to the bottom of why they’re here and release whatever isn’t serving me.
When challenges come, as they do, I respond to them with bigger flexibility, I RESPOND rather than REACT to them, and I feel surprisingly happy and peaceful no matter how things turn out, Knowing that I did my best.
When somebody tells me something I don’t like, I don’t stress over it for days anymore, I can humbly learn from it what I can, and drop everything else that isn’t serving from what this person said.
Of course, there is plenty of room to grow, I’m not delusional about it.
I have more limiting beliefs to dissolve, more negative stories to release, and some more self-important Ego to let go of, but now I am not in hell anymore.
Now I can navigate life consciously and navigate challenges in a conscious and fruitful way. I have the tools to free myself of my own mind’s imagined limitations and grow constantly.
And now I have a passion, and my passion is to give back. Because of everything I went through, I’m now on a mission to be of service, to help others be happy and free.
I’m on a mission to help people be free of their fears and self-judgments, so that they can live a life they love, appreciate, and are excited about.
I’m on a mission to help people learn to be happy no matter what.
We can’t control much of the external circumstances of our life, but we can absolutely control how we feel about them.
It’s a mission I’m so excited about because I know that in my own past, I sure wasn’t believing it was possible for me to feel this happy and at peace no matter what happens in my life. So I’m passionate about giving back and sharing with you wonderful people what works and doesn’t work on the journey of happiness.
If you are also on a mission to be happy no matter what in your life, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org that you read my story and I’d be happy to chat to you.
All my deep gratitude and love to you,
In LovingKindness, Daniel❤️.