You know when you find yourself rambling and waffling on and on… That is the epitome of this post, which I normally don’t embrace, but hey, it feels good to let your mind wander sometimes.
So, I remember being sat by the pool in Bali just last summer, noticing the bright white of my skin under my bikini contrasting with the dark caramel tan I had acquired elsewhere. I was sipping on my daily Coca Cola, convincing myself I was sweating out all of the sugar, eating bruschetta and listening to my Southeast Asia playlist on Spotify; an amalgamation of songs I incessantly played on repeat for those two months abroad.
And in that moment, I felt somewhat content. I was on a beautiful island, somewhere which many even dream of as their honeymoon destination, and I had already travelled through three incredible, unique countries. Bali was my last stop before home.
Yet, there was still that nagging feeling in the back of my mind, reminding me of all the anxieties I would face back in England. Despite bathing under the sun in one of the most beautiful places in the world, I realised that my happiness and mental health do not miraculously change because of the location I was in.
To escape your everyday life because you’re ‘unhappy’ is a façade. I think overcoming this misconception allowed me to feel even happier that I was broadening my knowledge and cultural awareness being abroad, knowing that if my state of mind will still feel anxious about matters like rent and university, I can wait until I get home to deal with it.
After all, mental health is within you, therefore it’s always going to be with you regardless of being in your bedroom or abroad. So why should I let things affect me on holiday when they’d affect me just as much at home?
This acknowledgment enabled me to feel content and happy, borderline ignorantly, and not let the trivialities of life get in the way of my travelling. I’m not a passive person. There are some problems that you just have no control over in life, and for these things you just have to let go and ensure they don’t get in the way of your own enjoyment and happiness.
Feeling empowered that I can make myself happy wherever I am has made such a difference. Occasionally I find myself feeling down and lonely at university when really I have to remember the gratitude I emanate for having a roof over my head, being able to afford food, and having a great support network. That instantly lifts me up. I get strangled by my own pessimism and overthinking that I create problems for myself. When I feel lonely, it’s because I’ve made myself lonely by pushing people away.
Evidently, I do get caught up in my own emotions that I therefore forget how I do have friends who care about me and wouldn’t think less of me for bringing up my feelings. While both women and men may have down days, there’s nothing wrong in confiding in a friend about how you feel. I think what makes things worse, for me anyway, is the acceptance that I’m unhappy. Acquiescing to negativity can set off a whole downward spiral of defeat for me. Though of course, if you identify that you’re not yourself, sometimes it is then easier to gradually work your way back up.
As soothing as it is to wallow in your own sadness, we can all find the influence within ourselves to embrace happiness and a positive mind-set. Of course, when you really are at your lowest, finding inner happiness seems like the impossible. It took me years to be content in myself and exert this inner peace and serenity.
I even went to New York in January with my university, and upon realisation that I didn’t have enough money on me to revel in the best delicacies and excursions as stated by my travel apps, I did feel as though I was wasting my time being there. Though, what helped me persevere was just the acknowledgment that I’m stood in this crazy city with the snow crashing down on me in -14 degree weather. In other words, I made the most of the little things, my senses, what I’m aware of. There’s no greater, more powerful feeling, than the acknowledgment of being alive.
Too many people believe they are worthless and that nothing would change if they were to drop out of existence. This is a complete irrationality which I wish less people would think about. In New York where the roads are rarely quiet, simply perceiving your aliveness in that other pedestrians move around you as you walk past each other is something in itself.
Being inherently happy within also means you should feel complete as a person without needing another to fuel your everyday existence. The concept of having an ‘other half’ quite literally means you aren’t complete without needing to be in a relationship, which is an awfully outdated notion. As RuPaul quite rightfully says, if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else (can I get an amen up in here).
While I accept that whoever I am with, wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, I can still find happiness within myself, does not at all mean that I still see things negatively. There’s a definite distinction between the perception of bleakness and the generator within your brain that can convert these negative thoughts into happier feelings, in simple terms.
To be honest though, I cannot wait to be back abroad. Travelling makes me happy and that’s not something I can just conjure up like a ready meal. Sometimes the best means to be happy is, simply put, by faking happiness.
Then again, in life do you want to be blissfully ignorant or painfully aware? This is something I ask myself daily, and my answer will always be the latter, despite my best efforts to be inwardly happy when the rest of the world is a drab at times.