I chose to love who I have become.

People will not always appreciate you being authentic. So find people who do. There may be those in your life who have assigned you a certain role and they are comfortable with you acting within their own defined parameters. When you start to change those borders, some people will really react negatively. But let me tell you, through the Joy Experiment I have really learned that there is no benefit to trying to please or accommodate others at the sacrifice of your own soul. You will become drained and hollow and you won’t even love who you are, because you are acting out someone else’s preferred version of you. Break free! Be outrageous! Be ok with people not liking you - it will surprise you how wildly giddy this might make you.

I have finally reached a point where I choose me. I choose to love who I have become. I choose to reject the shame being pushed on to me for not being who I was supposed to be in someone else’s eyes. Because I’m finally alive, and I actually love who I am, and for the first time in a very very long time, I have enough self-respect to fight for myself. I will no longer criticize who I am and I will thank myself for being brave enough for being the person I came here to be.

Being authentic can be incredibly difficult, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it is absolutely essential to being joyful. You will never be able to fully breathe easy when you are trying to hide who you are you are worried about people not liking you. Seriously, at the end of the day, the only person that you have to live with is the one that is running around inside your own head, so you might as well make friends with them.

And if you are afraid of therapy like I was for a very long time, I’d say there is help to be found in getting insights and perspectives from someone who is not so tied up in your story. Today I felt the catharsis that comes from laying everything out on the table and having someone be able to hear me. She was able to identify “data points” as she called them that helped me to wrap my mind around the circumstances I’m dealing with. It was so wonderful to hear names given to some of techniques I have been trying to manage the difficult relationship I’m dealing with. The best part is that I felt less alone and more linked into a field of research and analysis that is helping me to unravel the years of mess inside my head and heart. Whether it is a traditional psychologist, a family therapist or even a shaman or an energy healer, go and talk to someone. Don’t suffer in silence. Don’t be too afraid to reach out because support is out there. The worst thing is existing in isolated pain.

Then the next most important thing is building absolute confidence in your own heart that you have the capacity to survive anything. And you are going to survive through opening up your heart, not by closing it down. Avoiding pain is a survival strategy, not a solution. You can only hide for so long, but the law of attraction in life will keep bringing people your way to demonstrate a pattern until you finally get it. So I say, lean into the pain. Get curious. Ask why something is happening to you. Figure out what life is trying to show you. The universe has a subtle way of sending you signs and signals, and many of these come through people. If you consistently are bumping up against difficult people, try to dig deeper and discern what they are there to teach you. I know that for me, right now I am learning a deeper and more courageous love than I have ever attempted to know. I am in the fight for my own desire to live and thrive in this world. Each day is an absolute marathon and I’m giving it my all because my own well being depends on it.

So now at the end of my 10 day personal Joy Experiment, I actually have seen a dramatic improvement in my happiness. I really did start to enjoy the little things in life more and found more purpose in my day-to-day routine. I noticed that my commitment to living and improving  my life and my attitude made the biggest difference in my experience, and somehow it was a life-changing process. I invite you to do a little experiment of your own to see if you notice a difference, to see if you find more joy. Then please share your story, I’d love to hear what you learned!