Sometimes when I am lying in bed at night trying to fall asleep, a thousand thoughts go through my mind. One such night, I started thinking of how the definition of happiness and success has changed for me.
I used to be convinced that to be happy and successful, my life had to be a certain way: like having good grades and a good job. I had set very high standards for myself and whenever I was unable to reach them, I thought I was a failure. It took me years to realize how misguided my definition of happiness really was.
Growing up, I had a plan: I was going to get my Masters degree, get a job where I made good money, get married, and have children before the age of 30. That was it, I did not look beyond that. And, I was doing alright.
I got my Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Relations while being from a family filled with medical professionals. I chose an alternative route from my family. As I got older, I started learning more about myself and my passions; and slowly, all the “requirements” that I needed for a happy life, started to become more like an obligation. I had always had a life plan and when I realized that that was not what I wanted, I was suddenly lost and disoriented.
[Read More: “Success, Happiness, and Anxiety: My Story“]
I felt like a disappointment because as a Nepali, I was not meeting the standards that had been expected of me by society. And, I still feel I haven’t, as I continue to navigate life.
About two years ago, my best friend Katie told me about the “Laws of Attraction” and the power of positive affirmation. Whatever you put your energy into is what comes back to you. At first, it sounded ridiculous but I gave it a chance and began to practice it.
The Laws of Attraction state that what you consciously think of, becomes what your subconscious starts creating. I began practicing monitoring my thoughts because, as the law states, what you feel is what you consistently think about and that is what you attract. Every day, I continue to practice how I use my mind, I think of what I want and desire instead of what I do not want. It is a daily conscious decision that I have to make. I follow the “Feel-Believe-Receive” philosophy. In this universe, believe it or not, what you are seeking is also seeking you back.
I started to stay more in the present than feel guilty about the past or worry about the future. I started to believe that every moment has a meaning and that if we pay attention, we can learn so much. I started to feel more strongly about my passion to write because I felt I had purpose and I could not waste my presence in the world without giving something back. So, here I am writing, something that has not always been easy, but I’m still writing.
Instead of focusing on not being the doctor my community expected me to be, I started to focus on what I could do — write. I started to write about how I felt different and started meeting more women, who grew up feeling the same way, and all of a sudden, I felt less alone because there are so many like me out there.
As my thoughts and beliefs started to change, I started to change. I started to like this version of myself. Someone once asked me, “What is the most important thing people should know about you?” My answer is, “I am a happy person. Genuinely happy.”
I don’t know whether the laws of attraction or positive affirmation changed my life or if it was my own experiences, but my life has changed for the better. Life started to feel happier. I follow certain life philosophies that guide me through life every day, and they have helped me immensely in the last two years.
I started to appreciate and value moments, family and friends, who love and support me every day. Surrounding yourself with high-quality people who radiate positivity is when I feel like I am at the highest point of my life. I am grateful every day for a family that continues to support me in my ambiguous goals, as long as I am satisfied with my life every moment.
A couple of days ago I read a quote that said, “What will people say?” This sentence has killed more dreams in the world than anyone.
It is so true. I was so unhappy when I cared about what people thought and let it affect my choices in life. As you grow older, you have to teach yourself to not let your decisions get affected by what people might say because the truth is, people will continue to talk about you. And none of that should matter. The people who love you will stay in your life, no matter what path you choose; and it is these people who will stand by your side.
Every day is a new day. Every day, I choose to be kind. Every day, I choose to appreciate and value the people in my life. Every day, I choose to see the beauty in this world. Every day I choose to be happy, because it took me years to realize this but ‘Happiness is always in your Line of Sight’ — if you just open your eyes and look at it.
Anjana Rajbhandary is originally from Kathmandu, Nepal. She has also lived in Italy and Ireland. She received her Masters in Human Development from the University of Maine. She now lives in Chicago, IL, and loves it.