Updated: Sep 3, 2019
In a world of instant gratification and easy dopamine hits, it is no wonder so many of us suffer from depression. We have been programmed to believe that we are here to be constantly entertained and that happiness should just be handed to us. You know what I have learned? Happiness it not a handout, we have to actually WORK for it. Never in my wildest dreams did I realize that I could’t truly achieve happiness unless I put in some effort. We all want it to come easy right? We as a “gimmie” entitlement generation are plagued with depression and anxiety because many of us have never learned the keys to a happy lifestyle.
I spent years asking God to fix me. To change my circumstances. I had it in my head that somehow life was just something that happened to me and around me and that the life I had was a product of circumstance. This is a victim mentality, did you realize that? “Life is happening to me, and I can do nothing to change it.” Does this sound at all familiar to anyone else? We are not victims of circumstance, we can choose to pave the path of our lives or let it pass by us. After having this realization, it took me even longer to do anything about it. It is so much easier to sit back and point the blame of my problems on something or someone else.
I understood the concept of taking responsibility for my mistakes already, but it never occurred to me to take responsibility for my life, the whole of it. What does that look like? My life in general had fallen to pieces, it’s a miracle my family is still in tact, because I was an absolute disaster. So, instead of asking God to fix me, I have started asking him to help me see what I can change to make things better. Little by little the inspiration has come, and despite the fact that I haven’t managed to fix everything yet, I can finally see the light, I feel more peace and I am able to see the next step in a series of baby steps to help me and my family into a better life.
What does it look like to take charge of your life? I am sure it looks different for everyone, but for me, it looks like structure and planning. It looks like goal setting (something I rarely do) and follow through. It looks like making commitments to myself and keeping them. Making my bed in the morning and enforcing daily routines and rituals. It looks like delegation of some of the household responsibilities and chores instead of trying to do them all myself. It means taking a hiatus from social media until I get my crap together. It looks like serving others. It means disabling my family Netflix account so there aren’t so many time wasters to distract me from my goals. It looks like going to the park more often and saying no when I truly do not have time.
Heavenly Father wants for us to become our best selves, in fact he told us we are agents unto ourselves (D&C 58:27). He put us on the earth to act, not to be acted upon. We are God’s children, created in his image. That means we have incredible and truly divine potential, meaning we have the capacity to become as he is. If we are just sitting around, allowing life to happen to us, are we living up to our potential? His plan is called the plan of happiness for a reason. If we want true and sustainable happiness, we have to choose to make a change in how we interact with the world. Put away your phones and your screens and make something, Be creative, Lift someone else’s spirits, shovel someone’s driveway, come up with a new business or game. Creativity and service seem to go hand in hand in creating a lifestyle of happiness. Create order in your chaos, you cannot tell me that Heavenly Father simply threw all of his creations together and expected them to work well together. Have you ever studied the human body? It is so intricate and detailed, those things didn’t come from disorder, they came from very precise detail and order. That is how he would have us order our own lives, in detail in our own time as we grow and become better agents of our lives. Once we all realize that we are the ones in control, we have the upper hand.
Don’t allow fear of inadequacy or even failure prevent you from moving forward, there is so much joy to be had. Just keep trying. Let failure show you how to do it better next time, and look ahead to the future with “perfect brightness of hope”(2 Nephi 31:20). The Lord is cheering you on, and often makes up the difference. If he doesn’t, there is something to be learned of it.
Have a most beautiful day, don’t give up, and keep smiling!