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Opinion

Finding true happiness can be a challenge, worth it in the end

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March 2, 2012

These past several months, I have written about different ways readers can improve their lives. Ultimately, I try to share the knowledge I’ve gained in hopes that it will help someone else learn and change for the better. Because I feel very stable and happy with my life, I now want to help others reach the point I am at. However, I did not always want to help others, nor did I feel much happiness for several years.

Whatever the reasons, I eventually worked through my depression, and in comparison to those years, now feel like I am constantly walking around bursting with life, happiness and enthusiasm. Looking back at just this past year when I really turned my life around, I noticed a few key factors that contribute to my happiness. By sharing my story, I hope that you can reflect on and discover the keys to your happiness.

One of the most substantial contributors to my happiness is having a dependable support system. At first, my primary support came from my parents. Specifically, during my senior year of high school I began to open up to my mom and realized exactly how resourceful she is and how much I enjoy talking to her.

Then I came to college, met my boyfriend and now I have his unconditional support and love as well. Add in a couple close friends and the world’s most incredible Resident Assistant staff and there is never a problem that I have to solve alone. Knowing that these wonderful people are always here for me has made a world of difference in my security and wellbeing. By putting myself out there and trusting people, I was certainly hurt, but I learned who to trust and established some lasting connections that made it more than worthwhile.

With a support system intact, I feel more comfortable with trying new things and pursuing my true passions. College has opened my eyes to the world around me in all aspects of life. I participate in extracurriculars that I enjoy such as being an RA, Muggles United, playing intramural soccer, writing for the paper and Peace Dialogues. In relation, I seek involvements that will allow me to learn and grow.

For example, I took the Controversies in Politics course last semester just to open my mind to opposing viewpoints on topics such as abortion and the death penalty. I also realize I spent most of my life unaware of diversity of any kind, and am excitedly trying to make up for all that I missed over the years. The world is an incredible place that I am only beginning to explore.

Besides opening my eyes to outer opportunities, college and the people close to me enabled me to take time to really reflect on who I am as a person. Over the summer and continuing into this school year, I managed to drastically change my personality. While all the elements I loved remained, the less desirable traits I possessed weakened considerably, and some new traits appeared all together.

At first this huge change seemed unexpected and a bit uncomfortable to me and those who knew me, we all quickly adjusted when we realized that my more accepting and reflective nature complimented rather than detracted from my typical excitable personality.

I also became a rather positive person because I learned how to change my negative thoughts into constructive, positive ones. The mere decision to look on the bright side and to let go of negative or unchangeable events really changed my outlook on life both day-to-day and overall. While all of these factors seem to easily fall into place when detailed out on paper, I can assure you that the actual road to where I am now was not at all simple. I hope that all of you take the time to reflect on what factors helped you change for the better, and always seek to continue improving yourself.

Remember that there is no one solution, but an infinite number of options to reaching happiness. No matter what life throws your way, remember to hold your head high and never give up.

Jaime Haines is an exuberant puppy-lover and “House” addict and plans to use her psychology degree to encourage activism and well-being through counseling, workshops, speeches, and the written word.