M in Los Angeles writes:
I had to watch my mom go through an abusive relationship for 14 years growing up, while having to endure some abuse myself. When my mom finally got divorced I thought life would get better for me. I went away to college and college turned out to be rough too. I endured it anyway and got my degree. I came out to Los Angeles to realize my dream and now I’ve been out of work for several months.
I am a strong person because of all this, but I can only take so much. I know what I want, but no one will give me a chance to get there. I don’t want much out of life. Just a good job and to be able to support myself. Why does this keep happening? How many trials and tribulations do I have to go through? I’m not asking for my easy life, but why do bad things keep happening? Haven’t I had enough? I’m trying to be optimistic, but I’m at my wits end, and I don’t know what else to do. Will I ever be happy?
I know some days it just doesn’t seem like the world is ever going to cut you any slack, but you have no choice but to keep forging ahead. There is no divine epiphany that I can hand you that will explain away or justify why things have been so hard for you. Bad things have happened to you and it has been hard, but there is nothing that can change that. While all those experiences have given you the strength to overcome many obstacles, you sometimes let those negative experiences define you.
You aren’t asking for a lot, but it does seem like you have to put forth twice the effort to achieve your goals. It’s not fair, it’s certainly not pleasant, but it is the way it is. You are strong and intelligent, which is why you’ve made it this far. Your intelligence is also what is going to break the negative cycle, and help you to achieve your goals. No one can ever call you a quitter, but part of you expects things to go wrong. Sometimes trying to remain optimistic isn’t enough, you also have to allow yourself to expect things to go right.
The trials and tribulations of life never end. How we handle them, and react to them, does impact the level of happiness we can achieve. You will be able to support yourself, even have some of the finer things in life. But first, you need to start believing that these things not only are within your reach, and start portraying yourself as capable and deserving. You have your degree, but you haven’t quite learned how to sell yourself. Times are tough, and there is a lot of competition out there. Those who shine the brightest are the ones who get the jobs, get the chances, get the breaks. They don’t let the rejections and negatives of yesterday dictate how they handle today, they just try and figure out how to be better and not make the same mistakes. Confidence radiates a competence and a beauty that is seldom overlooked.
You got ripped off of a happy childhood, college sucked and the real world isn’t all that warm and fuzzy, either. So much of your life has been shaded with gray that a large part of you is actually afraid to be happy, because happiness to you is only fleeting moments that someone or something can rip away.
Your victories and successes will come, because you have what it takes to persevere. Failure just isn’t in your nature. But happiness… that means you will have to learn to let go of the pain and the fear. A little bit of counseling would do you a world of good. Through therapy, you will rediscover yourself, and how to be happy. When you learn to see yourself for who you really are, others will see you, too. It will be the turning point from darkness into light – things will seem less challenging, because more things will go right.