If you have ever been told, “you look happier” or have been told how you have changed for the better; you will understand how good it is to hear those words. Becoming a happier person has changed me for the better; I’m not saying I am happy one hundred and ten per cent of the time, nor am I saying I do not have bad days just like everybody else. But when I look back to the kind of person I was growing up or even the girl I was two years ago, have I changed? Most definitely, but for the better…
Background story, growing up I was always a negative person, I always thought the worst and was remarkably pessimistic. Growing up my mum calling me miss chatterbox shifted to miss negative and rather than saying positive things about my day, I became quite an unhappy child in some sight. Now I believe when trying to improve your mood, there is a significant importance in recognising why you think negatively or pinpointing what is making you unhappy in life. My negativity stemmed from being bullied and the psychological effect it had even after the bullying had stopped. More recently, being in the wrong kind of relationship had a detrimental effect on my happiness.
Effect of Bullying
Starting from the beginning; I grew up being bullied and for as long as I could remember, people picked on me. The only school experience I enjoyed was my first ever school(s) (reception in one school and years one & two in another) and then college (years twelve and thirteen). While year eleven was not so bad, was I completely happy? Definitely not. While Primary school consisted of just the ‘silly’ name calling and losing friends for being friends with a fellow outsider of the ‘popular group’ you would think that it is not that serious. I think my mum thought that as well as the advice was to always ignore them and rise above it, that was until one of the girls had decided to slap me right across the face so bad I ran home with a handprint on my cheek. I must not have been any older than eight or nine. When my mum told me that we were moving house, I felt so relieved and excited at the thought of making new friends. I could not have been more wrong.
Starting a school in year six was never going to be easy, everybody had their friendship groups as they grew up with each other and everybody had their own clique (at the age of eleven, how disgusting is that thought?). To summarise my year six experience it was not that pleasant while the name calling continued whether this was jokes about my hair colour or my surname (which thankfully I can laugh about now) to an eleven-year-old who already had confidence issues, it was bound to affect me more than someone who had not been subjected to that behaviour before.
Year seven was okay I guess and was not completely terrible but the next three years of high school were absolute hell. I can hands down still to this day say that while everyone seemed to have an amazing high school experience with their friends and misses high school, I could not think of anything worse. When I used to have the old blog I remember writing a detailed account of my bullying story in order to both make awareness that people are not alone but also to have my own outlet for my emotions. Normally people will try to hide experiences like this as they move on but the effect bullying has is for a lifetime. Did my outlet work? Yes. Well sort of… Until I heard the same girls were still making remarks on me as they read all about how they affected me. They probably did not like the reminder of their childish and nasty actions growing up but nor the victims but hey ho! Life goes on. Being constantly spoken about; behind your back, to your face, online, in real life, really does have an effect on you. While I have grown from what I see as a traumatic experience, I have comfort in knowing that I was not that kind of person and do not hold the conscience of belittling someone due to my own insecurities.
Consequences of Childhood
Now while what some would call my ‘sob story’ has been told, now onto the real talk. “Courtney, how does this have an effect on your positivity?” To put it straight it knocked my confidence of having and maintaining friendships. I became so self-conscious and anxious that people would walk out on me or talk behind my back etc, etc. Now, this had an effect on my positivity because I never thought I could trust anyone nor would I feel comfortable being in a group of people. Thankfully, over time my trust in people has increased and my social anxiety has reduced significantly and now to the point where it does not severely impact me every day. I am not saying it has gone completely as I do not think that it ever will; but I know how to keep myself at ease and being at university, learn independence and how to do things without needing someone by my side twenty-four-seven.
Most people growing up had relationships in secondary school and by the time they had left school were either in a long-term thing or with their next boyfriend; I am not shaming that, but that was not me. Growing up because of being bullied no one took an interest on me and while I felt left out thinking that no one ‘fancied’ me, I am so grateful I was not subjected to that at such a young age. My first and technically only official boyfriend was not until I was seventeen, which may sound late to some but it is what it is. The use of quotation marks is used because looking back this relationship was more of a friendship; with the exception of me being so emotionally involved, the relationship was not healthy for either of us. I won’t sit here and act like an angel and pretend that I have not taken my issues to social media before as an outlet for emotions or been the saint one hundred per cent of the time. But in the meantime of not being with that person for nine months now, I want to be careful with what I say and do not want to sit here and ‘trash’ him – if that is the correct colloquial saying. I once cared about this individual and despite ending on bad terms before I moved away, I wish him the best in life and hope he is happy.
Without going into too much detail, this relationship was not healthy and while I hold some special and happy memories; I think it is safe to say, everyone on the outside could tell that this relationship was almost doomed from the start. Since then I have learnt that it is important to put your happiness first and remember that sometimes holding on is more painful than letting go. I think anyone can agree heartbreak is shit, putting it straight out there. Nights of getting angry, crying your heart out and driving listening to your breakup playlist can take months to put an end to. It certainly did for me – I blame Kelly Clarkson ‘Because of You’ for this one. Out of heartbreak, you do experience that post break up glow up *which thinking about, I might write a post about* and during this time you realise how much more time you spend smiling than crying or less time checking your phone waiting for a message and more time laughing with friends. You learn what you like and dislike in a relationship and you learn your worth as cliché as that may seem.
Coming out of a relationship which was draining (for the both of us) made me realise how much you do not need to be in a relationship to be happy. Winter rolls around and everyone is in a relationship and then it seems summer comes along and breaking up spirit is in the air. Nevertheless, just because some people are happier in relationships, it does not mean that you need a relationship to make you happy. Because I can tell you now, you certainly do not. I managed to experience a majority of my freshers year focusing on friendships and meeting new people including those who I have not mentioned on my blog yet. Alena this one is for you babes, I know you have been waiting a while for your spotlight *much love* and all the others who got me through my first year at university: Leon, Izzy, Ellie, Weronika and of course Xian. The list of the people I am grateful for meeting is endless.
So how have I become happier? I have eliminated the number of people around me, distancing myself from those who do not have a positive effect on me. I spend more time with my cousins who are sisters to me, I go for late night drives where I blast out my favourite songs and sing along to them. I keep a Pinterest board of positive quotes and things that brighten my mood i.e. pictures of sunflowers. Slowly but surely I am trying to eliminate the amount of time I spend complaining (I’m sure my mum and sister may try and disagree) and I try to appreciate the little things in life more. Cuddles with my dog, being tagged in things on Facebook or even getting excited about finding new gluten-free items, are amongst many things I am grateful for.
Life is not about dwelling on the past or using past events to put the blame on your unhappiness. The key to becoming happier is to change things that are preventing you from doing so. Only you can control your life. You need to change your outlook and take action. My key advice? Do not let someone determine your happiness nor give them sole responsibility for your happiness.
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”
I wish you the happiness you all deserve and if any of you are in need of someone to talk to; you can always reach me via my Twitter or Instagram – courtneybekahx or pop a comment down below!
Much Love & Happiness,
Courtney Bekah x