If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!

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Ljiljana Kostic nigerija nigeria liliana k story blog

How many times have you heard people say that happiness is a matter of choice? How many times has this phrase annoyed you while you struggled with many life challenges? How many times did you see happy people that had been through serious tragedies and hardships and wondered: “How do they do it?”

It might be especially difficult to always be happy if you were born in a country like Serbia, where we nurture a “culture of complaining”. In Serbia, when someone asks us how we are doing, we answer as if we were asked to tell everything that was wrong in our lives. Due to the bad economy, corruption and terrible political system, followed by years of different wars, sanctions, and poverty, we have generally become a nation with a negative mindset, which seems to have lost any hope of better tomorrow. With this sort of mindset, we raise our children, teaching them to suppress ambitions and dreams and to learn to live with limited possibilities.

Do you know those people who never complain, who seem to have it all figured out, who achieve all their dreams and goals, and who constantly laugh and spread positive energy?

Someone might say: “Well, you are one of them”. But the truth is that I have not always been a happy, positive person, and I still work hard to be one. But I’m on my way. How did I do it? I will share my little “secret” with you.

HAPPY FROM THE BIRTH?

I am naturally a happy, bubbly person. My mother taught me and my sister how to always be enthusiastic and how to rejoice in small things. But I was also born in Serbia. Although life has never been easy, it has had particularly rough turns in the year 2009, and hardship continued for the next couple of years. So I got “depressed”. I was complaining constantly, I was dissatisfied, and everybody was guilty for my hard life – from Tito, Milosevic, the Americans, the great-grandfather, my father, my mother … Everyone, except me. I have been blaming the circumstances for my unhappiness and was stuck living in the past.

LILIANA K IN NIGERIAN VILLAGE Ljiljana kostic nigerija story blog

One thing I’ve learned then is that we cannot control or change our past. What happened to us should help us learn lessons and become stronger. But we can decide our future. As long as we cry over our past days, we cannot move on because we still live in them. Pain, anger, blame-game, sorrow, desire for vengeance and hatred fill up our thoughts, so we cannot think of what we can do to make our lives better.

Maybe it is other people’s fault that you had a bad past. But it will only be your fault if you allow your past to make your future bad too.

Accept your past. Make peace with it and let it stay where it is. You need to move on. Your past should be like a trophy you keep on a shelf – a reminder that you have survived! Congratulations. Now stop staring at it and let it go.

THE SECRET

In 2013, my desire to change my life was getting stronger. But the negative mindset has taken over control of my life. That year, life took me to Montenegro, where I worked for several months. Also, life “arranged” for two amazing women to be my neighbors. Regardless of the hard lives they’ve had, both were happy, cheerful and full of love for everyone.

One day I stopped by them, and I started complaining about some things that happened to me, finishing with: “That can only happen to me.” One of my neighbors seemed to be upset by what I said. I still remember her telling me:

“Don’t say that! If you think negative thoughts, you will attract negative things. Have you ever read ‘ The Secret’?”

That day she gave me “The Secret”, and I made a decision to devote myself to carefully studying the same. I know that many “negative people” will say: “Here’s another one of those who promote the law of attraction and positive attitude.”

I do have respect for mental disorders, and I understand that when people suffer from real depression or others, cannot only decide to be happy. And that’s fine. But if you are one of those who are consciously sad and depressed, decide today to be happy! It’s hard, but it’s worth it!

It’s so easy to sit down and cry over your life and blame others for your own failures. It’s hard to decide to be happy when everything is going wrong. It’s hard to get out of comfort zone. It’s hard to take responsibility for your own life!

In the darkest period of my life, when I thought that nothing was going well for me I was sitting and reading “The Secret”. And “The Secret” talked about how we should be constantly grateful and that every morning when we wake up, we should say ten things we are thankful for.

“What is there for me to be thankful for?” thought the negative me. But then I decided to start paying attention to the world around me.

I was grateful that I was alive. I was grateful for good health. For strength. For the ability to start over every single day. I was grateful for the ability to love. For the ability to see the beauty where many people cannot see it. I was grateful for the enthusiasm and abnormal amounts of energy. For many talents. I was grateful for the people who loved me.

I was grateful for living in the house at the top of the hill and having a fascinating view of Boka Bay and the beautiful Adriatic Sea. Every morning I drank coffee and thanked God for that beauty. On my way from house to work, every day I was passing by some huge tree that I loved very much. And in my desperate attempt to find everything that I am grateful for, one day I said: “Thank you for this wonderful tree.” And I started laughing.

Has “The Secret” changed my life? Definitely. No, it did not magically bring me money, wealth, love and everything else. For this, you have to work hard and a lot. But it helped me build a lifestyle that further resulted in changing my entire life.

I became happier. How? Every morning when I get up, instead of finding thousands of reasons to be unhappy (and the reasons are always there), I find a thousand to be happy. I have surrounded myself with positive people and said goodbye to the toxic ones. I became more caring towards others, more grateful, more disciplined and above all more positive.

The “Secret” motivated me to begin to work more on myself, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and physically. It opened door to many other books, yoga, seminars and spiritual journey that further helped me develop my personality. But this book was definitely a base.

The book is very easy to read, and it is accessible to everyone, whether you are young or old, educated or uneducated. I believe that everyone can use this book to learn or change something. I have been buying and gifting it to other people for many years because I hope that in the hardest of days, it might help another soul.

Naturally, it is very easy to slip and fall back into negativity. Last year, because of the project at my work, I was forced to be surrounded by many toxic people and many bad situations that I could not control happened. In September, after one tragic event, it was very difficult for me to stay positive. With my negative mindset, it seemed as I was attracting many more bad situations. This lasted until December!

I was so “depressed” that I did not even want to admit to myself that I was responsible for prolonging my bad period and suffering.

But then I told myself: “Enough!”. Enough of whining, enough of self-pity, enough of negativity! Enough! I could not change the past. But I did not want to spend the rest of my life trapped in it.

And here I am today. I am happy.

Every morning I get up, and I decide to be happy. And then I choose to do everything that makes me happy and try to avoid the rest if I can. Very simple. Try it, you will not regret it.

Liliana K

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