How It All Began

September 10, 2021

Fatima Malik (she/her/hers), Low Entropy Volunteer Writer

 

Just a few years ago, a lot was going wrong in my life. It was a very hopeless, dark time where nothing seemed to align with my happiest self. 

 

At the time, my happiness was dependent or conditional on my environment, the people that surrounded me, the things I had or the lack of things I wanted. Once I realized that happiness could not be conditional on the external, but needed to come from within, my life began to change.

 

It’s not easy to go from being anxious and in a pit of depression to being happy and changing everything around in a day or two. Realistically, it could take months or years, and for me, it took months to rewire my brain to find small moments of happiness, regardless of what was happening in my life.

 

More than anything, I wished for contentment. Not extreme joy or extreme ecstasy – I just wanted to be content with my life. But to go from unhappiness to happiness, there needed to be a drastic lifestyle change.

 

I was conditioned to having my happiness dependent on my external reality, and it was tough for me to step out of that conditioning. So I evolved around it. I began looking at things that were working well or gave me even small amounts of joy, and I concentrated on those more than what was going wrong. Even though the things going wrong were much more significant and had a much bigger impact on me, I managed to find small moments throughout my day that I would capitalize on.

 

For example, if I got a moment of 10 minutes outside, where I could hear the birds, the wind and the trees, I would try and take my shoes off and stand on the grass to connect with Earth (it’s funny, but connecting with a planet felt easier than connecting with other humans). I would consciously feel the existence of joy or bliss or just subtle happiness, and then try to continue that feeling throughout my day.

 

Every day, I began writing down what I was grateful for or things I appreciated in my life (including those 10 minutes I had with the birds and trees). This was followed by what I wished for, which always began with “contentment.”

 

These lists of gratitude and wishes began changing my outlook on life. They gave me the ability to find happiness inside me rather than the external. And that was the first step of my transformation.

 

My lifestyle change began when I went through a journey of self-love, self-respect and self-worth. I had to get rid of a lot of toxicity in the form of people, things, habits, jobs and social media, and rearrange my priorities. My drastic lifestyle change is a whole other topic that I’ll address in another post, but how it began was just by finding small moments to be happy and grateful for.

 

Fast forward to a few years later, and I am content with my life overall. I am happy most of the time and in control of my wellbeing. So now I’m on the other side, and there is some depression and anxiety, but there is no pit that I fall into. It’s all very manageable, and being human, I have my emotional ups and downs, but it is never a dark, hopeless place, and I’m closer to my happiest self than I’ve ever been before.

 

There is, of course, no end or destination to this journey of transformation. It is an ongoing, lifelong process where you and your life just keep getting better and better. It is an adventure I look forward to every day.

 

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