Staying at a beautiful hotel or visiting a fabulous restaurant with friends and loved ones brings radiant bouts of happiness. It's not because you are dining out (well, sure, in part it is), it's because you are with people who make you happy in a place that's pleasing to you.
Every day, we make choices that define how we are going to feel. We choose where we live, work, who we live with, what to wear, and the things that surround us. All choices. And we may think we need to live, work, or wear what we do, but we can make changes. Can we just walk away from our job, or buy an entirely new wardrobe? Well, no. Not all at once. But, as my yoga teacher has said, we need to make space in our lives for what's ahead. And sometimes, that means taking an uncomfortable leap of faith.
I've been there. I stayed in a shitty, somewhat emotionally abusive and confining relationship with someone who really didn't offer me much. Yet we didn't live together, share finances, or do much that kept us bound together. I loved his family and his children, and because of that, I was terrified to let go. I was worried I'd never find love again, never have a big family. I was a 42 year old single mom, and the possibilities of meeting someone new, who had awesome kids, seemed limited. In the end, I found myself choosing my emotional and physical (the stress was literally beginning to kill me) well-being over the fear of loss, and I left. A year later, I found the love of my life, who happens to have three great kids and a wonderful extended family. I'd never have thought it possible, and now it's mine.
It's the same with anything. Jobs, homes, friendships. Most of us can't revamp our lives at the snap of a finger. Our budgets (and our hearts) don't allow. But we can slowly replace things (and release toxic friends), piece by piece. In regards to living space, begin by getting rid of what you don't absolutely love. Your space may look bare. That's okay. (I've recently done it... be warned, it's initially overwhelming.) Allow the space to remain open until you find something you really love to fill it.
I've sold lots of things, lately. Not a fan of Craigslist, I started a facebook page that is basically an online yard sale, and I've kept it local. Having it local is easy for transactions to occur, and is generally safe (we live in a pretty small, quiet area). In this group, I've sold hundreds of dollars worth of items, and bought other people's things (at a fraction of the retail value) that suit my home. Most recently, I found two vintage copper pots at a neighbor's house sale; one was used for washing clothes, the other as a garbage bin. They just happen to perfectly match the copper of my mailbox and are now holding firewood on my front porch. I couldn't have hoped for anything this perfect. Search for things that make you feel good, and when you find something that does, even one piece (even if it goes with nothing else), buy it. Designers always say that if your house is filled with things you love, the space will flow.
Toxic friendships/relationships aren't as easy to drop. Walking away from someone you've been friends with forever, or for six months, isn't as easy as donating old clothes or selling a car. At some point though, you have to honor your spirit, despite what they may feel. If someone is draining you, making you feel bad, or using you, why keep them in your life?
Honoring who you are will make you a happier, healthier person. As I get older, I've begun to realize that life is too short to be in a place that doesn't feed your soul. Create the life you desire by starting now. Get rid of one thing, however small, that doesn't make you feel good. There you will have put into motion the change you wish to occur in your life.