"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions."
Dalai Lama XIV

First off, what is happiness? According to Merriam-Webster, it is a state of wellbeing and contentment. To some, it's a person or place. To me, it's finally feeling free after being trapped for so long.

While we all can easily point out what happiness feels like, sometimes the difficult part is attaining it or figuring out how to.

I may only be 19 (almost 20), but I have seen and been through a lot of things in life that has taught me some very hard but meaningful life lessons. One lesson, in particular, has really resonated with me recently and I feel like I've done a lot of growing from it.

Sometimes in life, you hit a wall and you don't feel the happiest or that you are where you should be. Everyone goes through this, so know that you are not alone. But one of the best things to do during these times is to make sure that you are doing everything that makes YOU (not someone else) the happiest you can be.

Growing up, I have always had this need to put others before myself, their happiness was first. While that is not necessarily a bad thing it caused a lot of the trapped feeling that I had felt for so long.

I was a giver. I was the one always there for everyone (and still am today), even if it meant putting aside the feelings I was experiencing, whether they were good or bad. I was what my dad liked to call the peacemaker. I made sure everyone was happy and always tried to see both sides of a situation.

It could easily be said that I started to constantly push out my feelings and my emotions for the sake of others.

Happiness doesn't just come from what you do, it comes from within. While everything may be going great in life and you have everything you could ever ask for, sometimes you will wonder why you still don't feel truly happy. What I've found it that you won't truly be happy if you aren't happy with yourself first.

Don't risk your happiness for that of those around you. This means that sometimes you NEED to put yourself first, especially if that is the best thing for you to do.

You never know what someone else is going through in their lives and the friend that you think is fine may not be. The co-worker you always joke with is going through something. Even the person that was rude to you is going through something too. When we are truly happy we learn to not let the ideas and opinions of someone else affect us because they are not responsible for our happiness.

Life is too short to be anything but happy, so it's time to to get in that mindset. The more you believe and tell yourself that you are happy, the more you will not only start to be but feel too.