In the last two years, I have been through many up moments, down moments, and moments in between. And the only time I look back is to see how far I’ve come. Having more faith than fear, choosing to be grateful, and taking responsibility for my own happiness – were key to giving me the strength to take back control of my happiness and my life – after years of grieving over the loss of my father, dissatisfaction in my career, relationship and overall life.

So I put together a few thoughts to share with you five things that I did to do just that.
5 Things I Did To Take Back Control Of My Life And My Happiness | @projectinspo

1. I stopped feeling sorry for myself.

I often struggled (and still do, sometimes) with feeling like a victim. One minute I am on top of the world, and the next minute I am completely alone feeling sorry for myself. And then I replay the hardships of my past over and over again until I get lost in my own head.

There comes a time when you have to make the decision to stop getting in your own way. Life is not ever going to be perfect. And I am not so sure that it gets “easier” – I think that you become stronger, and more resilient – more capable of handling stress in a healthier way.

There will be moments when all you will want to do is quit, and there will be people who do not choose to stay by you when you need them the most.  But strength is developed through hardships and solidified with time. You have to save yourself, from yourself.

Make the decision to believe in you. Choose to stop listening to your doubts. Own your mistakes, then forget them. Love yourself first, and get on with your life.


2. I didn’t let failure convince me to quit.

There’s something about failure that sucks us in and spits us out – it takes away a little piece of our confidence, preventing us from wanting to try as hard. And this is the absolute worst thing that you can do – let the fear of failure prevent you from continuing on and pushing through.  I have failed more times than I can count.  I am not the best at everything – I don’t even know if I’m the best at ANYTHING.  But I didn’t let that thought prevent me from trying over and over again.

There are so many examples of iconic, successful, famous, AND everyday people that have been known throughout history to have admit that they have failed, but more importantly – admit that their failures are what helped make them who they are today.

Because our perception of failure is what we need to overcome.  Failure is NOT a bad thing.  It’s actually a wonderfully productive blessing – that will guide us in the right direction.  If you know that something doesn’t work, you’re going to get smarter, so that the next time you try – you know what NOT to do.  Why do you think that failing is a bad thing?  Maybe it’s a blow to your ego – but pride is for the birds.  Failure is a gift, and without it – you won’t ever be successful.


3. I took a risk, and did something that scared me.

This is something that people often struggle with in life – it goes hand in hand with the fear of failure.  But I’ve realized that when something scares you – it’s usually a sign that you should be doing it.

I had dinner with a friend recently and she started telling me about how she felt unfulfilled at work –  she had a new boss who didn’t get along with her, she felt like her responsibilities were decreasing, she didn’t feel as though she were learning anything new – all of this, and also told me that she had the opportunity to work on something completely new.

She went on to tell me that she was scared – she wasn’t sure if that were the smartest thing for her to do – leave her team (who she loved) and work that she was good at, to do something she had no idea about.  And I couldn’t stop screaming, “YES! YES! YES!”

You have to do things that scare you.  Comfort zones may be a wonderful place, but nothing ever grows there.  Imagine being too scared to try something new, and choosing to be in your comfortable situation for months, or even years.  Will anything change? Probably not.

Being content is fine if it makes you happy, but in my case – in my story – I had reached a point where I had no choice but to do something completely radical to change my life and take back control of it.  If I had stayed with what made me feel comfortable, I never would’ve been happy.  I would’ve been miserable, continually, until I felt like I had nothing else let to be live for.

There will be moments that you encounter throughout life when you become nervous, anxious, scared, fearful of what could happen – but it is absolutely possible for you to harness those feelings, and look at them as signs of what to do moving forward – instead of moving away from them.

So if the idea of doing something scares you, maybe you should actually do it.


4. I stopped putting my happiness in the hands of others.

Why doesn’t he do this for me?  Why doesn’t she do this for me?  How could she do this to me?  How could he do this to me?   Why don’t they care about me?  What is with wrong with me?  What did I do?  He doesn’t make me happy.

F-ck them. F-ck all those people. (sorry for my language, but I get passionate about this sh-t.)

I used to find reasons for why I was sad or unhappy or unfulfilled or unsatisfied by placing my happiness in the hands of others, giving people a certain kind of responsibility to make me happy. And yes, it’s great to be in a committed relationship or expect certain things like that from your good friends, but at the end of the day – no one is responsible for your happiness but YOU.  If you constantly depend on other people to make yourself happy, you are constantly going to be disappointed.

And it’s important to remember that you very well do possess the power to make yourself happy. You don’t have to depend on others for your own happiness. And when you start to do things for yourself – become independent in this pursuit of happiness – no one will be able to take that happiness from you.


5. I started doing things that made me happy.

Art? Music? Travel? Eating? Writing? Sketching? Walking? Running? Swimming? What is it that you like to do? What is it that if you woke up every single day, and could do without having to worry about money or your problems, what would it be?

I wanted to get away from my immediate environment – I wanted to get away from my everyday life – the everyday life that made me unhappy because I didn’t do anything to change it. But before I could get away and go on this epic trip, I had to make do with what I had.

I started going to new restaurants, exploring new roads or streets, taking wine + paint classes for no reason, googling DIY crafts just to pretend like I’d actually follow through with them, then actually follow through with them.  I tried new things, ate new foods, met new people – even though I was in the same city.

Doing things that genuinely make you happy will actually make you happier.  And when you are happier, more people will want to be around you, and make you happy. It’s a chain reaction that might sound cliche, but cliche things are just that for a reason.

Look within yourself to figure out what it is that makes you laugh, smile, jump with joy, dance for no reason, be silly – and if you aren’t sure about what it is that makes you happy – then TRY EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING.  What have you got to lose, but your sad thoughts?  What have you got to lose?   Nothing.

Thank you so much for reading. For daily inspirational + motivational updates, follow @projectinspo on instagram and join our community on facebook.



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With love,

  • This is so inspiring! #4 really hit home because I’ve gone through the same thing. But, like you, I’ve decided to take control of my own happiness. You’re a strong woman and I’m glad you turned your life around because you deserve all the happiness in this world Jinna! :’)

    ♥ Nana’s Notebook

  • Excellent post, very well written! It’s so easy to get into a rut in your daily life and comfort zone, and before you know it you start feeling lost and unhappy. Thanks for this!

  • These are so important to remember!

  • Good for you! A very inspiring read x

  • Great post! I’ve been going through the same thing – – family loss and grinding job. Now trying to do what I love, writing and travel, to get to a happier place.

  • Shelley

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I love this post. Especially number 4, I’ve done that too many times and I now realize that I have to find my own happiness in thing that I like and not how it would please others. Again, I love your blog. Thank you 🙂

  • I love this post! I spent so many years doing what I “should” do and making excuses for myself on why I couldn’t possibly take that big risk, or do the things I really wanted to do. Changing those attitudes gave me my life back. I’m a much more vibrant, resilient and happy person now that I’m not constantly carrying all of my fears, my perceived shortcomings, and my dreams everywhere with me.

  • Jinjin

    Thank you so much for writing this post! I was getting so sidetracked in life with trying to balance school and what i actually love doing. Your article really helped me rethink all of my choices and what you said is so true! I took sciences this year at school mostly because my parents told me to, but now i realize that i should have taken what i actually like because it’s me that’s gonna actually go through it, not them.

  • Lena

    Thank you so much for writing this. While reading this I could hear my own voice saying all of these words, not only to myself, but to others. I have really never heard anyone else say these things so perfectly. Thank you for lending your voice to the Universe. We are not taught a roadmap for these types of problems and how to address them. But, just believing in myself and doing the right thing has never steered me wrong. I need to listen to and FOLLOW my gut more. All of the stories I hear about people who have taken the road less traveled and made their own way in this world, are about people who have followed their gut and never looked back. Happiness comes from within ourselves. Something that I myself need to practice more. Thank you again for you words, they have meaning and do not fall on deaf ears.

  • I feel like this post was especially written for me. ❤ I loved it Jinna.
    Starting now, I’d choose to be happy.

  • Very inspiring, it is definitely worth reading n worth trying

  • Great article, thanks for putting it out there – I needed this right now!

  • This is what we all need to do, thanks for sharing! My main one is probably to stop comparing myself to others and appreciate who I am. Putting myself above any self-consciousness is a really big one!

  • A. Stewart

    I agree with everything you say.

    One other very important thing to remember about “success” and all the rest of it: we don’t have to justify our existence here to anybody else: we are entitled to be here, whoever we are, just by virtue of being born into the world.

    there are many many reasons to love life just for what it is – don’t let the edited, curated pictures of others’ lives lead you astray – inside they are just as lost and searching as everybody else.

  • Rae

    Loved this positive post. So much of our own happiness lies with now we decide we want to see the world and how we decide to navigate the world. Of course, some things are out of our hands, but the majority of our unhappiness comes from situations or thought-processes that we have the ability to change!

    Rae | Love from Berlin

  • This post was perfect…. all my thoughts written within a blog post so i get myself to do them all!
    thank you 🙂

  • This is so inspiring. I should take note all these especially numbers 1, 3 and 5. Thank you for sharing your experience. ☺

  • Susana Silva

    Thank you SO much for this post! You wouldn’t believe how much I relate to every single word.
    Right now I’m starting a new relationship and I am very much involved…I really believe in meeting someone to spend the rest of my life with, but sometimes I think I’m looking for someone who doesn’t exist. I like this guy but I hate the feeling of having to choose words in order no to show this or that feeling, it feels like he is in charge and I do’n t like that at all. I guess I tried and now it is time to step out, before we start fighting and I get angry for not having him fully. Fear is taking advantage, my comfort zone is really a much happier place, even if I get very lonely sometimes.

  • Great post! I’m in the middle of a sort-of depression, feeling terribly lost and overwhelmed by everything, so this really hit home for me. Thanks for writing this.
    I also shared your post with my readers (in my Weekly Reads blog series), I figured they might find it useful or inspirational as well. You can find it here:
    Have a great day! 🙂

  • Unknown

    Thank you so much for this post. I have been struggling lately with being happy as I am going through multiple life-changing events at once. I have been relying on someone else to help make me happy and that person has recently started to make me feel anxious and alone when I cannot talk to them. I need to get in control of my own feelings and learn ways that I can be fulfilled as a person.

  • Certainly something I needed to read. I struggle with taking control of my happiness and am happy you took the time to share how you’ve tapped into your own.
    Thanks for this J!
    x Tanaka

  • Very Inspiring Read…Thank you for sharing.
    Epsita |

  • Thanks for the post.

    Growing up, I used to be afraid of failure. I would panic if I did not perform well. The fear stopped me from succeeding.

    Since graduating college, I have learned that life is too short to stress over. I have learned that we only have one life. It is a waste to not chase your dreams.

    We can’t depend on others or things to please us. We are the ones in control.

  • This was so close to my heart, as someone who had a very tough 5-6 years. I could look back and acknowledge they were tough and leave it at that, but the truth is that as heartbroken and pained I’ve been at times, they have been the most transformative years. When so much was outside of my control, I decided to take control in other areas of my life and I am seeing the benefits now. Doing what you love, taking risks and especially not letting failure get the best of you and seeing it as a gift, as an opportunity to learn and grow… It all rings so true. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Inma x

  • one of the best post I’ve read in a blog!
    thanks so much for sharing <3
    feel so resourceful and inspired with the steps you share to bring back happiness and take control of my life !


  • Reem

    Thank you for this post. It really is inspiring and I came accross it at just the right time. Your blog is a revelation and your pictures are stunning.
    Best of Luck x

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  • Sophiya

    I am always really inspired to read real life suggestions and somebody’s experience in overcoming some difficulties. Thank you! All your tips are awesome and I am sure that some will work for me as well!
    Sophiya Mendes|

  • Your post is great. I really want to try and find myself as well because I have been feeling lost for as long as I could remember.