Why Losing it All is Actually a Shortcut to Happiness

So, you lost the job you worked so hard to get. The person of your dreams didn’t have a place for you in his or hers. Is everything you thought you always wanted is no longer making you happy? Perfect.

You have two options now. You can throw yourself a pity party, or you can pick up the pieces and realize how lucky you are to be able to start over.

Recently, a friend referred to me as the “Queen of Reinvention.” I’ve earned this title, trust me. And it hasn’t come easy. Throughout the course of my 33 years, I have lived through enough setbacks, heartbreak, and soul crushing “why me” moments to learn that there is a real power that hides behind thinking you’ve lost it all. It’s as if each time I hit the ground, no matter how hard it hurts, there is a part of me ready to rise from the ashes.

About 4 years ago, I set out in search of a new life. Over one thousand miles away from the comforts of home, I planted new roots with zero desire to look back. I was at the tail end of my recovery following a tragic car accident that nearly cost me everything, and put me in bed for months. I had hit the proverbial “rock bottom,” but I was not at all prepared to stay there. Instead, I healed, I plotted, I planned, and then I set out to start over with a fierce determination.

Making your own happiness

I built a new life for myself, almost as quickly as you can ask, “What is she doing now?” New friends, new apartment, new job - even a fiancé – all in under three months.

This, my friends, is how I’ve discovered the joy of starting over.

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer. A creative. Someone who can design a whole reality from a thought when given a blank canvas. That’s exactly what it is for me - a blank canvas. Just a few months ago, when I found my canvas blank again, I found that most people expected to find me miserable. Depressed. Joyless. Stuck at the bottom again, alone. No way. Not me. Because this is where I find the joy. And without sounding like a cliché, self-help manual promising to change your life, here’s how you, too, can find the joy in starting over.

Shift Your Mindset

Mind over matter IS a thing – and you’re going to understand that now. This is where you also begin to understand that this opportunity literally fell into your lap for good reason. Remember that pity party I mentioned earlier? Cancel the event – ASAP. How? By shifting your mindset. By training yourself to see the good in every situation. Can’t see it yet? The universe is handing you the chance to go out, start over, experience more, learn more, feel more, and do more, on a silver platter. Though you may have lost your safety net, you’re still breathing - so empower your mindset and keep it moving.

Make a “What Not to Do” List

As you set out to pick up the pieces and start over, forget a to-do list. Start with a “what not to do” list, and jot down every mistake you’ve made that has caused you pain, misery, and the desire to resign yourself to a life of unhappiness. If you’re anything like me, there’s a good chance that you played some kind of role in finding yourself down and out again. Own it – we learn from our mistakes. This is the kind of stuff that has no place on your brand new, blank canvas, and will certainly prevent you from finding the joy in this new experience. If you keep running into walls you’ll eventually break yourself down, so avoid the wall, find a way around it, and use the lessons of the past to keep you focused.

Don’t Give Up

Giving up is the easy way out. Sure, a new beginning can feel scary. A fresh start is full of uncertainty and this just might not sit well with you. Don’t give up. Do you know how much easier it would be to say “screw it,” and run back, head first and arms open, into the situation that brought you back down to zero? I think about it every single day. But do you know why I don’t let myself go back to this place? Because nothing good ever comes easy. And if you’re given the opportunity to start fresh, find joy in something new, and set out on a new adventure, why the hell would you give that all up?


I’m Michelle, owner and founder of Michelle Dempsey Very Well-Written, a full-service content marketing business. I speak to female audiences regularly on topics including empowerment, personal development, and business success. I also have a personal blog, The Trusted Mama, where I tell honest tales of motherhood, marriage, everything in between. When I’m not writing, I can be found enjoying the outdoors with my family, enjoying Fort Lauderdale life with friends, and indulging in coffee, from sunup to sundown.

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Michelle Dempsey

Michelle is the owner and founder of Michelle Dempsey Very Well-Written, a full-service content marketing business. She speaks to female audiences regularly on topics including empowerment, personal development, and business success. She also has a personal blog, The Trusted Mama, where she tells honest tales of motherhood, marriage, everything in between.

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