I spent a lot of time working out all the disparaging facets of my personality and in the end it came down to acceptance of all of it. I shed the guilt (I finally figured out that guilt serves no purpose but to paralyze us), the insecurity (also paralyzing), and embraced life and myself. Some of that was saying fuck it, yeah. A lot of it was saying fuck the past. I left behind who I was and sought who I am meant to be. I prayed. I thought. I wrote. I partied. I talked to friends. I blogged and tested out the true facets anonymously online. I flirted. I played and loved and shoved myself out of my comfort zone. I ate right.
Everyone in my life resisted. Every. Single. Person. They even resisted me eating right.
But I pushed on, caught up in a sort of desperate faith that not only would Christ help me, but that I had no choice. And here, now, ten years later, I am happier and more myself than ever before, and my relationships are all much improved.
People who know me say I'm gregarious and outgoing. I just laugh. They didn't know me before. I've had to work at it, consciously put myself out there and I've taken a few tumbles, believe you me.
I have a friend who is a psychiatrist. She says research has proved we can truly think ourselves happy.
Neuroscience and brain imaging has shown increasing potential for helping science understand happiness and sadness. Though it may be impossible to achieve any comprehensive measure of happiness objectively, some physiological correlates to happiness can be measured. Stefan Klein, in his book The Science of Happiness, links the dynamics of neurobiological systems (i.e., dopaminergic, opiate) to the concepts and findings of positive psychology and social psychology.
Nobel prize winner Eric Kandel and researcher Cynthia Fu describe their findings that depression can be diagnosed very accurately just by looking at MRI brain scans. The idea is that, by identifying neural correlates for emotions, scientists may be able to use methods like brain scans to tell us more about all the different ways of being "happy".
An idea: If you force yourself to be happy at first, consciously decide at all times to think positively, with love and acceptance, you will physically change the way your neurons fire. Even without physical proof, the habit gets easier and easier until it's nearly an unconscious action. I described a little of what I did when I decided to be my true self to my psych friend and she told me it's clear I made a physical change in my brain. It doesn't even take that long, either.