Look, I’ll be honest here. Sadness, angst, restlessness, those are easy emotions for me. Not to deal with. But to understand. I lived a lot of years trying to balance the meds and lifestyle habits that would eventually help me to stabilize my major depressive disorder. These days, things are going really right and THAT is actually what feels wrong.

Last week I found out that my very first short film was selected for screening at SXSW Film Festival (a big deal for those of you who are in other industries). I also found out I get to attend the entire week for free. This little unpaid role I took after months of applying and not hearing back has actually become the most lucrative of my career so far. I am walking around in a cloud of pride and hope. Getting to do what I really want and being acknowledged and rewarded for it is something I thought I could never have for myself. So here are the things I’ve been telling my brain over and over:

Don’t invent problems where there aren’t any. There has been so much chaos in my life that I feel like anytime the storm is calm that must mean there’s a fire I’m just not seeing. It’s usually anxiety and not reality that are telling me those things.

You are allowed to be happy. When you spend so long being unhappy and living a life that feels like someone else’s, you eventually convince yourself that this is what you deserve. I have clawed my way from that mentality for so long. Now I just have to dig my heels in when my brain starts freaking out about contentment.

Acknowledging your success doesn’t take away from other people’s successes. Ah, the comparison game. I might be doing this, but so and so is doing this and isn’t that so much cooler. Nah. 1) it’s probably not that much cooler 2) you’re trying to belittle your own worth and success. Accept that you can both be doing well and that there is enough happiness around for everyone.

Contentment is not the same as complacency. Giving yourself kudos for a win isn’t you backsliding into your old lazy habits. It’s just fuel for the continued work your doing and encouragement to keep on keeping on. Just because you are not a finished product does not mean that you need to wait to celebrate yourself and find contentment in the journey. Life IS the journey.

For those of you who maybe don’t do so well with just letting yourself be okay, I hope this list helps! Let me know what you think you would add or how reading has helped you.