I have a confession, friends, and it’s not one that I’m very proud of. But it needs to be said, so here it goes:
I was unhappy for years, and it was all my own fault.
You guys, this was a revelation. I can’t even remember when it all clicked, but one day, after months of self study and journaling and research on happiness I came to the conclusion that I was the only person who could make myself happy. And I was unhappy. So who’s fault was that? Mine.
This is not to say that other people and circumstances cannot make you happy or unhappy. My kids make me happy every day. What I mean is that real, deep seeded unhappiness comes from somewhere inside an individual, and until you acknowledge that and take control over it, you’re never going to feel any better.
When I reached this conclusion, my first thought was to squash it. “No,” I thought. “I’m unhappy because of my job and my relationships and my circumstances” and and and blah blah blah. So for a while I continued to be unhappy. And then one day, I simply decided to try and be happy. Sure, I wasn’t totally thrilled with my life, but I was going to make the most of it, for one week, and see if I felt any change.
That week changed everything.
That week I decided to “come from a place of yes” (via here) with everything that was thrown at me. My work requires me to do something I don’t enjoy? Yes, I’ll do it, and I’ll do it with flair. My kids want to do something that I don’t have time to do? Yes, I’ll try and look at it as a positive thing that they want me to do it with them. My husband is having a bad week at work and can’t be home to help out? Yes, I’ll take that challenge and instead of moping about it I will try to find ways to ease his burden.
Now, mind you, this is against my very nature. I have always been sarcastic and somewhat rude (even if I don’t project that to the outside world, save my best friends and family) and a unfortunately negative person when it comes to myself. I love to help others, but when it comes to my own life/problems, I’ve always seen the glass as half empty. I could never figure out why people had to make things so hard for me. Didn’t they see how overwhelmed I was? Couldn’t they understand?
But that day I decided, “No, they don’t understand. Because I don’t tell them.” So I did. When things were too much, I said so, instead of stewing in my anger and resentment, and making passive aggressive jabs. And guess what? People got it. They understood if I was overwhelmed or needed help, and did their best to assist me. I said yes to them, and they said yes right back. HIGH FIVING A MILLION ANGLES! (See here if you have no idea what that means.)
I know this doesn’t solve everything in my life. Happiness is not an end game, it’s a journey, and being happy is something I will have to continually work on for the rest of my life. But knowing that I am in control of my happiness, regardless of what life throws my way, is so empowering for me. It has made me happier in my marriage, my role as a mother, my job, and with my friends and family. This revelation does not mean I will say yes to everything that comes my way. When I come upon situations that I know will be unhappiness triggers for me, I try and come from a place of yes first. But if there are things in my life that are non-essential that are causing stress and unhappiness, I cut them out. I have spent too many years being unhappy to let someone or something bring me down. I choose to be happy, even if that means choosing to leave someone or something behind.
Here’s the thing: My new found happiness is making it easier to keep people in my life. The only ones who are no longer part of this crazy train are those who insist on drama and negativity, and force that upon other people. I am still sarcastic. I still have friends and family members who make me roll my eyes. I still curse more than I should. But I’m lighter now. That’s a direct quote from my husband…”You just seem, lighter.” That is a perfect description of how I feel. Lighter.
I know things will not always be perfect. There are still days when I fall into a funk and can’t seem to get out of it. There are days when I’m not sure how I will do it all. There are days when I fight with my husband and yell mean things that make no sense. Days where I’m impatient with my children and rude to my friends. But those days are fewer and further between. I have tools to help myself, instead of wanting everyone else to shut up and fix everything for me. I am saying yes to my own happiness.
I am planning on doing a full post at some point on what I’ve been reading/studying during this journey, but for now, here are a few sources of inspiration that led me to write this post: