STEP #1 TO REGAINING MY HAPPINESS
The very first step towards re-discovering my happiness was to start liking myself for who I actually was - not the person I was trying to portray myself as to the world. I needed to get a grip on finding my self-esteem and self-worth and lose the need to be "all things to all people" - it was no small feat!
I AM MORE THAN THE SUM OF MY PARTS
I hadn't realized how much of who I was had centred around being part of a couple. My social life, my family life, celebrations, leisure pursuits, and everything in between all hinged on the two of us as a unit. So when my husband told me he didn't want to be married any more, the foundation I had built the last 30 years of my life on crumbled to pieces and left me foundering.
It took a while to regain some equilibrium and to put on my big girl panties and start dealing with how I'd manage a life on my own. The funny thing was that the more I thought about it, the more I came to terms with the fact that I could manage, and the independent, feisty "me" started to re-emerge. It helped to have friends stand by me and it helped to know that I had a job (even one I hated) so I could support myself financially if I had to start again.
HAVING AN EPIPHANY
As the dust settled and things sorted themselves out in my marriage, the starting again on my own didn't end up happening. What did happen though was an epiphany of some sort as far as my relationship with myself went. I stopped seeing myself as middle aged, and settled and stuck, treading water in the same place, and started seeing a whole new person - someone who could stand alone if need be, someone who had a lot to offer, someone who had a brain and a heart, who had good friends and a great family network, who was a person in her own right......and I liked that person a lot.
THE RESULT OF LIKING MYSELF
When I started liking myself and accepting myself, happiness seeped back in. I couldn't force happiness into my life, it came as a byproduct of discovering my own worth and finding contentment in myself. Happiness didn't burst back into my life with this discovery, it gradually crept in over time and one day I found myself feeling "happy" again. It was nice to feel that way on my own rather than it being dependent on someone else.
There is a saying "Don't put the key to your happiness in another person's pocket" and another that says "Don't let your happiness depend on something you may lose". I was doing both of these things and watching my marriage almost implode was the turning point for taking responsibility for my own happiness. You can't expect others to make you happy - it's not fair on them and it's not fair on yourself.
I AM ENOUGH
I wrote a post a while ago based on the Brene Brown clip entitled "Damn You Steve" - it spoke to me on many levels but it also woke me up to the fact that I blamed my unhappiness on my husband or on life's whims - and that is NOT the way to go. Stepping up and taking responsibility for my own self-worth meant I could free up the people around me - I wasn't dependent on whether they liked me or not for me to feel happy. I could just like myself and that was enough. I was enough - what a revelation!