Monday, 4 July 2016

STEP #1 ON THE JOURNEY TO HAPPINESS ~ START LIKING YOURSELF

Step #1 on the Journey to Happiness - Liking Myself

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.


"Happiness is not a checklist. A dream job, a fast car, a good home, even love, mean nothing at all if you have not yet found a way to feel full and content in your own mind and heart." Beau Taplin

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!


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Step #1 on the Journey to Happiness - Liking Myself


31 comments:

  1. This is so, so true. When I started realizing (and really feeling) like I was 'enough', and then starting to like myself more, everything started to change. I'm much stronger than I've ever been, and despite going through some very hard times, I'm happier too! I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't gone through all of that. Whether we live alone, or with a partner, it's our relationship with ourselves that needs to be nurtured along with all our other relationships. Great post!

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    1. Hi Linda - I'm so glad you stopped to comment and to share a similar experience - life is definitely what you make it isn't it? It took me a long time to realize that we need to take responsibility for nurturing ourselves and not sit around waiting for others to do it for us! x

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  2. Starting over can be hard, but not impossible and good for you that you realized you were burdening someone else with your own happiness. When we're clear about who we are and what makes us whole and happy then we can be better in all of our relationships.

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    1. It's a little bit humbling to realize I'd been doing it wrong all those years Jennifer (and very easy to fall back into) but you've got to start somewhere and better late than never :)

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  3. I'm so glad you discovered this magical key ingredient to finding your own happiness. My forever husband and I made an agreement when we got married - He is not responsible for my happiness and I am not responsible for his. When we expect others to fill our holes, we set ourselves up for disappointment and resentment.

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    1. You and you husband are much smarter than me! It took a LONG time for me to work this out - and you're right about it setting you up for disappointment and resentment if you don't have a good sense of self!

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  4. I've often heard it said that Happiness is the by-product of the well-lived life. Not the goal! Loved this, Leanne!

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    1. thanks Di - I'm finding it is definitely a side benefit of treating yourself well x

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  5. Oh how I love this so so very much. I have clod and scraped my way to happiness and self-love at 46 and 11 months ��

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    1. You got there about five years before me Carla - so pat yourself on the back :)

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  6. All truths that we all need to come to grips with. We are in charge of our own happiness and need to be dependent on ourselves to get that started. So glad you did that, Leanne, and glad you got to a happier place.

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    1. Thanks Cathy - it's funny how it's something I never learned until so late in life - makes me wonder where the healthy self image teaching went for a lot of us in this generation?

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  7. I guy I was dating many many years ago once told me, "I can't be your everything." It really woke me up and made me realize I was responsible for my own happiness and I have been ever since...

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    1. Maybe I should have dated him too Renee - it would have saved me a lot of soul searching :)

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  8. It's inspirational how you found yourself after such a traumatic marital split-- we really are resilient, we women. If we want to be. Good for you!
    Carol
    http://carolcassara.com/atlantic-fog/

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    1. thanks Carol! I think you either lie down and die or you brush yourself off and look for the person you used to be - I liked the latter option better!

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  9. 'You are my everything' is just a romantic song lyric. Glad you are making your true song.

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    1. It's what we somehow come to believe Haralee but it's wrong on soooo many levels!

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  10. Love the two quotes you mentioned - 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". So true. Glad you have found a way to deal with it and work toward your own happiness. So important in life.

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    1. They are both quotes that I thought were impossible to fulfill Rebecca but ultimately there is a lot of truth in them isn't there?

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  11. I stumbled upon the "I am Enough" quote several months ago and it really resonated with me. Perhaps it takes the wisdom of age to accept that, but it is definitely liberating when you do.

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    1. It's something I'm coming to terms with Helene - and it is very liberating indeed once you get your head around it - shame it took 50+ years to figure it out :)

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  12. I'm so happy for you and not surprised at all- you are feisty! I have a friend that just could never find this sweet spot. She's spent a lifetime being a victim. There's another identifier we have to let go of- the victim.

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    1. I hate the whole victim mentality - it just sucks the joy out of life and I'd much rather work on feisty instead - much better use of my time :)

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  13. I couldn't imagine calling it quits after 25 years, You are handling it with such grace though!

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    1. Me either Rena - that's why it was good to pull it together and rebuild - much healthier and the lessons learned have taken pressure off both of us I think.

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  14. This is so true. I have always tried to instill in my kids the fact that no one is responsible for their happiness other than them. That can be scary but is ultimately very liberating.

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    1. I wish my parents had done the same for me Lois - I think our kids have a much better grasp of self worth than our generation does - we're getting it though - so they'd better watch out :)

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  15. It's amazing how a crisis can facilitate change that we never knew was possible. What an incredible post! It's so scary taking step by step to the point of finding ourselves and letting go of blaming others. As painful as it can sometimes be, we need to do this journey on our own. :)
    https://meinthemiddlewrites.com/

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    1. It's something I wouldn't have even thought about five years ago Mary Lou - but life has a habit of grabbing you and giving you a good shake now and then - I guess this was my shaking!

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  16. Such good advice. I really struggle with liking myself rather than knocking myself for not being who I think I should be!

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