The Value of Being Happy

Friday, August 19, 2016

Branching off of my "who are you" post last week, I've been thinking a lot about my life and what the heck I'm doing with it. For so long I was anchored to another person. The life I built, the connections I made, the family I had were all connected to her. Looking back, I know that I lost a piece of myself in that relationship. And I don't blame my ex or anything - it just happened and I allowed it to happen. So much of myself was placed in the hands of someone else for so long - I determined my own worth by if my ex wanted me. I determined how funny I was if she laughed at a joke. I determined how worthy and desired I was by her actions. I gave away my power to someone else. And she, just being herself, unknowingly knocked me down time after time until I was a shell of who I used to be. All because I worried so much about what I perceived was occurring around me.

Now, approaching a year since I moved out, I'm starting to look back over this past year. I have an 18 month planner that I've been using and the planner arrived last July (when everything fell apart). Starting in August 2015, I can flip through and literally see how the past year of my life has happened. The activities I did to just hide from the fall out of my marriage, the friendships and events that I desperately tried to reconcile knowing I was now going to be alone, the first holidays spent single in God knows how many years, the activities I've arranged solo with me and the girls, the new people in and out of my life and the things we experienced together - all neatly in 1 little book. ALOT of life has been lived in the past year. I've made it to the side of divorce that I couldn't even imagine this time last year, when I sat for hours upon hours in a scalding hot shower trying to wash away my reality, to calm my anxiety. I couldn't imagine a smile lighting up my face again, I couldn't imagine making it through holidays and birthdays without my little family intact, I couldn't imagine sleeping at night without my children under the same roof and I couldn't imagine loving again - opening my heart back up to someone that wasn't my ex. But it all happened.

But now? I'm past my divorce and consider myself over my ex. I'm no longer worried about how she's living her life or spending her time, nor do I place my value solely as a reflection of her opinion of me. I'm able to do many many things solo with just the girls in tow and I enjoy my kid-free nights as a well-deserved break or "me time." But am I happy? Have I still been placing my worthiness and value into the hands of someone else? Someone who has her own demons to fight, and can't carry the weight of my worth? I think so. I think I put that burden back on someone else, instead of truly owning it. And so now when I'm sad or I struggle, I find myself blaming another person or a situation for causing me that grief. And yes - that's all painful but I'm not the one in charge of what fuels my happiness.  I'm not aligning myself with things that bring joy to my soul and leave me feeling fulfilled.

What that brings me to is - at times, I feel like this past year has been working on moving through the pain of my divorce and learning to navigate life single. It's been learning to be a mom to two growing girls. It's been learning to set goals for myself - and just myself and my children - for my future. It's been shedding my married identity and returning to my maiden name (a move that felt strangely odd). But it's also been about the motions. About survival.

Am I doing things that truly leave me fulfilled? Am I experiencing things that add strong value to my life? Am I working on things about myself (mentally, emotionally, physically) that will make me happier with where I'm at in my journey? I think the answer is "no." I haven't been doing those things. Now, don't get me wrong - there has been a lot of happiness in my life over the past year. There have been a lot of moments that have brought me joy and have really made my heart soar. There have been hard laughs, adorable moments, even passionate kisses. There has been good stuff! But as I reflect on the overall picture of what my life currently is - I'm not exactly sure I'm clear on if I'm truly happy.

I'm going to challenge myself to start to discover what that looks like for me, and really try to focus on things that truly make me happy. If something does not bring me happines - I need to learn to let go and realize that life is full of ups and downs.

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