Day 59: A Prelude to Happiness

I think there is something that happens when you grow up in an environment where you are not loved in a way that you need to be loved. I think you don’t learn what love is supposed to be and when the only thing you know is fear and insecurity you adapt and figure out how to live there quite successfully. When you have adapted to any situation it starts to feel normal. Then, at some point in your 30s you realize you want to know what happiness feels like.

It seems like it should be an easy thing to do, find things that make you happy and then embrace it.

For me, that is not my experience. I could find things that made me happy for a split second, but it was as if there was something preventing that feeling from traveling to my heart. I knew I was happy in those moments but I didn’t FEEL happy.

Then I learned about love. I learned that love can be the most overwhelmingly beautiful experience and also one of the darkest parts of living. Love can heal and destroy. I thought true love would be this nirvana, and I still think it can be, but I think that real love comes in layers. Once there are enough layers of experience and disagreements and sticking around love settles in for the long haul. This to me is true love. Love that stays.

My love experience has been a rocky one the last few months. I have no clue where my future will end up, what man I will end up with, if I will even find a partner. But I do know that I am loved, very very deeply. When that love isn’t around I feel really sad.

I used to think that the depth of anguish I felt was in direct proportion to how much I loved someone. It turns out that depth of pain is really a reflection of how strong I am and how much I can handle. In an effort to feel something, sometimes I will amplify that pain to the point of near breaking. It expands that boundary of what I am capable of feeling. I am really well versed in expanding the pain and it is and has been, where I have lived for many many years.

This morning for a second I felt a glimmer of happiness in my heart and I immediately squashed it. Didn’t I remember I was supposed to be mourning the loss of Mr. X in my life (in the capacity I wanted him anyways)? The feeling came again for a second and again I thought, aren’t I supposed to be sad?

What is the prelude to happiness? For me, it was giving myself permission to feel happy.

I was driving down the road repeating to myself, “It’s okay to be happy. ” It is okay to be happy in the middle of sadness. That pain isn’t gone, it just released and moved around a little. It is okay to experience happiness even though your heart is breaking. It is okay to feel happiness during mourning.

After repeating these things a few times, the guilt started to dissipate. I remembered that another thing love is to me is wanting the person you love to be happy, whatever that looks like. In that moment I knew that Mr. X would be happy that I was happy. Happy that I was smiling in spite of the pain, happy that I was moving forward without him.

So I chose to smile, to sing a little in my car, to embrace the feeling and let it plant a seed in my heart. The next time it comes to bloom I will welcome it with arms open a little wider. ❤ ❤

Day 23: Embracing The Negatives

I know what you’re thinking… “girl, that’s supposed to say positives right?”

Nope. I got it right. Embracing the negatives. Sometimes there is a place for that, when the “negatives” can be used strategically to push forward. And right now, for me, that place is heart ache. ** Maybe I should change my language here. Negative has this connotation of being “bad” but for purposes of this article, a negative is just something that isn’t aligning with my desired outcome.**

We are taught that the only way to be happy is to focus on the positives! Let love in! Shun the bad! Nope…. nope, nope. Not for me. There is a reason the “negatives” exist. They provide contrast and are tools in themselves. They are powerful guides and shouldn’t be ignored. It is all a matter of how those tools are used as to whether they can be constructive or destructive.

The sticky thing about grief is that it comes in waves. One day I can be rocking, creating my own sunshine, the next I can be sobbing on the floor. This is when you can embrace the negatives and use them to slingshot you forward.

Getting over the life you saw yourself having with someone is hard. Sometimes you do have to embrace the negatives, put the positives in a box, and even though it’s a much bigger box than the negatives, you have to shove it aside for a moment.

Sometimes all I can do to keep moving is replay all of the things that were said that are the evidence for why we won’t be together. “Maybe we aren’t good for each other.” “Our season is over.” “We do better at a distance.” All of those little knife wounds are actually my friend. My way to move on from the one person who has asked me to do so, who has needed space every time we see each other. The one person that feels like home. The one person my heart practically bleeds for. The way to successfully do this is to not make it personal, because it isn’t. All of those things are a reflection of situational issues, not a reflection of me as a person. And they are all in fact, correct and honest and vulnerable. And even in that I find more love for the keeper of those words. See… herein lies the problem. I understand so completely where this man is coming from and I love him so much that I find appreciation for the things he says… even when it cuts me to the core.

The “negatives” are an exceedingly skewed perspective of a really beautiful relationship (and they aren’t negative or bad, they are just honest and authentic – it is my perception of them that labels them as negative). It is a perspective that I know will cause its own hurt as these words are devoured by the other player. But the negatives function as evidence. It’s building a case. It’s ushering my heart to a place where it can open the door for something else. Because if I focus on the positives, the “you’re beautifuls” and the “I love you’s” right now, it lets my heart take the wheel. It’s lets in hope. It lets in a love that cannot be tamed. It lets my imagination run wild. For each brick of a boundary laid I am there on the other side pulling it back down. I am there telling myself we just need more time, he needs more time. I require a massive amount of energy to move, to shift… my heart has a huge capacity and can handle a ton of shit. Filling it with these things pushes out some of the romantic tendencies and allows room for the new landscape. Friendship. In displacing the romantic and allowing friendship to enter instead, that positives box can be cracked once again and those beautiful words can be taken back into the heart under a different lens. I am loved, I am beautiful, I am capable, I am cared for, I am safe. In any relationship it’s all a matter of adjusting expectations and wants and aligning goals.

This can be done gently and lovingly and in honor of both parties and that is what I am choosing today. I have no anger or resentment towards Mr. X and maybe I am right, we do need more time. In this moment though, we aren’t meant to be and I have to focus on that right now so that I can stop the loop of what ifs that I am trying to use to define our future. Stopping this cycles allows me to appreciate the present moment and the relationship that we do have.

So yes. Sometimes focusing on the negatives is all the self care I can muster for one day. Because all I really need to do is keeping taking one step at a time. ❤ ❤

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay