Happiness. A Long Story with a Happy Ending.
I have always been incredibly hard on myself. In fact, I hold myself to standards that I never hold others to. I believe in offering grace to most everyone, yet for most of my life, I have withheld that gift from myself. As a result, it took me decades to allow myself the freedom of happiness.
Why Did I Punish Myself?
Well, this is a complicated question and requires the writing of a novel. Of course, I know exactly why I hated myself, but the reason for my self-hatred is unimportant. For the purpose of this blog, I need you to know that I did hate myself and I was incredibly unfair to myself. I need you, if you hate yourself, to relate only to me and to the idea that I believed happiness was available to everyone in the world – except me.
I’m a Good Person. Yet, I Believed I Was Bad.
Most people who know me will tell you that I don’t have a mean bone in my body. I have flaws and I get indignant and angry when disrespected. I am impatient and curse other drivers out on the road. Those are my greatest sins. I don’t believe in stepping on the toes of others. I believe all creatures big and small deserve love.
Many years ago, I had one situation that I couldn’t work out in my brain. My inability to solve the problem (and I cannot tell you how badly I tried), caused pain to someone that I loved. It did not matter to me how it happened, whether I had the power to stop it, why the person I asked to help me didn’t. All that mattered – for decades -was that I could not work the problem out and that it hurt someone I loved very, very badly.
I allowed that one deed to define me. I was and often still am a black and white thinker. One is either a good person or a bad person. Something is either right or it is wrong. So I became bad and no other good deed done afterward could undo my badness.
How Does a Bad Person Find Happiness?
THIS was the never-ending question of my life. I have always believed in personal redemption (I am not referring to religious redemption). I believe that the worst of things can be undone or fixed. I believe the worst among us can become worthwhile.
And, that corner of hope, drove me to do many, many things to seek redemption. I created a long list of things I needed to do and as years went by, I checked them off – one by one. Every good deed that I believed was done in the name of redemption, fueled me onward.
It was a long list. At 52 years old, I have been ticking off checkmarks for decades. Every time, I checked something off, I added another. Until one day, I realized that the relationship that I felt I had broken was healed.
It had been slowly healing for years and I experienced moments of happiness over those years. But one day, the dam broke open and I realized, there was literally nothing left for me to do. In fact, there was only one thing left to do and in that instant, I FORGAVE MYSELF.
I Wasted Time. Find Your Happiness Now!
I tell you this story because I am a grown woman that has learned over many decades that happiness can be a choice. I am a breast cancer survivor and understand that every second of life is meant to be experienced. And because I believe personal redemption in any form, is worth fighting for, attainable and your birthright.
If You Hate Yourself
If you hate yourself, work on finding ways to love yourself. Take it from me, every small act of kindness will undo your ability to loathe yourself. When you are tired, when you feel broken inside, when you don’t believe you deserve to breathe, DO SOMETHING KIND for someone else.
Don’t create a checklist of what you must do to earn happiness like I did. Create a checklist of things that make you happy and start checking them off now. Life is short. You are more marvelous than you know.
Do not be the only thing that stands between you and joy.
Treat yourself with the love you deserve. Listen to my words of wisdom. They are the words of my father. You have a greatness within you that you owe it to the world to share.
Let love guide you. Give that love to yourself. And start doing things that will make you, your family, your spouse, your children, your God laugh, and smile.
Welcome In Happiness
It may have taken me a long time to do, but I’ve done it. Today, I find joy in every possible thing I can. I love the people in my life with an unbridled passion. I love writing, so I write. I love my cat and I play with her. I feel well and I’m ecstatic. Everything that stands between me and my newfound happiness takes a huge backseat to the joy I now feel.
And, you know what? The recipe works. It sounds so simple to forgive yourself. But I have done so and am now a sparkly, happy, fifty-something, cancer-surviving, blogging ball of happiness. All I want in this world is for you to hold my hand, let go of any self-hatred you may feel, and WELCOME IN HAPPINESS!