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Happiness is and has always been an inside job. Which means, it has to come from within you and it is something you have to work at. It doesn’t just happen.
Why, then, is it so damn hard to obtain? Why do we often leave our happiness in the hands of someone else? Well, because leaving it to someone else is easier than putting in the hard work to find it. Leaving your happiness to someone else takes the responsibility off of you and places it on them. The problem with this, though, is what happens when that person leaves and takes your happiness with them? You’re right back to where you started from.
Instead, we need to put in the work. It will take being brutally honest with yourself about who you are and what you want. It will require that you identify your weaknesses and learn to accept them. You will need to figure out what you are willing—or not willing—to overlook in any type of relationship. You will have to continually put in the work to be your best self.
It took me until my 40s to really discover who I was—as a mother, as a friend, as a person. Better late than never, eh? But, seriously, with age comes wisdom. At 40, I knew way more things than I did when I was 20. So, it makes sense that I now finally have some of it figured out. All of the experiences I’ve had up until now have molded the person I have become.
Earning all of these years of “wisdom” wasn’t easy. I had to dig in deep, really get to know myself. I had to figure out what I was good at and how I could fit those things into my life. Likewise, I had to recognize the things I wasn’t good at, come to terms with those, and work on improving them. For example, I used to avoid conflict to keep the peace. When I realized this wasn’t healthy, I worked to change it. I learned how to speak up and communicate my feelings. I learned that sacrificing my peace of mind wasn’t serving me, or anybody else, and I had to find my voice.
A failed marriage taught me the red flags I would never ignore again. It taught me how to listen to understand, not to reply. It taught me to never settle because I am way stronger than I ever knew. It taught me how love should really feel. I also learned that different people have different ways of showing and accepting love. That the way I know how to love might not be the same for the next guy.
As much as I wish that happiness was easier to find, I know that only I can make me happy. After many broken hearts and important lessons, I am finally in a place where I really love myself. I love my life and the people in it. I know who I am and who I am not. I accept myself fully, flaws and transgressions included. I am committed to becoming the very best version of myself.
I encourage you to take a look inside and ask yourself, “Am I happy?” If the answer is “no,” I hope you take some time to examine the reasons why and work on those.
If 43 years has taught me anything, it has taught me that we need to be happy right now, today. That our happiness waits for no one.