Dear Dahlings Last week Thursday I published Part 2 of #Thehappinesschallenge and I planned on publishing the final part on Tuesday but life happens however here I am today with Pt. 3. I honestly hope that by sharing this private part of my experience will somehow benefit someone else.
Journal notes just after the #Thehappinesschallenge
Taking care of my dad and being there for my mom and worrying about my sister and brother. While building a relationship with my daughter and being a wife. Add to that, running a business and our household. Being a decent friend and all the other things I do, where did I fit in? I wondered who was there worrying about me. Who was being there for me? All of this sparked some thinking.
I don’t remember anyone ever getting me a birthday cake in my adult life. I’ve had birthday celebrations that I had planned. Damn, I just realized I even planned my own Bridal Shower (how sad). Am I not worthy of all of the things I give to others? Was I not Special or worthy enough to deserve friends and/or family truly wanting to do something special for me? These are the things that I never thought bothered me yet here I am thinking about them. I realize that I had somehow blurred the lines between self Love & self-care. Being busy being everything to everyone resulted in me being nothing to myself. I simply forgot about me.
The “Be Happy’ goal that had permanently taken home on my goals list year after year for as long as I could remember is total BS. Happiness is not a goal. It is simply a byproduct of the things we choose to do and let into our everyday lives. And to me, happiness meant a life of meaning, true contentment and satisfaction and I was falling short. I still am in many ways.
Advocating Self Love was always my thing. I would Preach to my friends and family about how important loving themselves were. Yet here I was sitting on my bed in the middle of the day on a Wednesday in tears. It was difficult to realize I didn’t love myself enough all this time. At some point in my life I know I did for sure. The Spas, the dinners, the flowers, etc were self-care tactics I did to mask the way I felt but that was not true self-love. Was I too lazy to acknowledge me or did I not know how to anymore.
I’m not living my life on my terms in any way. My goal has always been Freedom. I started my own business because I wanted the freedom to do, be and have. Instead of creating my business or life on my terms, I have created a life where I am imprisoned. I am running a company where I am bombarded daily with over-demanding clients (where’s freedom in that), I have relationships where there are no boundaries, sometimes I don’t say the things I really want to say and so many other things.
Full disclosure as I write this I’m very sad and disappointed. I am hurt. Yes, I did this challenge in August and it was the beginning of me feeling so much better. But as I type this I feel every bit of the emotions now as I did then. At first, I thought I was angry. But as I sift through all of the emotional baggage it was disappointment that I feel the most. The moment we have to put ourselves first and focus on us we realize so much about where we are in the life we’re living and who we really are.
I knew I felt crappy but I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Being forced to see me and put me first created awareness. An awareness that will ultimately change my life. I’m no professional and shit I still feel crappy in many ways. And I’m sure I will feel that ways in weeks and months to come. But I must say that I realized I have to take a step back and figure me out. What do I really want at this stage in my life? Who do I want to be? What are the things and experiences that will result in happiness? And what do I really love? What sets my soul on fire (cliche but true)?
Figuring these things out will not be an easy task. I know that figuring out the little I have so far is grueling and tearful. I may need help, I may need to speak with someone I am not sure. The only thing I am sure of is that I want to figure me out. To know this woman and what she truly wants, is a priority. I am not the same person I was last year or the year before or the year before that.
I know this may not seem like much, I know it seems simplistic. But I challenge each of you to take this seven-day challenge. IF you do it with awareness, honesty, and patience. And Really focus on you I guarantee you will realize some things about yourself. Choose to do something each day that will result in you feeling happiness or truly feeling good.
I’d love to hear about your experience and if I can be there for you as a cheerleader the way my cousin was for me I am willing. You deserve to be happy in every way and you deserve to feel good every day. And you deserve love but most importantly you deserve to love yourself.
I believe if we only truly love ourselves first, then life would flow wonderfully. We will be able to love and accept others. Because we have first accepted ourselves, I mean truly accept who we are. The good, the bad and the indifferent. Realize that life can be challenging. And if it’s challenging for us imagine how it must be for the next person.
Note from the challenge
After my experience with #thehappinesschallenge, I decided to make it a part of my monthly routine. While I have committed to one week each month to do the challenge. My friend is committed to making it a part of her everyday life and she said she feels great. She believes taking this challenge has changed my life and has caused her to look for things every day in her life to inspire, brighten and make her life fun. I hope to continue to see and experience positive changes for the rest of my life.
Below are some lessons that I have learned because of this challenge and I want them to share them with you. Choose what you think will help and discard what doesn’t.
I still have days even during the challenge where I feel crappy. Or things go where I don’t want them to go or I feel sad but that is all part of the process. It’s part of my journey and I know it will never be perfect but I will always make me a priority.
- Be grateful daily, hourly or whatever works for you. A simple “thank you” makes me feel warm inside.
Part of my daily ritual is to write my prayers in my prayer journal. After I am done I write one thing I am grateful for. If on any given day I don’t feel grateful I blink my eyes, stand if I am sitting and take a deep breath. I smile to myself, take another deep breath and say “thank you for life.”
I make an effort to find ways to be grateful. Even when I am sure there’s nothing, I find something small. Being grateful changes my perspective at any given moment.
- Be kind to yourself
I realized I am kinder and more giving to everyone except myself. We are so hard on ourselves. If I want to be honest I am downright mean to myself I make an effort now to be kinder even if it means saying nothing (that maybe the kindness thing to do that moment). All of this has allowed me to take a step back and choose my words carefully when I am being harsh with myself or others.
- Get up especially when it feels like the most difficult thing to do
When we’re down or we feel stressed or depressed, the easiest thing to do is to fall down and stay down. I know I have sometimes felt it was so much easier to stay down. Stay in bed and isolate my family and those closest to me. But I have since come to appreciate getting up when I feel terrible because I will make it through. I will overcome whatever I am dealing with now and whatever comes my way in the future.
- Remember you’re not alone
I am not an except to the rule. There are so many people in my community and in the world that are dealing with so much more. I know that understanding that other people are dealing with stuff as well will not take away the hurt or crappy feeling. But it has helped me to put things in perspective and keeps me from going off the deep end. I started feeling better by knowing and understanding that am not alone. So I urge you not to feel alone in whatever you’re dealing with. There is someone else going through what you’re going through right now. And the fact is we will all get through it
- Keep the promises you make to yourself
We will break a promise to ourselves without giving it a second thought. But we will keep the promises we make to others. Promises are not to be taken lightly but its the ones we make to ourselves that we should be the most careful with. You are the most important person to yourself so don’t feel guilty for putting yourself first. The self-deprecating cycle that is a result of breaking promises to ourselves is a vicious one. When I keep promises to myself I feel more confident, I feel great and I am compelled to move forward through fear or whatever else come up. It feels like I am worth the effort and work it took to keep that promise to myself. It has even made me set healthier boundaries with others.
- The first boundary we set is with ourselves
Making a commitment to prioritize the fullness of who I am (good, bad or indifferent). Who I will be as I continue to grow. And what I want has removed something from my life. The insecurities of others and society. I come first in this life. knowing that embracing that without thinking about what others will say about me or what others expect of me has been liberating.
- We deserve the love we keep trying to give to everyone else
We will quickly tell that lover, partner or friend; husband, wives, and children how much we love them. And we will do everything in our power to show them that love we want them to feel it. But we are less likely to do the same for ourselves. It is a conscious thing and it will take effort but I want you to remember you deserve all that love. When you’ve accepted and understood the true power of loving yourself. You will finally be able to honestly love others. Because without truly loving ourselves how can we love another.