Can You Really Choose Happiness?
When I was fresh into my separation, the weight of the world was on my shoulders. It was a separation that I did not want. I loved my mate and would have done anything to make this work but the die had been cast. And the reality was I had to move on for my safety and the well being of my children. This move shook me to my core. I would sit up many nights and question my worth as a mother, as a wife and as a woman.
I took up this campaign of Choosing Happiness. It was my code word for swallowing pain.
How are you? Choosing Happiness.
Felt suicidal? I am Choosing Happiness
Felt worthless? I am choosing Happiness
Depressed? I am choosing Happiness
It was a coping mechanism but it is a very bad one. It was temporary and sometimes made me feel worse. I was trying to pull myself up by my boot straps and move forward as if nothing had happened. Covering a wound and forgetting about it only allows poisons to fester and infect other parts of your life.
So what happens when you shake a coke bottle? I erupted. This facade I was trying to hold together was spilling over and damaging other areas of my life. I wasn't able to shake the overwhelming dread I felt due to the harsh reality of my situation. I was homeless with three children. We were couch surfing and living off of the kindness of others. My oldest child was severely acting out in school. I knew that they were hurting but I was unsure of what to do. My other two had anxiety that was out of this world and I didn't know what to do for them either. I did not have a job that could support us so I was working multiple jobs and long hours. And on top of all of that, there was the occasional taunt from my ex.
I was nothing.
just a piece of pussy
you are a burden
you can't do shit right
no one is ever going to want you
I posted on social media "Choosing Happiness" - nothing
I spoke it out-loud to my kiddos "Choosing Happiness" - nothing
I raised a toast to myself for surviving "Choosing Happiness" - nothing
There was not enough tequila to cover my pain.
Then I realized that the damage done to me was not something that a single affirmation could ever cover. I was trying to take on the world by myself and I was not being very kind to me.
I got into the mirror and told myself -
We are going to be okay
You are enough
You and the babies are worthy of real love
Let's just survive the moments.
And I cried because obviously that is what I needed to do and then I was better...
And it was in that grace that I got through.
When a wound is fresh the skin around it is tender, especially those wounds that are huge and gaping. It will hurt like hell but there are things that you must do to let it heal. You must change the bandages, clean and then medicate the wound often. In these moments the pain will be intense but unfortunately this is part of the healing process. If you cover a wound and forget about it - it will get infected.
So a devastation in your life, a trauma, a break up, a divorce, being fired, the death of a loved one - these are your wounds.
We must acknowledge our feelings about what has happened. Playing like you are not hurt, and like everything is okay will backfire. You are just covering up the wound and risking infection. So what does acknowledging your feelings look like? Well depending on what what going on. It could be ....
Admitting that you miss that person (or sadly the idea of that person)
Be sad/mad/hurt that the relationship is over (we invest a lot in the people we love)
and admitting why the relationship is over be it your fault or theirs
being scared of what may lie ahead (because it is hard to know what to do next)
These feelings can feel like you are going backwards - it isn't. You don't STAY there in that emotion.
We must clean these wounds. We must then tell ourselves a new truth - meaning we must add medicine to our wounds. The medicine are those truths that we need to understand and apply. These might feel like it is not working and hurt as much as the original cut but it is necessary to heal.
Find your lesson in the relationship (even if we are the survivor of other's misconduct you MUST find the lesson or you will repeat it again in another relationship with a different face).
Acknowledge why it is important that you leave (You are important - how you feel is important - their ideas about you are not)
Tell yourself that YOU ARE ENOUGH
Tell yourself that YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE
All of these steps are important but the last two are the most important. The reason being that many of us don't feel that way especially in the middle of a particularly bad break up. These words will feel initially meaningless and many will want to skip that part. I URGE you to say these words to yourself and to do it daily. My suggestion is first thing in the morning so you that they are the first words you hear... Grace and Kindness...
By giving myself grace and reminding myself that what was taken from me was huge. I SHOULD be hurting - it is okay. It was from this I was able to maneuver through the fleeing, separation and finally divorce.
The truth is sometimes, all we can master is shifting our thoughts in the moment. Sometimes that is all we can do. So do that. It does get easier. Here is how it worked for me - I survived the moments. I got through the minutes. I made it through the hours. I was conquering the days.
I wish you peace on your journey.
Need to talk? Let's get clear!