Thursday, October 29, 2015

My Happiness Doesn't Look Like Yours

"Don't underestimate the force." 

Darth Vader's voice jolted me out of the mind-numbing work commute letting me know I received a text. (Yes, my ringtones are all Star Wars soundbites. Don't judge.) My longtime friend sent a text letting me know she's been thinking of me. A volley of text messages ensued between us, but one of hers made me pause. 

"I've been praying for you. Hoping that you find a little bit of happiness with your demanding life." 

Had she been sitting in front of me I would have probably flailed my arms and crossed them to a T. 

Pause! Time out! 

I had to let her know---I am happy

I sat in my cubicle texting my friend with solid certainty. I mean, yes, I'm miserable in my day job but that's MY problem. Yes, I'm super busy despite retiring from shooting weddings and events. Yes, my aging and sick parents are a constant source of worry and anxiety. Yes, I don't have enough funds to book my New York trip at the moment. Yes, my aunt and uncle just passed away realizing too late I should have spent more time with family. 

Despite all of that there is always an underlying happiness, a constant source of joy, that keeps me grounded with gratitude in the present moment. My friend's text helped me realize that I could be as irritated as heck coming home from a long day at work but still be happy.  


It happened some time this year when I dropped all expectations of my tribe. In doing so, I freed myself from the frustration I felt toward others. Ray's job isn't to make ME happy. My kids' existence won't make ME happy. Rylee's presence doesn't make ME happy. My friends can't make ME happy. None of them complete me and they shouldn't. 

You see, I make ME happy through self-love and self-care and self-respect. My source of pure joy is generated through silence, meditation, prayer, and being in the present moment. Sounds hokey doesn't it? But it's true. 

My response to her text was: Haha thanks girl. I am happy. Very much so. But that goes with loving God first & foremost. Everything else just comes 2nd.

I finally learned to be happy despite my circumstances and the human beings around me. I love how it took a friend's text to help me see that.  I'm also aware that my version of happiness is difficult to comprehend for some people looking into my life. And that's okay.

Coincidentally, the quote below was waiting in my inbox that morning and I shared it with my friend because it encapsulated precisely what I was trying to convey in my text.  

This is also one of my favorite quotes from Wayne Dyer. I didn't truly get it until this year and wish more people learned to like who they are. 

My happiness may not look like yours but don't ever underestimate the force of self-love. Most of all, never underestimate the loving force of the One who's greater than all of us.