Today, I have nothing important to say…
…but I have a lot of nothing important to say. Lots of thoughts. Lots of reflection. Lots of changing parts. Lots of seeking who I want to be. Re-learning who I am.
There are a few things I know for certain. At the end of each day, I want to be proud of the person I have become. I want to be unabashedly proud of how hard and how much I loved, despite the potential hurt for giving my heart and love away so freely. I want to be proud of my life. I want to be proud of the effort I showed to those I love and care about, for them to know I truly care and intently listen to what they are or are not saying. I want to be able to look back at these hard moments and see growth, be proud of the woman I have become from the hard moments, and learn from them. I want to be proud of how authentic I am with myself and with others. I want to be proud of being strong, yet soft enough to be vulnerable with those who deserve my love and nurturing ways.
I am scared I will look back and not feel like I lived my life how I wanted too, that I gave all that I could without hesitation. I want to look back and be proud of the legacy that I’ve left in my wake. I want to be proud of how I treated those in my life. If I wronged someone, that I apologized and made it better, even if they couldn’t be in my life any longer. And for those lucky ones who are, they feel fully and unconditionally loved by me, everything about them, their flaws and their good.
It’s a surreal feeling to be told to be selfish and focus on yourself when all you do is crave another person. You are told it is not selfish to focus on yourself. But it sure feels that way at times. And other moments, it feels freaking glorious to do what you want, when you want, without having to take someone else(s) into consideration. I completely understand why it is important to focus on myself and find my happiness again. I truly understand it. But, as with most things right now, my mind and my heart are not working cohesively to remind myself of the strength in being happy first. I cannot be happy with anyone unless I am happy with myself.
I was unhappy. It may not have seemed that way, but as I have had ample time to reflect, I see it. My skin and body felt it. I thought it was food allergies, but really, it was my body rejecting the quiet years of unhappiness building inside me, looking for an escape. I did, however, find out via bloodwork I have some new found (or new to me) allergies to certain foods. Adios shrimp and Nutella (hazelnuts really, but that’s all that matters). So, I took the easy route and blamed my body’s reaction to my unhappiness on food allergies. Not fully understanding or having enough self-awareness to understand that my body was trying to show me, to tell me how unhappy I was inside. Sometimes when the inside can’t tell us, it manifests on the outside. I just wasn’t ready to accept it, nor understand it.
I was choosing not to be happy every day. J had asked me to be happy, to choose happy, but I didn’t see it. It took him walking away for me to see it. That is what I needed. I’ll forever be grateful for him for being strong enough to walk away like he did. He did for his own reasons, many of which I can assume were his own unhappiness too. I literally tell myself each morning, after I wake up, rising from bed to brushing my teeth, to choose happy that day. I know every day will not be as happy as I want it and I will embrace the sadder days, but I will always choose the path of happiness. This path that was blocked. Blocked by a wall of resentment, hurt, and anger has now crumbled. I’m still making my way over the rubble of its ultimate crumble. When something crumbles it doesn’t disappear, rather it falls away, ugly, jagged, and rocky. But just enough to get through it all with scrapes, bumps, and bruises. I can see through the ugly wall of unhappiness and now I chose to step through the rubble each day toward the other side. Some days are really hard, some days I’m stuck on the old side of the wall, sad, resentful, and hurt. But that daily morning reminder to be happy reminds me to keep walking through it all. See and choose happy. It isn’t easy. I will not sugar coat it for you. It’s a choice I make. Sometimes I make it twenty times in one day, but some days all I need is the simple morning reminder.
Here are a few different things I’ve been doing lately, which have really helped me focus on being happy:
Stop apologizing for everything. – I say sorry for everything, even the smallest little things that don’t require a ‘sorry.’ Practicing to not be overly apologetic has led me to be very self-aware. Noticing how easily sorry’s come out for the most random things. If I accidentally drop a napkin while making my coffee at Sbux I usually, immediately say ‘sorry.’ But I realized dropping a napkin does not require a sorry to anyone. It was an accident and I corrected it by picking it up. No need to apologize for it. I adhere to the polite police probably more than I should, which was how I was raised. But there are specific times and places where apologies are necessary and there are times they are not. I am being very cognizant of when I am being overly apologetic and trying to see why I am this way.
Changing the way I think. – This has been happening for awhile, but its been ever so heightened lately. I’ve really focused on my negative thoughts and try to understand where my negativity is coming from. Thinking about why I am reacting to certain situations or conversations to evaluate how I perceive them. A good example was when I read an article on how to overcome the heartbreak dispair. I need to look at the relationship through a third person lens. Take me out of the narrative, literally stop saying ‘I’ and ‘me.’ Instead, replace ‘I’ and ‘me’ with ‘Stephanie’ and ‘him’ with ‘Juan.’ When I start to get sad and go down the thinking rabbit hole, I speak about our relationship as a story, to truly see it from an outside perspective. There is much less hurt there and I can truly see our relationship for what it was, rather than what my optimistic self saw it as. That is just one specific example, but I’ve applied this to any negative thoughts, especially when I’m being judgmental of someone else. Someone is always dealing with something, even if I don’t see it or know about it. Trying to be more empathetic has also been a tool I’ve tried to use lately too. Overall, this is an ongoing process and I don’t feel like I’ll ever master, but I see a shift in how I process a lot of things.
Be kind to me. – I am not weak for being sad over a relationship that did not work out. I have no reason to be hard on myself as I process all of the different emotions and feelings, but I do. I am hardest on myself and that is not fair. I need to remind myself that it is okay to be sad. It is okay to lean into any emotion I am feeling and fully process this. It is okay to be vulnerable with myself. I am not a weak woman for feeling these things. It won’t always feel like this, but while it does, the healthiest thing to do is work through each feeling and learn. Do what I need to do when it is necessary. Eat what I want, don’t feel guilty about it. Sleep when I can and as much as my body needs. Surround myself with people who support and uplift me, but truly be able to recognize those that actually do this and those that I want to do this.
Slow down. – Enjoy the moment. Feel each feeling and each sensation. Sit, listen, and feel. Take in my surroundings. Feel the breeze against my skin. Feel the sun kiss my shoulders. Hear the birds chirping in the distance. See the small blades of grass sway erratically. Hear the happiness in your friend’s voice as they tell you about an accomplishment. Feel the love transfer from a friend to me as they embrace me with a hug. Listen to every lyric of every India Arie song. Listen to my body. Listen to my intuition. Be aware of my surroundings. Actively be present — this one is so hard and I try each day to do this. Say no to things that don’t truly make me happy. Stop doing things to please others. Nurture myself, while also nurturing those I love, but with boundaries. Stay balanced in everything and every choice I make.
Simplify. – Live the life I can afford and make decisions that support this. Stop the excessive over-consumerism that I fall into. I don’t have to stop it, but be very aware of why I make purchases. Does it make me happy, or am I trying to portray something to everyone else by buying it? Was I truly happy living on the Grid or was it something I valued for the wrong reasons. Sometimes you have to simplify by accident or force, but instead of fighting it, I chose to embrace it. Do things that make me happy and don’t feel guilty about it. If that $5 iced coffee truly makes me happy, then buy it. If that Target shirt is only purchased because it is a “good deal,” leave it on the rack. It has been important to remind myself that simplifying doesn’t mean going without, it means just taking the time to think about the things I truly do want, need, and like. Taking the time to assess the happiness they bring or don’t bring has been key in my process.
Seek gratitude. – Focusing on what I am grateful for and not focusing on what I do not have or the what-if’s of life has really helped me too. Reminding myself that I have so much to be thankful for puts things into perspective. When feeling sad, I thank my lucky stars for a tribe so strong and willing to help me in any way, that I remember I am too lucky to focus on the ending of a relationship that was not meant to be. I remind myself to be grateful for the smallest blessings in my life, because to other’s they may be huge blessings. I’ve tried to outwardly be more giving as well – donations (monetary and physical), compliments, and my time. I find that anything that can make me smile, is good for me right now. If buying someone’s coffee leaves a smile on my face, it’s worth it each time. The smile is me remembering that I do have things to smile about, even if I have other things to be sad about.
Learn all the things. – I forgot how much I love to learn. I’ve become obsessed with reading break-up and relationship articles. In addition to articles on growth and healing. These also lead to finding other articles and topics that pertain to my life at any given moment. It has been an awakening experience thanks to the biggest heartache I’ve ever felt. I find solace in knowing that there are steps to overcoming this process and coming out a stronger, wiser, healthier woman. A blend of self-re-discovery and reflection have been my biggest successes in moving forward and remembering what it feels like to be happy. Not selfish. But happy. I don’t blame anyone, especially not J, for my unhappiness anymore. I chose to be unhappy and chose to blame it on him, instead of doing what was best for me. I wanted him to hurt like I was hurting inside. It has taken all of this for me to be able to recognize this and own it. I think deep down, I knew what was happening, but I wasn’t ready to face the reality of how truly unhappy I was. I wasn’t ready to accept the disappointment of my choices and move to correct them, at the expense of pushing someone I loved away. Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom, to learn and move forward. As long as I continue to learn, I will be proud of the person I am.
Well, that got really long, really fast. Even though its very different, blogging and journaling have been a great tool in my healing process too. Coming here and writing it all out is about as cathartic as it gets. While journaling is sacred, blogging is just a different type of sacred. I enjoy sharing my thoughts with you, regardless if you sympathize, judge, or even truly care. I find harmony in coming here and letting my thoughts form sentences.
Pardon my prate…