These last 2 years have been ones of complete upheaval and change. I have failed, succeeded, conquered, lost, gained and learned a lifetime's worth in 24 short months. Throughout it all, the one thing that remained constant was my burning desire to be happy.
My whole life, I chased being happy. Always looking for that one thing or someone that will make everything better. I was convinced that if I could just find "the one" I would be okay. I went from relationship to relationship, even in my friendships. And all that pursuit got me was a whole heap of misery.
Because I was chasing the wrong relationship.
I spent all of my time trying to find the one person who would accept and love me for me, yet I wasn't even willing to give that to myself. It was only when I stopped searching for anything outside of myself that I began to understand what it takes to be happy. Now, that doesn't mean I don't need anyone else, humans are social creatures and we need friends and mates, however, my folly lay in needing someone else to make me happy.
As fallible beings, it is not possible for one person, or even a handful, to make you happy all of the time. We fail one another, sometimes even in times of greatest need. We make mistakes and we have a very bad tendency to inadvertently hurt one another. So by seeking fulfillment in others, all I was doing was setting myself up for failure.
I wanted someone to accept me for me all while refusing to do just that for myself.
Imagine that you have a friend, and every time you see her, she criticizes your appearance. It starts off small like "You should do something different with your hair" or "You really need a pedicure." As time goes on, it escalates into "Wow, you really need to lose weight!" or "You never seem to have a good hair day, you know that?" Next thing you know, your friend is pointing out every skin blemish, even the tiniest roll or dimple of fat, how your clothes don't fit you just right, how those lines around your eyes are getting more noticeable, and how no one in their right mind would want to see you naked let alone love you after such a sight.
You wouldn't remain her friend, would you?
No, of course not. You'd stop returning her calls. Stop hanging out with her and tell all your other friends what a bitch she is. You would be downright pissed at her, and you'd have every right to be. Yet, every day, we say all of those things to ourselves when we look in the mirror. How can you expect to be happy when you are in an abusive relationship with yourself?
I had to stop seeing myself how I thought others saw me. Learning to stand in front of the mirror and admire myself was one of the biggest steps for me. I'd been taught to hate my reflection from early on in life, and it took a lot for me to learn to love the mirror. I started small, by focusing on the good things, and pretty soon, it was difficult for me to see how any of my flaws really made that much of a difference.
I accepted myself. More importantly, I loved myself.
I finally realized that I am worth being happy. I deserve to be happy. And I will continue to make the choices necessary to remain happy. Which means, if there are unhealthy things and/or people around me, I will choose to remove them from my life. I will not grant another person the power to decide whether or not I'm happy.
Which is exactly what I was doing by searching for a relationship to give me my happiness.
I see it everywhere I look; people desperate to find "the one". I understand, because I've been there. I've fallen in love too quickly before, simply because I was desperate to have what I thought was missing. I regret giving up so many years of peace because I was too stubborn to take a good, long look at myself.
It's easy to treat yourself badly. How often do you eat junk food to feel better, or stay up too late because you're trying to conquer some of that To Do list, or look at yourself with disgust every time you pass a mirror? Do you know the difference between your needs and your desires? How many times have you settled while dating because you're so lonely and you "need" someone?
Decide that you are no longer going to let your deficiencies define your worth. Look in the mirror and stop the running commentary in your head of how much you hate your body. Replace it with something you like about yourself and add to that list daily. Stop looking for the next relationship to change things and fix the one you're in with yourself. Attitude and behavior are choices, which means the power to change them lies completely within you. No one else has the power to make your life worth living, so stop giving it to them.
If you want to be happy, then be happy.