Happiness. Happiness is something I think about often. I think about a lot of different things, but happiness is always at the top of that list. Recently, I've had these conversations with a few friends. There are some friends who prioritize their happiness and others that do not. What I have observed is that people who do not prioritize their happiness or understand the importance of happiness in their own lives are sacrificing their own happiness for others. Those are the people I'm hoping to reach. Hopefully, I can shed some light on the subject and my message will serve them.
During a recent conversation with a long-time friend, I asked if she was happy. The scoffing that occurred on the other end of the phone after my question, made it clear that my friend did not prioritize her own happiness. She responded, "what does that have to do with it?" It seems as though some people can only achieve happiness after finishing a certain task or if they achieve the title, the raise, the house, the partner, etc. Get my drift? It's as though people do not feel worthy of happiness until they have X, Y, or Z. I get it, I was that way before too, but I'm here to tell you . . . YOU DON'T NEED THOSE THINGS TO BE HAPPY. You can be happy right now without all that stuff; the material things, the titles, the homes, boats, toys, etc. Be happy for all that you already have or have already achieved. A new toy is shiny, but the shine eventually wears away and then you are searching for the next thing to make you happy.
Another pitfall I see is people who are too concerned with other people's happiness and making them happy with their actions. Again, I'm going to tell you right now . . . that is some co-dependent shit right there. And I can say that because I am a former co-dependent (thank you CoDA). I can spot that shit real fast now. That's people-pleasing behavior that is not healthy. Again, that comes from co-dependency and some earlier trauma. People-pleasing is a trauma response. We don't want to rock the boat or upset people, so we walk around on eggshells to not disrupt or disturb another person's happiness. UM HELLO, what about your happiness? Isn't that important? Sacrificing your own happiness for someone else's doesn't make you a martyr, it makes you a fool. For example, when I teach yoga, I remind my students there is no prize or trophy at the end of practice. Likewise, when you give up your needs and wants for others' happiness, all you're left with in the end, is . . . NOTHING. If you give and give and are not happy after sacrificing, what are you doing it for? What is the price of your happiness? Have your sacrifices been in vain? If you sacrifice your happiness in an empty forest, will anyone be there to see it?
Happiness has been at the forefront of my life for many years. After leaving a toxic and abusive romantic relationship in 2008, love and happiness have been my driving force. They have been so important to me that I had love and happiness tattooed in Kanji on my wrists to remind me if something isn't bringing me love and happiness, it has got to go. I got boundaries like a mofo. So, when I asked that friend if she was happy, I was shocked at her response. Mostly, it made me sad that she didn't feel she was worthy of happiness. Or she wasn't worthy of happiness YET. . . waiting for everything to be perfect to be happy. Nothing is perfect, might as well be happy right now, at least that's what I think.
We are all worthy of happiness. We are meant to feel joy and happiness in this life. I am not happy 24/7, no one is. And if they tell you otherwise, they are not being honest with themselves. I have my moments, but I always bounce back by looking at things differently and seeing the valuable lesson I have learned. Again, in 2017 I asked myself if I was happy. I was burning out as a Special Education teacher working for LAUSD since 2003. My adrenal glands were fried, I was tired, stressed, overworked, and unappreciated. Ultimately, my chosen career was no longer serving me or fulfilling me; it was time to resign. I knew deep down inside it didn't matter what I had achieved; finishing my BA in 2005 after my Dad died in 2003, landing my dream job, finishing my two-year credential program, living by the beach, meeting my husband, earning a Master's Degree in 2013 . . . all of it didn't matter, if I wasn't happy.
Now, teaching yoga/meditation and living a mostly stress-free life to me IS happiness. I have designed a life around my happiness and things that bring me joy. And please don't say it's a privilege to live this way. I fully intended my life to be this way. I worked for it. I meditated on it. And I made it happen with divine guidance. I listened to my intuition that day when it whispered, "Resign." I was paying full attention and I never looked back.
Wherever you are on this journey, I hope you find joy and happiness in all that you do. Knowing that your happiness isn't up for sale will keep you in your divine flow. Know your worth. Know that you deserve all that is good in this life. And never sacrifice your happiness for something or someone who is not worthy.