I’m still on my journey of self-discovery (aren’t we all?) and I guess it is a bit like a rollercoaster or riding the rapids as it comes in ebbs and flows. Sometimes I have light bulb moments that are little and other times they can sweep me off my feet.
Part of my journey is breaking old habits as I have got stuck in a rut, but I haven’t really acknowledged this as they’ve not really affected me. For example, I used to love wearing skirts and dresses but for the best part of 5 years I have lived in jeans. Particularly in the first couple of years after fleeing my abusive relationship self-care went out the window and so it took me a while to get back to the point of putting myself first.
It’s still a work in progress but with a little encouragement I have recently started wearing dresses again, wearing more make-up, having my nails done and incorporating more self-care including pampering myself. I wasn’t sure if I would keep up my new skincare/make up routine or wearing dresses, but I have done and I think it’s because I know deep down that this is me and I like it.
When I feel like I look good (even if no one is going to see me) it makes me feel good on the inside and really makes a difference. I used to keep skin care products and make-up for special occasions but then I’ve realised that there’s no point doing that, instead life is for living and so we deserve to wear what we want and pamper ourselves every day.
Another part of my journey is knowing myself better and what makes me happy. As part of self-reflection, I have realised that I have spent a lot of my life seeking approval from others to the point that I have forgone what I wanted in order to please others and haven’t felt strong enough to stand my ground. I know that this stems from fear of losing people as if my own ‘father’ could just walk away never to be seen again, I have questioned if I am a likeable person. Also, the fact that my ex and all our ‘friends’ and ‘family’ mistreated me so badly.
It definitely made me guarded when getting to know new people, but I know I am a likeable person. My best friend of 30 years has been there throughout all of this and by allowing myself to rediscover myself that guard has come down which has enabled me to meet new people. Whilst some relationships have gone from strength-to-strength others have weakened and this was one of those light bulb moments that hit me rather hard.
I am aware that I have become stronger over the past few months and more certain of who I am. I am more determined than ever to live life to the full and surround myself with people that make me happy and add to my life. I think because I am such a softy, I find it hard when things go sour with people, and I find it upsetting but I also know deep down that it says more about them than me.
So, I decided to do some research into why others struggle to see others be happy or grow and why I find it hard to handle. I know that I need and want to focus on my happiness rather than what’s going on for them.
In the first couple of years after I left my abusive relationship, I was a shell of who I am today, and I was very down and hadn’t discovered my voice. I read that miserable loves company so because I am no longer miserable some people may not be able to relate to me anymore, instead they may try to deny your happiness or opt out of acknowledging or celebrating yours.
It’s also possible that people get envious rather than empowering others or they may feel intimidated or not want to acknowledge your happiness because they haven’t found theirs. People may not even be aware of how they are reacting, or they may not be able to get their heads around your life choices.
I understand all the above, but I still struggle to grasp why people can’t at least pretend to be happy for you particularly if it’s been a long time coming. I know I want the people I love and care about to be happy, but I realise that I also have to put myself in this equation and cannot forsake my happiness for someone else’s no matter how hard this may be.
So as hard as it may be instead, we have to keep living our lives, keep celebrating our joy, remember that we deserve it and that those who truly care about us will be by our sides for all those happy moments (and for all the other moments too).
Something that I can struggle with is realising that I can’t change how people feel and react. So, instead I have to focus on what I can control and learn that no matter how much someone may mean to me and how much I want them to share in my happiness, that they may never be able to and that this isn’t a reflection of myself but instead it is something they need to work on.
Ultimately, relationships that are true and genuine will stand the test of change and those who support and care about you will value your growth above their own comfort. Afterall, we have to treat those we love with kindness, generosity, and respect if we want the same back but if those conditions aren’t met then we are allowed to close the door behind them.
Everyone has scars from things that have happened to them, but they shouldn’t define us. It is important to remember that we deserve to receive love, approval, and validation and sometimes this can mean finding the strength, self-love, and self-respect to let go of our fears, or certain relationships that are hurting us or preventing us from being truly happy.
This can be easier said than done but being brave may lead you to a happier and fuller life which is what you’ve always deserved, which is why I am determined to be open to the possibilities of what lies ahead.
I know how powerful it can feel to know you are accepted, liked, and supported unconditionally and I want to offer this to others (and hope I do).
I believe that I deserve to be happy and so I cannot let anyone burst my happy bubble and I hope you can find the tools you need to protect your happy bubbles as you deserve to be happy too!