Unhappiness has (at times) been a big motivator for me.
It’s weird, right? But it makes sense.
As I look back over my life, especially the past 3 to 6 years, I can certainly see a pattern where unhappiness was the thing that finally pushed me to make major changes. Esther/Abraham Hicks calls it “the contrast”. The negative stuff we don’t want to experience, the painful things that leave a mark on us.
And this “contrast” is so important because it shows us what we don’t want, so that we can know for certain what we do. And that clarity is key to manifesting the good shit in our lives.
Being unhappy and lonely in a long-term relationship finally pushed me to make some radical life choices. Being broken-hearted caused me to book a solo trip half way across the world and start traveling more. Being disappointed and hurt at my job lit a fire under me to make big changes in my life and career.
Unhappiness … pain … have been huge, huge motivators.
Buuuut … now I’m at kind of a weird place in my life. Weird in that it’s kind of falling into place. Weird in that I’m actually really happy.
Also weird in that I have no idea what to do with it.
Earlier this year, Ash and I read a book that was a game-changer for me. Awareness by Anthony Di Mello. It’s a simple book with really simple concepts that I probably should’ve understood a long, long time ago. In fact, there was nothing in that book that I hadn’t already heard in some form or fashion, but for whatever reason, this was the book where it finally all clicked. Well … sort of. More like it started to click, I got a the slightest hint of what he was trying to explain, I started to put some of the concepts into practice and then, voila. All of the things I’d been reading from other spiritual authors started to slowly make sense in a way I hadn’t been able to grasp before. It wasn’t immediate and I’m still working through it, but I was suddenly beginning to understand the true source of a lot of the pain in my life.
After reading that book, I stopped … everything. Just to … absorb and process. And well, because honestly I needed to rethink a lot of things.
I stopped dating, I stopped writing. I stopped fighting what I was feeling, I stopped trying so damn hard to be …. better, healed, wiser, etc. etc. I just fucking stopped. And I let myself exist … and I spent time just observing myself, my feelings, my thoughts. I didn’t fight them, good or bad. I didn’t judge myself for them. I accepted them. And this was a first for me.
When I began accepting myself and my feelings as they were, without judgement, it gave me room to ask some pivotal questions from a place that felt safe, peaceful. Why do I want what I want? What makes me react? Why have certain things caused me such pain while other traumatic events have been easy to work through? What makes me hurt, what makes me angry, is it really an outside force or is it really just … me?
This weird little book for whatever reason finally gave me a framework for how to really see myself, clearly … or at least clearer than I ever have before. It didn’t heal the pain; in fact, it just made space for it. It didn’t cure my emotional outbursts or my OCD anxious behavior; it gave them room to be … and gave me room to sit, without judgement, and love myself.
I started to do a lot of work on myself and in understanding what my personal triggers are. I haven’t “fixed” them … I’m learning they don’t really need “fixing” … and I’m learning to accept myself more. Not that I’m super thrilled about every little thing about myself, but I accept … myself. As I am.
I’m learning that most of the time when I’m feeling judged, it’s really the judgement I’m placing on myself. Because really, truly … who can judge? And even if they do, what does it matter? It’s me … it’s my opinion of me, my respect for myself, my love for myself, my judgement of myself that ultimately affects my happiness. Am I making myself proud? Because that’s all that matters.
I realized so much of my unhappiness was stemming from my own war with how I felt about myself. My own fears of not being lovable really stemmed from a lack of love for myself. My own worries about what someone’s impression of me was really boiled down to whether or not I loved myself, respected myself, valued myself … mistakes, baggage and all.
And then, before I really even understood half of the things I was beginning to learn, I started seriously dating someone. So serious, in fact, that he’s moved in.
And here I am going, wait … what? How? How did this happen?
He knows … me. All of me. Icky, dark, not-cool, super-emotional, highly-anxious, stupidly-jealous me. He knows my triggers. He’s seen me at my best and my worst, already … because I was certainly not in a place to hide it and I certainly hadn’t “fixed” it.
And I do not fucking know why, but he loves me.
Quite frankly, it’s surreal. I had pretty much given up hope that I would find anyone at all. And I had started to make a peace with it. I wasn’t happy about being alone and I really hated being single, but I had started to accept (especially after reading Awareness) that that might be my life and I was making peace with it. Because I knew what I wanted was a lot more than most relationships. My brand of neuroses and anxious thinking isn’t easy for anyone to handle, not even myself. I’m a lot. And I don’t mean that in a negative way, necessarily. But I am … a lot. I want … a lot.
But in accepting myself, I also accepted that that was ok. It was ok to be me and ok to want a lot from a relationship. It was ok to be exactly who I was.
I gave myself space to be me. To be messy, mean, loud, anxious, crazy, irrational and completely ridiculous and I worked on loving myself and accepting myself regardless. I made peace with me. Crazy me. Not-cool me. Fucked-up-and-mean me. And … the universe was kind. And gave me someone who could also love the crazy, anxious, ridiculous, messy me.
So here I am in a happy interlude. I’m happy. This … fits. We both know what messes we’ve been and we’re both in this. All the way. And it’s … easy. It’s so easy it starts to trigger my anxiety, but then he holds me and tells me it’s ok and I calm down.
I’m happy. And yes, a great wondrous deal of that is due to this amazing, sexy, weird, socially-anxious human that I’ve fallen for … but a lot of that is me too. Because people are mirrors aren’t they? And we attract what we believe we deserve. And I attracted someone who is loving and kind and maybe a little messy … someone who’s honest about who they are, how they’ve fucked up before and how they’ve learned from their past, as I’ve learned from mine.
And the reflection I see when I look at him is one I’m grateful for.
Not sure if I deserve him, his kindness or his love, but I’m grateful for it. And I’m grateful I love him just as much.
Who knows if we’ll make it? All I know is that right now, I am happy and that is enough.
I am in a happy interlude and it’s great. And I’m learning to let happiness be the norm once more. For the past 3+ years, I was in a painful place that just …. freaking took a toll on me. And so much of that was me, I know that now. My judgements of me, my lack of love for myself … and I’m so grateful I’ve finally making peace with the person I am and the person I’ve been. It’s a work in progress, but I’m headed in the right direction.
But I know it’s time for the second act. It’s time to get back to the work of going after what I desire in life. Back to the work of growing and expanding … of being adventurous and brave. Of strengthening my body and mind and soul. Of creating and building and manifesting the future I desire.
I no longer want misery to be my motivator. I’ll be honest, I think I might’ve become too accustomed to that way of thinking … where pain equals progress. If you’re happy, stay still; if you’re unhappy, get moving. The path is a lot clearer when you know there’s something that needs to be fixed.
But … I don’t want lack or need to be what pushes me. I don’t want conflict to light the fire underneath. Being unhappy is what has pushed me to make changes in the past but it doesn’t have to be. And so I’m starting to shift what motivates me. There is no lack, I have more than enough. Nothing is hurting so that I need to push for relief.
So now the questions are … what do I want more of? What would make me even happier than I am right now? How can I expand?
These are the questions I’m asking myself now. No judgement, no fear, no limits.
I’m happy. Where do we go from here?