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My Little Guide To Happiness

Sometimes, the thing that needs to change is you.

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Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash
Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

Do I still get to call myself a new mom if my son is 2-years old?… Probably not. But it feels that way. Just when I think I’ve mastered some area of mom-life the tables turn and I’m left wondering “what the heck do I do now?”.

I used to wallow in that space. The “what do I do?”, “how do I do this?”, “why bother if it’s all going to change?” thoughts circulating my brain. I figured I’d just go with the flow. And that’s not a bad approach, I just wasn’t happy in that space. 

I’ve always had wonderful people speaking into my life, guiding me, helping me. But I’ve found wakeup calls operate on your time. Someone can share something over and over and over again but if you’re not in the right mind space to hear it, it won’t register. Although hearing it over and over again does make it easier to accept when you do actually hear it. 

I remember laying in bed thinking “something needs to change, I am not happy”. And I got a response back clearer than if someone sitting next to me had spoken it. “You are what needs to change.” Ouch, right in the feels. But it was true.

There have been countless times in my life where I thought “something needs to change” and it always seemed to hit in moments where I was unhappy. I always had the thought that if something would finally give then I’d feel happiness, I’d feel peace. It didn’t matter how many times I heard “happiness comes from within” or “you create your happiness” I’d always be looking for the one thing to change to finally feel like I was allowed to feel happiness.

It took hearing from within that I was what needed to change, to finally realize I didn’t need permission, nor a thing or event to feel happiness. Just existing is what allows me to feel happiness. 

It has not been an overnight journey. It’s been months of intentional focus on developing myself and finding happiness within myself. It’s been a journey of meditation, journaling, prayer, counseling, and a whole lot of self-reflection. 

Through that process I realized, not only was I waiting for “that next thing” to make me happy but I also felt I was responsible for other’s happiness. That I needed to mold and bend and be a doormat so others would be happy. I was trying to go with the flow too much and in the wrong direction. No wonder I was unhappy.

After an evening of self-care, meditation, and a heavy dose of self-reflection I came up with what I call “Laura’s Rules for Life”. They’re 3 simple rules. You may read them and go “well duh, obviously” but for me, it was truly the moment I woke up. It was the moment I actually started to feel happy, even though things were a mess in my life. And that was something I thought was never a possibility.

Curious what those 3 rules are? Well, I’ll tell you.

  1. I am not responsible for anyone liking me. I am responsible for being kind, compassionate, loving, giving, and understanding.
  2. I am not responsible for how someone else wants me to be, or their expectations. I am responsible for being wholly me and for lovingly communicating what I will and will not do.
  3. I am not responsible for anyone else’s happiness, nor their reactions. I am responsible for my own happiness and I control how only I respond to situations.

See? Not mindblowing. Nothing you haven’t heard before. But if you are struggling, like I was, to feel happy even when life is a mess, then I challenge you to actually reflect on whether your actions show you are following those beliefs. My actions, my feelings, my moods all showed that I was not following those rules. 

I focus on what I am responsible for. If how I am behaving is in alignment with my personal values then happiness just follows. Because I let go of the things I am not responsible for.

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