I feel like this post has been writing itself in my head for a while now. I went for a long run/walk the other day and it got me thinking about what it’s like to work towards something and to work towards your own happiness. And I realised a few things.
But that realisation didn’t begin during my run, it all started a bit earlier.
It actually all began a week or so ago when I went for lunch with a good friend. I guess you could say I was having a bit of a rant.
Why do things have to be this difficult?
I thought I had already been through all this.
I feel like I’m all the way back at the start again.
Can you feel the extent of my annoying whining? My wise friend looked at me and said:
What did you expect? Did you expect to just figure it all out and then everything would just fall into place? Did you think you’d just spend the rest of your life singing The Hills are Alive, on a mountain-top somewhere?
Well, yeah, actually, I kind of did.
I felt that I had reached a point where everything had fallen into place. But just when you think everything is OK, it usually gives us a bit of a wake up call, doesn’t it?
So I’ve been thinking about happiness, stability and what it means to fight for your own.
Happiness is something that you work towards, it’s not just something that happens. It’s about making the right choices, repetitively. Not just once, or twice. It’s about constantly, or at least most of the time, making the right decisions. And not apologising for putting your happiness at the top of your to-do list.
What is your happiness? For me, happiness is simple things like spending a morning in a cafe reading a book, working from home, taking care of myself, my independence, my health, being surrounded by positive people, dancing.
So often we put others in front of our own happiness. What will my friends, partner, parents, etc think? And as women, we all too often feel guilty when we put ourselves and our happiness as our number one priority. Can we justify the time we spend on doing things for ourselves? Or do we feel that time and energy could be better invested in our families? Our children? Our work? Our home?
I think if we don’t invest in our own happiness first, we aren’t able to support others in their happiness pursuits either. It’s not selfish, it’s the happy fight for the greater good.
This passage from Christiane Northrup’s book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom sums it up pretty nicely.
Nearly every woman I know has been socialized to believe that putting everyone else before herself is the right thing to do. Just the opposite is true – we can’t really be there for others unless we’re there for ourselves first.
She also goes on to say:
Many people have been taught that they can’t have what they want and that a life full of struggle is somehow more honorable than one full of joy. We grow up believing that suffering buys us something. We have also been taught to distrust something if it is considered too fulfilling or if it is associated with too much pleasure or with having too much fun.
There’s nothing wrong with pleasure or fun or happiness. There’s nothing wrong with doing what you want if that’s what makes you happy, whether that means you go travel the world, or bake muffins for the family. That’s what I’m learning and coming to grips with and what I got from my run and a nice talk with my friend. What makes you happy? Do you feel guilty for putting yourself first? Tell me about it.