The Journey Towards Happiness
“Enlightenment: The ability to change what you were taught to believe.”
Louise L. Hay
We all have a choice. I have a choice. You have a choice. It is that simple. So, wherein lies the difficulty with making change? Is it that we do not want to be happy? No, I do not think that is the answer.
Happiness is an emotion that people seek so much, that sometimes it means one will hurt another just to sense greater satisfaction in their own life. However, these certain people never receive what they are so desperately fighting for. Instead, these people (maybe this is you, your spouse, your family member, your friend) still lack the emotion of happiness. Instead of happiness, there is just an additional scar – consciously or subconsciously known – that is added to the overwhelming hurt that already exists. We are all human and despite what others may say, we care. We care what others think of us. Those who I have heard say “I do not care” are typically those that have the deepest scars. These scars are the type that leave imprints deep into one’s heart, which consume their thoughts, behaviors, and words.
So far, all I have shared is likely information that you have heard before; but now, despite my own fears, my own reservations, I am going to share with you some scars of my own, that others may not care to hear. I am honest and I am going to continue to be honest, however, I realize that with my honesty I also need to display grace.
My father taught me to be a very honest person who treats others, as I would like to be treated. Sound familiar? Well, now let me take it to the next level. My father actually would frequently say, “I hate liars.” I heard this my entire life and now, I do believe that this “mantra per se” is burned into each and every one of the neurons in my brain. I am likely the most honest person you will ever meet. My father, God rest his soul, was an imperfect being like each and every one of us. Despite his faults, he was my father, he loved me, and I know that he had nothing but the best intentions. He had scars that he had accumulated his entire life, which affected him. Prior to my father’s death, he approached me and apologized for hurt that he had brought to me. My father’s apology meant the world to me. I remember looking at my father with tears in my eyes and saying thank you to him. That day, Father’s Day in 2008, my father and I grew in understanding of one another. That very same day, I forgave my father for the hurt that I had experienced, due to his behaviors that surfaced from the scars that he held so deeply. My father passed away from a stroke not long after this conversation; and I am so grateful that we were able to work through some of his pain and some of our shared pain. My father changed and he took steps to show this to others, including me. As I wrote about in “Life Is Like A Mist”, I now live for each moment for the next is not guaranteed. So what is it that is keeping you from happiness, from making change, from letting go of those scars, and moving forward in life? Maybe you are not even aware of the scars that you hold? Also if this applies to you, are you aware of the effects that your hurt is having on your children? The best parents, with the best intentions, leave lasting effects on their sons and daughters.
With that said, we are all human. We are all imperfect beings. We all make mistakes and we all have used words that cut deep and leave scars with others. Sadly, those who we love the most are typically those that we hurt the most.
The cycle of hurt needs to stop somewhere. How about NOW?
My husband can hurt me and he has. I can hurt him and I have. We have the ability to hurt one another, because we know each other better than anyone else does. So one may say, “Well, then I just won’t let anyone in.” Walls are built and people are shut out from true feelings and true emotions. People are only shown a tough exterior, because who wants to be weak? I tried this. My husband tried this too. He tried this in addition to running whenever the situation got tough. Despite both of our resistance, we were brought together and we have thankfully endured incredible hardship from the very beginning of our marriage.
I asked my husband to share some of the lessons that he has learned throughout our marriage. This is what he openly and honestly shared with me:
- * It is okay to be vulnerable
- * Running is not the best option
- * Building walls does not make one happier
- * It feels great to have someone who truly knows me
- * Communication is good. Understand that you need to address issues. Although, the person you are communicating with may get mad, it will save you from additional hardship in the future
- * Do not go to bed angry
- * Take a deep breath, then respond
- * Put yourself in their shoes before you respond
- * Sometimes, it is best to shut up even when you think you are right
- * It is not a game
It was not until I allowed myself to feel completely vulnerable that I was able to find happiness through love. My marriage has grown stronger through the difficulties that we have had to face with one another. My husband has allowed himself to grow and change. I could not make him change, but thankfully, he cared enough about our marriage and about me to open up to me and reprioritize what was important to him in life. This meant expressing his true feelings, which included his anger, fears, sadness, regret; in addition to, his hopes and dreams. I had to change too. I had to identify with scars that I held from childhood and I had to decide that I wanted that cycle of hurt to stop with us. We have not been blessed with children yet. At this point in time, my body is in the process of healing and now, would not be a good time to plan a family anyways. However, we do pray for children in the future and if and when we are blessed with growth in our family, we want to prevent some of the scars that we both have experienced. We too, will make our own mistakes and leave our children with their own scars; however, we are putting the time and effort into this now, so we can both do our best as parents if given that opportunity.
In addition to making change within ourselves, we have made changes to develop our marriage. Our marriage is in great transition, but it is growing beautifully as we journey through life together as one. The most important change that we have both made, albeit at different times, has been our wholehearted acceptance of faith. We believe God brought us together and has a plan for us. We look forward to where this journey is going to lead us and we welcome those who will support and encourage us as we move forward.
Another addition to our marriage has been “leaving the past in the past”. Honestly, this was more difficult for me. Nonetheless, we each have pasts, we both have caused hurt, we have both made mistakes. We have grown and matured. We accept that we are both human. We both have had to forgive ourselves. Now, in order to achieve true happiness in our marriage, we move forward and do our best not to look back.
One of the most difficult changes in our lives has been the realization that people change. We have realized that many people do not understand who we have become. Neither of us are the people who we were a year ago, a month ago, or even a day ago. This growth that we have experienced has left people with hurt that was outside of our control. Many people who knew the people who we used to be do not identify with the people who we have become. This transition, which originated through marriage and trauma, has left many people confused, angry, and hurt. To them, I suppose it is like “a death of their friends”. In that sense, their feelings are justified. We are no longer the friends that they used to know. However, that does not mean that we are not open to sharing who we have become.
LIFE happens. People change. Who you are today, does not define who you will be tomorrow. Who you associate with today, does not guarantee whom you will associate with tomorrow. That does not mean that those people who you are no longer close with are not good people…they are just at different points along life’s journey.
“Life is a delicate balance of holding on and letting go.”
– Author Unknown
As a newly married couple, we have experienced trauma only two weeks into marriage, which forced our roles to drastically change beyond our control or personal desires, and we have accepted our faith. Neither of our lives are what they once were. Both of us have had to individually embrace the feelings of hurt and loss that has come with what life has brought us. This has not been easy. Change is not easy, but sometimes in order to grow, it is absolutely necessary and inevitable.
Although we have changed, we understand that others are at different points along life’s journey. One day our journeys may cross again, but for now, we separate ourselves for a period of time to embrace change, move forward as we are guided by God, and know that we are doing what is best for us – for our happiness.
We each have our own story. You have your own story, your own pain, and your own desire for happiness. What are YOU willing to do in order to experience this emotion that so many seek, but so few ever truly discover?
Thank you. I am grateful for all of the beautiful souls that I have met along this journey of life. My heart is appreciative to every person who has touched my life, for the lessons that each person and each circumstance has taught me, to those individuals who have come and gone, because our life journeys are moving in different directions or due to their passing onto a better place, and for those who continue to support and encourage me as I continue on my own life journey. Again, thank you.