I don't know how I dare start a blog post with this title. I've felt for a long time that I spent the majority of my life struggling to survive. At the same time, I would say I was never really happy. I envied people that had someone to share a life with. I spent most of my life living alone, which isn't the bad part, there's nice things about living alone. What was bad was the isolation, no one to share the good the bad or the ugly with. No one to share the ups and downs of your day or to encourage you to hold on, or simple to make you feel loved. I felt that I had nothing good to offer; and in fact the older I got, the worse my life got.
I came from a good home, good parents who did everything they knew how to do, to be good parents to me. There was never a questions that they loved me deeply. While never perfect, I never doubted they loved me and would try to support me in any way possible. I felt I started my life as an independent person in the strongest position in my life, though with lots of weaknesses and struggles.
My parents did't know about positive thinking, overcoming handicaps, and the power of our attitude in the way I now do. As a deaf daughter, they were very overprotective of me. All my problems were taken care of for me if they were able, when if came to my deafness. My mother would go work out problems with the teachers, for example. This is awesome involvement in one way. Unfortunately what she didn't know was that along about junior high to high school age, I needed to be taught how to self-advocate and work through my problems with my teachers. Id stay home one day, while she worked on problems, and the next day go back and everything was fixed. How? I never knew. When I ran into problems like that on my own as an adult, all I knew to do was quit college, which I did more than once.
When I cried about the social isolation, and being alone and not wanting to go to socials, my mother would cry about wishing she could give me her ears. I was then allowed to stay home and avoid the situations. I learned self-pity from this, although I have no doubt my mother would never have wanted to teach me this lesson. I also learned to run away from things. She didn't know how to do or teach me any differently.
When I began living n my own; I had no clue how to deal with problems caused by my hearing without my mother there to fix them. I had no idea how to overcome, I only knew how to run away and lick my wounds, oh, and how to be an emotional eater, eating (anesthetizing) my way through pain. The older I got, the more my life deteriorated. My coping skills weren't there. Inability to grow resulted in more and more dysfunction in my personality. I don't know how much of my life I'd say was unhappy. Many of the years, I felt life just "is". I wouldn't think in terms of happy or unhappy.
The last 7 or 8 or more years of my life before 2005, I would finally define myself as desperately unhappy. I wanted to be gone, I wanted life to be finished. What was there to look forward to? More years to continue to deteriorate physically and mentally and to be alone and isolated? The only thing I had in life was work, and by no means was I getting happiness from it. I had some good years in the beginning, but the good years did not leave me with something to look forward to in the future. They were just the "now".
As you've read from my earlier entries, my brother-in-law Dick had such a profound effect on that the life renovation began, starting in September/October 2005. Before now, I'd always excused people their happiness, after all they had the things I didn't have: husband (how would it be to have someone love you so deeply and want to grow old with you?) children (yes I knew they are hard to raise, but when you grow old they are there), grandchildren (apparently life's greatest joys), money (not many people in my circle had this, but some could take vacations, own homes, and do things I couldn't on my single income), and etc. The list could go on.
Now lets roll through to the present time. For the first time in my life, I really feel like I know what happiness is and how you get it or don't get it. Happiness I've found, has NOTHING to do with what you have (like the husbands, children, grandchildren, money and etc.)! NOTHING! Happiness has to do with WHO you have become. Happiness comes from within. No one has the power to make you truly unhappy or happy. Only YOU have that power.
I've seen people around me in my life, first define things happening negatively, not even giving their minds a chance to find the positive, no chance to find the happiness; no matter how good something is. It didn't matter what good things were happening, I think I probably did that too, without realizing it or knowing it. I don't want to knock my mother, because she didn't have the blessing to be able to learn the things I now know. My mother could beat me hands down in terms of unselfishly giving service. I remember all the meals she would cook and take to families when the mother was in the hospital, or a love one had died, and etc. She did a lot of good. However, I have to use her as an example of what I'm trying to say here (forgive me Mom). During the last years of her life, as we took care of her, I'd take her out to eat at restaurants that I disliked. They weren't my "cup of tea" so to speak. However, they were the ones that she liked where she could get what she wanted. It never failed though, no matter how much she liked the food or the restaurants, as we'd be eating and she'd start complaining about something. Instead of focusing on the food she was eating that she enjoyed, the whole focus was on what wasn't perfect. I can't remember the complaints, but every meal I'd sit and wait for the complaints to start. I felt like I could never find the perfect restaurant where she'd be happy with the food.
If you read last week's entry, when I was struggling with some things that could upset my "happiness". My whole focus as I struggled, was trying to find a positive way out, trying to find a way through it. I focused on how lucky I was to have my niece there to give me a hug and letting me know I was loved. I worked hard to fight my way through my problems and find a way to be positive. As you remember, I worked my way through things and was feeling at peace. I was feeling happiness and joy inside, despite some things threatening and tenuous in my life.
I kept telling myself that everything that was happening is part of some lesson I needed to learn and grow from. I needed to find the lesson and learn it. I needed to work my way out of it with my positive attitude intact. I was successful at working through things and came out feeling peace. Some of what I was dealing with could cause my life to go in some scary directions. Despite this, I knew that whatever happened, it was part of my life's journey. I was experiencing these things to help me learn something and to grow as a person.
The one truth that really hit home this week was that "NOTHING makes you happy. NO ONE has the power to make you happy. Only one person has control over my happiness, and that is ME. Happiness comes from inside,and from my own determination to be happy". Life is going to throw challenges and bumps in the road. Sometimes it's going to throw tragedy in our lives. How we survive these, how we get through it, and our attempts to come out a better person with our love and hope intact is what is going to make us come through it all still HAPPY. We have to "BE" our own happiness.
It's not always easy to work through calcified attitudes of yesteryear and break them down. It's not always easy to realize what we are doing to ourselves and how to stop it in it's tracks, when going down the negative pathways our thoughts are used to traveling. With hard work, it can be done. Our focus has to be in finding the positive. Finding what we can to hold onto, finding the erroneous thinking and changing it. If we work hard enough, and consistently enough we can find our happiness, find our joy, and live the richest of lives. What a revelation this all is for me.