As I reflect, I realize that despite my best efforts, happiness did not come easy for me. While living with active alcoholism and a child with special needs, my attitude was contingent on other people’s moods. I did not know how to truly be happy even if those around me were miserable. I am not sure when the shift happened nor am I clear on what particular event provided me with clarity. What I do know is that I no longer live in the shadow of other people’s moods, attitudes, or conditions.
I remember someone asking me a few years after I started my freelance writing gig if I ever left those beautiful homes with a sense envy or if it left me unhappy because I didn’t have what they had. I didn’t have to pause before I responded with an resounding “no”. No, I am not envious of these individuals. You see, today, my happiness isn’t affected by someone else’s success, material possessions, appearance, etc., because those are only temporary fixes. True, crazy, authentic happiness is something that is cultivated on the inside.
And just for the record, this doesn’t mean I am over the moon happy all the time. It just means that contentment within myself has blossomed and I no longer look for outside entities to define my mood. Sure, I have my moments of anger, frustration, and annoyance, sadness, but these are fleeting. I guess I can compare it to getting to know a long lost friend. Somewhere between college and my thirties, I lost that connection with myself. Once I regained my footing and realized that I can’t look outside of myself for true happiness, then the real growth began.