See the True YOU
Have you ever lost a job or been through a divorce or had big challenges in your life? How do you feel about those experiences? Do you feel like life is better for them? I have had these experiences and I now see them as the best things that ever happened to me. Do you want to move forward from your challenges to see them as opportunities? Then continue to read how I made the changes in my life.
So much of my life until my divorce was about feeling responsible. I felt I was responsible to make people happy. I was happy when they were happy. That’s what I thought.
I couldn’t answer the question “what makes you happy” when it was just about me. I’d say I am happy when…… when my son was excited about school…… when my husband was excited for a trip we were going on.
As a child, I was happiest when helping my Mom. I felt loved and recognized. When there are six kids trying to get attention, it’s important to figure out quickly what gets attention. Watching over my youngest siblings – feeding them, bathing them, taking care of them… and that carried over to my marriage. The Good Mom. The Good Wife. The Good Child. All I did as I grew up was to change the focus of who I was making happy.
When you are a wife, mother, and a career woman; those three labels and titles become contradictory. Pulling you in three different ways. To be a good employee takes from wife and mother, to be a good mother pulls you from work; so conflicts arise. And I became very adept at negotiating. When my husband and son were in conflict; I’d listen to my Husband and say what soothed him. Then I’d listen to my son; and said to him what would not be upsetting to my husband.
But it was ultimately unsustainable. As my son grew, conflict between the two increased, and I had to step in between them more and more, until I had to make a choice. I chose my Husband over my son in that balancing act, at first. And I almost got away with it. When my son went to college, I was excited to be back to the Husband and Wife phase. No more conflict, right? My husband, however, was worried what he would do. He wasn’t ready to let go of our son and he wasn’t ready to go back to just the two of us again. I soon learned that our son had become a buffer in our marriage. I was ready to go back to just making one person happy again. But that’s not how it worked out.
Funny how life changes things for you. What changed for me was that my Mom died. And it changed everything inside me. I withdrew. I couldn’t make anyone happy. I couldn’t feel anything. Not even my own emotions. That withdrawal process continued for a long time. A year and a half later, my youngest brother passed on as well; and my withdrawal intensified. All I wanted to do was work.
I couldn’t make anyone happy. I felt empty. So, I threw myself into work and traveled for work. I was gone all week and only home for weekends to take care of my aging dad (and be the “Good Child.”). Then came the beginning of the separation of my marriage, which I was unaware of.
But the changes continued to happen for me. My job ended at a company I had been with for 18 years. Within two weeks, I started to feel more alive without the huge focus on work. I was excited to re-create my life. We didn’t have to have my income. I didn’t have to work. It was exciting!
Then the next big change occurred, three months later, my husband left me. A marriage of 32 years ended. I wasn’t focused on him because I felt empty and traveling for work. So he found someone else. I later learned he has narcissistic tendencies, but that was much later. After I’d had a lot of time to heal and after I’d started to learn how to know myself. At that point, I was stripped of everything. I felt raw.
It was then that I went to a friend and psychic. She told me: “He is not coming back, but you will be happier than you have ever been!”. I didn’t believe her. I was so angry with him for throwing it all away. The betrayal, rejection, and hurt brought on panic attacks. It was just too much to be out in the world.
Little by little, pieces fell into place for me to feel the support of the Universe. He left. 3 days later, I had a job interview. 2 weeks after that, I had a job. And this job had little to no stress.
I had learned at this time to make a list of what I wanted in a new job, and I’d written down that I wanted to have a position with ‘little or no stress’ and that job fit my ideal.
But I soon learned that I didn’t want such a low amount of stress after all – I wanted a little stress, because a little stress gave me responsibility and feel validated. And it occurred to me that the more clarity that I was able to get on what I wanted, gave me a better idea of who I Am. It gave me validation. And it taught me a valuable lesson.
You see, when we create for others to validate who we are, it is creating from a place of looking outside ourselves, and it doesn’t work. And if you have built a life based on serving others (people pleasing) like I did. To the point where you don’t even know who you are. Well, at least in my case, I learned you have to hit the bottom to start up. The realization was that my job was gone then my husband had rejected and betrayed me. Only then did I see how unhappy I was. I didn’t know I was unhappy until those things happened. It wasn’t registering that my life was not me. This is when I started asking what makes “me” happy.
So, Universe gave me more. It wasn’t until I was nearly through the divorce that I started to recognize how supported I’d been all along the way. As I had travelled for work, Universe gave me books to read. Two of my favorites were Eat, Pray, Love by Elisabeth Gilbert and Broken Open by Elisabeth Lesser. Because of those books, I knew there was something better on the other side of the divorce. And it was about their INNER journey – subconsciously, I was preparing myself back then for what was to come ahead.
The conscious choice we make – “I can’t do this other than how I always have done it” - causes us to repeat the same patterns. Date the same men. Work the same jobs. The alternative is to make the choice to see that there are other options, there are other ways of doing things than ‘the way things have always been done.’
When I first started on the journey, I wanted to help women going through divorce to know that there is something better on the other side; to know there is a better life if you are willing to get to know who you really are. If you know who you are in terms of what lights you up and what brings you down. I wanted to show other women that that works, that self-work is healing yourself, which ultimately heals future and past generations.
So that’s what I set out to do. First, heal myself. My journey through this was painful and also joyful. I want others to know there is an easier way. I think of life as climbing a mountain and I here to help guide you, so you don’t have to step in all the holes that I did. Then help you heal you.
Today, a beautiful sunset makes me happy. Laughter makes me happy. Today, I am happy being around my friends sharing a nice dinner. What makes you happy?
I know who I am. I am passionate about helping others learn who they are; to be happier in their lives and not settle for less. Because I stopped and I listened to myself. Yes, because I lost everything. But mostly because I started listening to what made me happy. Because I got to know who I am. And I will tell you this, if you do the same, listen to who you truly are; there are great benefits.
The greatest of benefits are these: You will live with confidence, because you live your truth You will have great relationships, because you live your truth. And you will be able to be happy with your life. Because you are living your truth.
I truly, deeply hope you find this self-truth for yourself.
Because it is a wonderful, amazing place to be.
With love and in support of the finding True You-