Permission to Choose Happiness
Welcome back lovelies! This is a second and final post in a micro- series of how middle-aged women can choose happiness.(Follow this link to Part One) Like always, I have short stories, a smidge of psychology and some suggestions to help you design your best life ever.
In the previous post we left off at the assignment to do something nice for yourself. A micro movement to buy something for yourself. Not for your daughter, or your sister or even your amazing bestie who could really- use- a- surprise- because- she has- had- such -a -hard -time- with- her- new- puppy- that- she- bought- to- avoid- dealing -with- her- feelings- about -her- kids- leaving- home.
Nope, not even her.
I hope you gave yourself permission to carefully think about what would please you, and then you took action to gift yourself something unique and lovely. In short, I asked you to practice choosing happiness.
Lets Get Back in the Psych Groove Ya’ll
Okay, buckle up, we are headed back into the tunnel of love- self-love. Let’s figure out where you learned to deny your feelings. Remember, all feelings are valid, but some feelings are not factual. We do not have time or energy to get caught up in the soul sucking cycle of allowing our feelings to function as our Operating System.
Say it with me: Feelings are valid, but they are not facts.
I Was Super Cranky Until I Remembered This One Thing
Recently, I was feeling taken advantage of and unfulfilled. Convinced that I had to DO ALL THE THINGS or else they WOULDN’ T GET DONE (sound familiar?) I was a bit resentful and a whole lot of cranky. After having a lively discussion with my husband, he reminded me that I had the right to choose to spend our resources on what makes me happy. Technically I already knew that, but hearing him remind me of the freedom I had to choose my happy was super helpful and empowering.
Sometimes I return to my earlier, unhealthy mindset of needing permission to choose happiness for myself. I get all bunched up and frankly a bit bitchy, as I pile perceived expectations on myself. Truthfully, I do know better, and I am working hard to keep choosing the freedom of happy.
Freedom begins when we realize that many of our emotional responses are pre-set or were molded early in our childhood. Once we have identified our thinking patterns, it is much easier to let go of responses that were needed to protect us. Cognitively we know that we are adult women, but some of our responses are still originating from our childhood.
So How Do We Choose Happiness?
Newsflash: Choosing to please yourself is a mindset. Negative mindsets often hide behind the voices of other people. You know, the voices in our head that warn us about upsetting our mom or disappointing our partner. Mindset is an odd thing; it is rigid and yet invisible.
But the most important thing to know is that mindset can be changed. You are not doomed to live unfulfilled. Desiring to change your mind is easy, making the change is the more difficult part. Why is it so difficult to commit to healthy change?
There are so many elements that mess up the momentum to create change. Truth? Most of it is based in fear, fear of the immediate pain and projected fear of the unknown. And for some of us, choosing happiness was not encouraged or allowed in our early emotional education.
At One Point, Fear Was Your Friend
Fear serves us well when we are small children learning about the world. Some of the most important physical boundaries we carry into adulthood are based on a fear experience. Aggressive dogs, speeding cars, hot stoves are all lessons based in fear. That is healthy fear, uncomfortable to learn but vital for long term safety.
But sometimes healthy fear turns into unhealthy fear. Instead of protecting our bodies, fear starts to boss around our thoughts and our dreams. Fear is like a dictator; it will take absolute control of your life if you let it. So often, we are unaware that fear is our operating system, and as a result, we allow our world to narrow.
So when we feel like we need to people please (co-dependency) or self-betray we are letting fear control our lives. At some point we in our lives, we have evidence that asserting ourselves resulted in the withdrawal of love, community or needs going unmet.
But now you are an adult. And you are safe to ask for what you want. You can get what you need from people, resources, and your inner self. To be happy, you must act confront fear and break its stronghold on your behavior.
Now That Fear Is Exposed, How Do I Make Myself Happy?
The short answer is to choose what makes you happy. Like we practiced last post, pretend like you are picking out a gift for someone you love very much. You spend time, money, and energy on thinking about the gift, purchasing the gift and then planning the actual giving of the gift. Use those skills to identify and take a first step into making yourself happy in a way that is intentional and shame free.
Give Yourself The Gift Of Happiness
Identify what makes you happy. Put in the effort to buy, schedule or arrange for your happiness. Plan to enjoy your happiness as a regular part of your life. Try writing affirmations to help you choose happiness without feeling guilt or shame for taking care of your emotional needs.
If you are a mom or wife, sometimes we hide behind the needs/demands of family, even when we are trying to encourage ourselves. I wrote these affirmations to help you step into your needs, while acknowledging that you are a nurturer and caregiver for others in your life.
Try These Simple Affirmations To Help You Choose Happiness
· Just like I love to make other people feel special, I love to make myself feel special.
· I have the energy to create happiness for me.
· I will choose my happiness as often as I am able.
· I will allow and expect those close to me to encourage my happiness.
· I can use my resources (time, money, energy) to create my happiness.
· We will honor the need for happiness in this house.
· Happiness is part of a balanced, healthy life.
· I am committed to modeling happiness for my children.
I know that creating and choosing happiness can be a complicated topic for women. Remember, nothing changes until something changes. I am cheering you on as you take micro steps toward your happiness. It is never too late to give yourself permission to live a healthy, whole and balanced life.