I wrote a post a few months back about my “why” and it took me about three weeks before I finally overcame the anxious knot in my chest to press “publish”. I try my best to be an open and warm person, but sharing about me, deeper than just the surface level facts, feels like standing on the edge of a cliff.
To understand the depth of this story, you need to know a little about me. I’m a happy person that usually wakes up on the right side of the bed (literally and figuratively). I get excited easily. I go on for hours when I get passionate about something. And over time, this happy disposition has become an integral part of my identity. But when I get down, I get really down. Most people don’t see this part of me, and that’s something I’ve managed on-purpose (but I’m trying to change that). Once I get down, I then have this conundrum- if happiness is part of my core, then who am I when I don’t feel much happiness anymore?
Earlier this year, that’s where I was. Way, way, way down. And I know it might surprise some of you reading this, but the theme that plagued my soul was, “not good enough.” I carried the struggles of my work home like a dumbbell dragging me down. I let the harsh words of others live inside my heart and reverberate in choruses of pain. I questioned why I couldn’t have had an easier story, and I wondered why I wasn’t “good enough” for some people I loved to pursue a relationship with me.
The worst part of all this was, I didn’t really know who I was without my “happy disposition and outlook”. So I trudged on in a cycle of unhappiness that transformed into a bitterness that I haven’t felt in a very long time.
Thankfully, I came to a breaking point before I hit rock bottom, and I knew I had to address this problem at its core.
When I burrowed way down to the root of my discontent, I realized the issue wasn’t with my situation, but with my heart.
The REAL problem was that my happiness wasn’t coming from a steady source.
When your happiness comes solely from a person or a situation, it’s a lot like the retention pond behind my office complex at work. The pond, on its own, is empty. If it rains, then great, and the pond is full and beautiful again. However, if there is a drought, or the sun is unusually intense and dries up the water, the pond becomes dry, barren, and empty. You see, this pond was like my heart- I was depending on outside forces to fill it up again.
Since the Spring, when I was at a very low place, my circumstances haven’t really changed much. I’m at the same job with the same stresses, I interact with the same people, and I still have strained relationships that bring me sorrow. The difference in this season compared to my last, is that my heart is now a spring. More like a clean river flowing down from a mountain, my happiness doesn’t rely on whether it rains or not, because I have my own spring welling up inside me.
I found that spring in my faith, which led me to joy through forgiving others and myself, finding confidence in the fact that I was created with a purpose, and giving kindness that does even more for me than anyone I help. I found that spring in letting people see my pain, and subsequently, see me.
But after I reconnected with my faith, came a lot of hard work. I knew my happiness couldn’t all be about my frame of mind. So I started choosing things that would lead to me becoming the person I want to be. And let me tell you about the person I want to be- she isn’t lazy, or selfish. She is a good friend, and she let’s people in. She puts her gifts to good use, she prays without ceasing, and she takes every moment captive.
To be completely honest, working on this version of me I described above is exhausting, but in the best way. Like the feeling of walking away from a great workout where you feel exuberant and glorious.
If you’ve noticed a difference in me, it’s because I’m putting in the work. I’m opening up about the challenges I face. I’m sharing my story for the first time in my life. I’m letting myself be more than just a happy, bubbly, girl. I’m seeking God in a new way.
And yes, I am different. But I am more me now, than I have ever been.
Thanks for reading, guys. I hope you have Sweet Dreams and Happy Travels.