Accidental Happiness

I put a lot on my “resolution” plate for this new year. Some of the things on my list were thoughtful entries—health and faith. Some things were happenstance—stopping prescription medications (my five-year date is in April and will signify a completed post-cancer regiment). One unplanned resolution contributing a great deal to my current level of happiness came about in a fit of frustration and hurt.

My background is this: I am a people-pleaser. I will often put my comfort level on a back burner so situations that involve you and me will go smoother for you. It leads to a great deal of stress and unhappiness on my end, but if you’re happy then it is worth it. Or so I thought. I truly felt that if there were stress, I would absorb it so that you could be happy and content, and then I would be happy eventually. What I didn’t realize or acknowledge is that I was not eventually happy. I carried that burden for us and simply buried it. I had headaches, a stiff neck, and sleepless nights. I just brushed it off to aging.

I have gotten well-intentioned advice to remove toxic people from my life. I just wasn’t sure who they were or how to go about it. When your method is to only see good and to always boost others you begin to not be able to identify negative people. I’ve been encouraged to cut ties, block via social media, or otherwise disengage with people who fit the category of negative; those people who drain the happy from me and leave me with their emotional residue.

I was at a loss to remedy this for nigh on 49 years. The catalyst to change this was initiated for me: I was unceremoniously removed from a contact online who was rather paramount to my whole family. Me! Someone removed me!—and my whole family,  to boot! I was infuriated. I was hurt. I was confused. I was relieved. Wait. What? Ahh, no more pretense. Mmmm, this was nice. I mean, I processed the rejection part but when the dust settled, I was … happy. I had delayed decisions that might be best for my family and this person hurried my changes. I sort of reveled in a new layer of peace I was unfamiliar with and I liked it. I took it a step further. I did some serious thinking and evaluating. I played back interactions that I had, or was still having, with a few people and whether or not I was receiving anything positive from them. Not that it was making me happy—my happiness is my job. But even in the midst of negative situations, there can be something positive. So I asked myself, “Am I learning? Do I feel better after interacting? Did I have a healthy engagement with this person?” If I could answer yes, great—life was proceeding well and things could be or were on an even keel. If I said no, I evaluated their merit in my life. Granted, I am not at that emotionally secure yet, so these people are in my life still, but I limit their negative actions on my life.  And I am sleeping a whole lot better.

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10 thoughts on “Accidental Happiness

  1. Sue Howell says:

    Atta Girl for you, Julie. There are many who know exactly what you’re talking about. Just got a Facebook post today that said, “Sometimes, the amount of self-control it takes to NOT say what’s on my mind is so immense, I have to take a nap afterward.” Here’s to your newly found energy!

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  2. Mark Geahan says:

    Always look forward to reading your Blog Julie. Great job and thought!

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  3. robin says:

    You are are amazingly bright and in tune Julie you remind me of my daughter with your giving of your self stay true to those inI sights of strength and look no farther than what you know is true

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wendy Hardt says:

    Good for you, Julie! I read something once, I think in a Joel Osteen book, which likened relationships to bank accounts. We all make deposits and withdrawals in our relationships. But when you feel like someone else is constantly making withdrawals and never making deposits in your relationship such that they are always running a negative balance, then it may be a toxic relationship. I don’t think of “deposits” as necessarily having to do me a favor or anything tangible–it can be something as simple as liking my status! But sometimes certain relationships are just always overdrawn, and that is when I say enough!

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    • Julie says:

      AMEN, Wendy! Thank you!! I seem to allot of “overdrafts” but when I found myself crumbling internally, I had to find that reserve meant just for me. It will help keep relationships in a proper check and balance. I love that analogy.

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  5. David says:

    Julie, supreme stuff. You just keep getting better. Let me paraphrase something that I read a while back (and saw in one of my notebooks recently where I had written it): There is no greater entrapment in life than to watch and guess at another person’s emotional state and then try to adjust our behavior to accommodate them.
    Keep this blog rolling. I look forward to reading it every time!

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    • Julie says:

      Thank you AGAIN, David. I appreciate it. It’s taken years, but I am finally trying to escape that (self-imposed) entrapment. I’ll own mine; you can have yours.

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