When I was a little girl, I learned a core belief that in order to be happy I must sacrifice myself. I began living much of my life believing that I wasn’t worthy of happiness, joy and love and it impacted every decision I made around my food, body and relationships.
In today’s message, I want to share with you how to begin to uproot your beliefs that no longer serve you.
Before I get to how to begin to change up those core beliefs you have (and you do have some, we ALL do), I gotta share this story with you.
An example of happiness and joy came from my Grandma Sadie. She was one of those 4 foot nine inch, red lipstick wearing grandma’s with her own little style. She was spunky and cute, loved the garden, making apple pies, being goofy and wearing high heels and leopard print in her heyday. Grandma seemed to always be smiling and I know I wanted to be around her more because of it.
She lived with us for a while, after my parents divorced when I was 5, and I remember her walking to the door each morning, opening it up and taking in 3 deep breaths of air. It was her ritual to begin the day and she stuck to it, no matter the cold Michigan temperatures we had.
She was mugged in the alley behind her house… a man used his teeth to pull the rings off her fingers. She heard another burglar coming to the back window and snuck up on him and yelled BOO at him so loud it scared him and he ran away. Through this, she kept her smile and was able to find the little joy in moments and it wasn’t that fake, inauthentic smile… it was real. Sure she had her tough moments, but she had a very positive energy.
Today would have been my grandma’s 107th birthday. She passed away in 2003 within an hour of me becoming engaged to my son’s father. That is interesting and crazy story, but for another time.
I used to think that “being happy” was a destination that I needed to get to. I didn’t see a lot of really happy people in my family so I assumed position in the seat of life that told me I had to work for happiness.
This is so wrong.
The Tao Te Ching calls “happiness the most dangerous emotion, not in and of itself, but because of the way we behave in relation to it. We chase after it, sell our souls for it, and try to cement ourselves into its territory, no matter what else is going on in our lives. This exploitation of happiness jeopardizes us, because when we refuse to honor any emotion except happiness, our emotional landscapes become stagnant and unbalanced, which makes us chase even more furiously after happiness.”
Everything shifted for me when I began to acknowledge all of my emotions and name them.
So many people say, I’m “fine” or “unhappy” or “depressed”. These can be lazy descriptions for our emotions and in order to feel the happiness emotions, you gotta be in touch with the all the others. If someone truly is depressed or out of touch with all of their emotions, meditation is a must for them.
Happy is not the opposite of unhappy. It’s also not the opposite of sad, fear or lack of boundaries either.
You know that horrible idea that when you lose the weight, you’ll finally be happy. Or when you get what you want of the relationship, you will finally be happy. Or you get to control things in your work or family, you will finally be happy.
It never ever works that way.
Happiness happens when you begin to let yourself feel all of your other emotions. When you avoid feeling your emotions, that is when your energy is stuck, your cells create disease and you may begin binging on the ice cream or chocolate and wine that provides you with a temporary security blanket.
Here are a few keys to my happy:
I change myself.
Isn’t it crazy how many of us want to change… we want to change our bodies, relationships, food habits and relationships but when it comes down to it… we resist like crazy, avoid or try to run away ourselves. “They” don’t need to change, you do. Change is good. It’s the only way the world works and you must learn to lean into the uncertainty and embrace the change. It cannot work any other way.
I work to let go of my limiting beliefs.
You were not born with a certain set of emotional traits from your family that you are stuck with. Emotional intelligence is a learned behavior. I have spent the last decade of my life relearning emotional intelligence and figuring out what my limiting beliefs are so I could change them. Otherwise, you choose to live the definition of insanity (same old shit, just another day)
I let go.
You choose to release attachment, as the coach within me would say. But I will tell you that the idea of detaching is tough for people to understand so let me break it down simply. It doesn’t mean you are giving up, you stop caring or making efforts. What you are doing is you are acknowledging that you are not really in control. No, you really are not… Letting go is a state of mind and you can start right now with giving yourself permission to to be happy and let go of whatever it is that you may be carrying around like a 50 pound weight on your back.
Happiness comes and goes but it shows up more when we are on the path to wholeness. The journey to love yourself naked will happen on it’s own timetable, not the timetable you are trying to control.
One last thing about Grandma… she taught me that happiness is contagious… every time she would giggle, I would too and I wanted to be around that. It was magnetic.
Oh and to answer the question, “should you sacrifice to be happy?” You can start by sacrificing those old habits, beliefs, cynicism and skeptical behaviors.
So who are you surrounding yourself with these days?
Happy to be,