The easy answer is that when you’re happy, you want everyone to be happy along with you. Happiness feels really good. You want everyone to feel it.
My own journey toward happiness is more like a walk out of the darkness tale. I grew up with no dad and a mom who was abusive when she remembered I was there at all. She spent her childhood watching her father abuse her mother, battled depression and self-medicated with various substances. I developed anxiety disorder in childhood and am a natural introvert, not just because I struggled to maintain some shred of self-esteem. When I used to think about my childhood, my memories looked like darkness, a starless night sky. And later when I thought about my mother, it was more of a what-not-to-do guide than fond memories. There wasn’t a lot of happiness in those years but it wasn’t all bad. I struggled to find myself in my twenties and powered through undergraduate and graduate business school. I didn’t love it but thought I could make a good living with those degrees.
My path began to turn toward the light through a series of people who showed up right when I needed them, some of them in mysterious ways that still make me scratch my head. I met my now-husband, who, for some reason, accepted me in my brokenness and saw something worth holding onto. The others, friends, books and a therapist who made connections about my life, my “issues” and my parents that changed everything. The difference it made in my way of seeing the world was like seeing the sun for the first time. It was a rebirth of sorts. The weeks of depression that previously showed up for no apparent reason and disappeared as inscrutably stopped all together. It wasn’t that the demons of insecurity- feeling like I’m not good enough, the panic at whether people like or criticize me, drawing attention to myself- and the self-sabotage that accompanied it- went away. It was daily work to maintain my new perspective and not slip into the old. I did the work. I had seen the sun and I wasn’t going back.
Just a few years later and in the months following the birth of my first child, I lost the only person who had loved me unconditionally throughout my twenty-eight years. I experienced shock, sadness, grief and anger on levels I hadn’t known existed. I slammed the door shut on God for doing that to me when I’d been through enough already and on my intuition for not warning me that my Nana was dying, of all things it might’ve warned me about. It was five years before I got over that loss and slowly opened the doors of my mind and heart again to anything beyond my husband and daughter.
What I learned is that darkness exists but so does the sun. And, you never know how many days you get on this earth or with the people that mean the most to you. Don’t waste any of it settling, tolerating or putting up with a life that isn’t sparkly. My motto for my world each day is “bright, cheery, happy”. It’s present, in bright colors at the top of my vision board, presiding over my dreams. I still work daily to manage the symptoms of anxiety disorder and I occasionally wonder if I’m good enough. I am happy. I have a family I love more than everything, friends whom I will drop what I’m doing to meet for drinks or be there whenever they need me, work that is so “me” that my soul shines out of my skin, and a version of myself that I know my role models would want to hang out with and be proud of. My dream is to help as many people as possible have that too.
That’s why I coach and write about happiness, success and getting what you want. And about living life to its fullest with no regrets.