I used to place a lot of my ability to feel good outside of myself. I didn’t know how to feel good if I knew that the people around me that I care about felt stressed or upset. As a child, my parents and siblings were the ones I was most tuned into and concerned about. If I sensed that they were feeling good, I allowed myself to relax for a while; if not, my stress levels would skyrocket and I’d try a variety of things in an attempt to help. I’d ask how they were or help with their work or try to melt into the background so I didn’t bother them. When I got married, my happiness hinged on whether or not I thought my husband was happy. And then I had kids!
Trying to keep tabs on everyone’s happiness meters wore me out, and there was never time or energy for me to develop my own sense of happiness. What a wreck!
Since then I’ve learned some very important things.
- My emotions are my job; yours are yours. I love contributing to other people’s lives and helping them be happy, but the ultimate responsibility for our emotional health lies within each of us. Happiness is an inside job, meaning it comes from within and I’m the one who’s in charge of my emotional health.
- Hinging my happiness on others doesn’t work for anyone. When I take care of myself and practice daily happiness habits, I am able to provide help to others much more effectively.
- There are TONS of things I can do to care for myself emotionally. Some things cost lots of money and lots of time. Some things cost very little, maybe just some of my time and focused energy. Results vary, so pay attention to the results as you experiment.
To your health and happiness,