"How To Be Happy Forever."
That's a big claim. But I can back up every word. The real reason for the change in title isn't because happiness is an impossible task--being happy "forever" is totally attainable. You just have to put those self-sabotaging tendencies aside.
Easier said than done....
Self-sabotage derives from mental illness--that's a hard fact to recognize for those of us who are experts at hurting ourselves. And, yes, that includes me, too. People who regularly self-sabotage have likely suffered abuse or trauma, usually during childhood; this leads to future issues with things like addiction, maintaining intimacy/love relationships, and, reaching your full potential. You see, we often don't feel worthy of happiness (or love and success) because, at some point in our lives, we were taught that we were "problems," so did not (and do not) deserve happiness. Overcoming self-sabotage is therefore a life-long process. Every day is a new day full of new challenges; healing requires patience, one day at a time. Becoming self-aware (or increasing your mindfulness) is a crucial first step.
Self-sabotage is a destroyer. When you self-sabotage, you become a destroyer, too. But I want better for you. Whoever you are. Wherever you live. And, whatever you believe in. The only thing that matters to me is that you are alive. As long as you are alive, you have the chance to live your best life.
Let's take that chance...together:
The smile you see in my pic is there after surviving high-grade brain cancer multiple times in the last 28 years. Yes, you'd be right to assume that 28 years means the majority of my lifetime. Survival came at a very high price, too. Very high. I'm constantly being treated for health issues related to long-term survival, including more cancer...yet, I'm still smiling!
No, I'm not delusional. I'm not in denial either. I'm just happy. On the inside. On the outside. Everywhere. Yes, I still cry. And yes, I can still get depressed--especially when someone creates unnecessary resistance or obstacles (aka drama). After all I've lived through, I lack patience for those who don't appreciate people more than problems. But, no matter what happens, my sense of being happy within myself is never diminished. And, I've lost pretty much everything a person can lose, except my life. I even lost a child...it was far worse than cancer. So much worse. My biggest tool in maintaining my happiness-factor throughout it all is consistency. Sounds too simple, right? The best solutions usually are.
Let me explain:
Consistency isn't about doing the same things over and over again. Consistency is about understanding that YOU are the only person who has authority over your life. People can treat you like utter garbage, but if you are consistent, you'll know for yourself that how people treat you is not a reflection of who you are--it's a reflection of who they are! How you treat others is the best reflection of you as an individual. And, if you are consistent, you, and your integrity, will be beyond reproach.
Of course, there will always be the miserable sods who question you and your integrity regardless of evidence to the contrary. But if you have been consistent in your behavior towards others, any and all questions about who you are will have answers. Good ones, too. So, while aggravating that anyone would even dare question who you are in the face of the many good works you've accomplished, you don't have to worry. The truth is the truth.
When you are consistent, lies cannot hide who you are because you're YOU 100% of the time.
Last summer, something (and someone) completely unexpected happened. At first, it was happy. Then, it wasn't. I found myself utterly confused by the situation. It was like a switch had been flipped without my consent--as if there was a glitch in my programming. Like a computer virus. I did not feel like I was 100% in control. Because, I wasn't. When that happens, it means a trauma (probably suffered in early life) has been triggered. I research, study, write, and speak about mental health so I'm more aware of the red flags, but even with my deep knowledge of psychology (and neuro-psychology), I was still surprised at how quickly latent insecurities manifested. By "insecurities," I mean FEAR.
When something like this happens to you, don't go down the rabbit hole of fear. Fear is based in self-loathing. Think back to who you consistently are--as a human being. Is your natural compulsion to help others? Do you do that on a regular basis??? Remember that! Remember the family you have loved and treated well for decades, regardless of how those people have treated you. Remember the professional colleagues you cheered on for 10+ years, whether or not those same individuals ever returned the favor. Remember the neighbors you bake for countless times. Remember the charitable work you do for children and animals. Remember the kindness you've shown to senior members of our population. Remember who you are, and, no matter what triggers pop up, you'll always find your way back to your happy place.
Confidence comes from consistency. When people question your choices, if you are consistent, you can not only trust yourself, you can get others to trust you, too. Consistency builds trust and develops bonds that withstand the test of time. If you come from a family where there was always derision, it inevitably leads to division. Estranged parents lead to estranged siblings. It's not rocket science. Derision itself derives from a defensive nature. We are only defensive when we are wrong. And, we are only wrong when we are inconsistent.
By the way, defending yourself when you're wronged is not the same as being defensive. When you're defensive, you're offensive toward others. You attack without provocation. You blame-shift. You harangue. You obsess. You hold others emotional hostage by threatening INCONSISTENCY--that's what discarding a person really is. Disappearing from someone's life ONLY happens when the supposedly "offended" party chooses to be inconsistent.
Choosing anger over healing in love relationships or family relationships is the surfacing of latent resentment and/or jealousy. It's the same with friendships as well. Toxic individuals will pick fights with you as a means to justify their separation and eventual disappearance. When that happens, let them go. Even if it's your own brother. You're better off without the drama the insecure messes of this world attempt to burden you with. If you are a consistent person--meaning, a person who is loyal, supportive, kind, and compassionate--find others like you in order to live your best life. Everyone else is just a future abuser--people who will want to hurt you because, in fact, you are happy.
Think of it like Windows versus iOS--both high-functioning, successful programs but COMPLETELY DIFFERENT operating systems. One is reactive--the other, proactive. Being proactive is the only way to maintain consistency. When you're proactive, you're not waiting to react to the whims of others--you actively take responsibility for your own life. That kind of confidence is the most attractive quality any human being can possess. You can certainly make a mistake. But when you do, you own up to it. You apologize. You don't drip justifications from your bubbling, whiny lips like a toddler without a binky. You also have the guts to tell someone you love them and want them--even if the timing is less than convenient. You can speak up in a crowd, too. Stand up to bullies. Help people when they need it. There's no end to the miracles you can manifest simply by being a consistent person.
Being consistent (or proactive) in a world that rewards duplicity (or, inconsistency) is not easy. But it is still ethically correct. When you have been there for others, no matter what, and they walk away from you--that is NOT your problem. Nor do their problems derive from you. Their inconsistency is because they do not trust themselves. They lack confidence, which manifests as insecurity--or, FEAR from self-loathing.
You can only be consistent with yourself and others when you first give yourself unconditional love.
Confident children are children who feel loved. If no one is making you feel loved, love yourself! You matter!!! Stop pretending you don't. Stop believing other people's opinions about who you are or what you should be. You are you. Be you. Do you. As long as you're consistent, who you are is beyond reproach. Don't be a consistent asshole. That's not what I mean when I say, "Be consistent." I mean, be consistently kind. Be consistently compassionate. Be consistently positive. It's okay to withdraw once in a while--I do it all the time. Smart, successful people know how to say, "no," without burning bridges or hurting others.
Happiness in love comes from consistent nurturing, support and, yes, sex; when any of those three components are inconsistent, there is a lie somewhere in the relationship. You only stay in a relationship that isn't fully satisfying because you need your ego (and other parts...) stroked. Maybe it's a point of pride--you feel obligated because your partner has helped you in some way. Perhaps it's financial, too. Whatever the underlying reason(s), if you are trying to talk to any other woman or man while fully engaged in a love relationship, you're not happy. You're not in love either. And, you're certainly not being honest! It is impossible to be consistent--to say what you mean and back up your words with positive action--if you are lying to yourself and others. Something to think about for all the people who "love" their partners when all that really means is that you're waiting for something better to come along. Probably someone better--which typically hinges on the new person's earning power and/or social status.
We only settle in love (and life) when we don't trust ourselves to make good choices. We don't trust ourselves because we lack confidence. Consistency can change all that for the better.
Start by being honest...with yourself. Happiness is not the same as comfort and familiarity. Happiness in love is feeling like you can say and/or do anything when it comes to sex, and your partner will not judge you. Happiness in love is knowing you have a person who truly believes in you and your ability to be the best version of yourself--not a pseudo-mommy/daddy figure who soothes the injuries you get from the world, or who spoon-feeds you the things you want to hear. Happiness in love is feeling safe, not sorry. Happiness in love is having all kinds of crazy sex with your partner because you love them and they love you and things just happen naturally. As if you can read each other's minds. Like your parts were made to fit perfectly together. That doesn't mean everything else is perfect. But, if you are consistent, and you've chosen a partner who shows that same level of consistency, your relationship will survive anything. Together, you'll actually thrive as fit, healthy, productive, compassionate, and kind people. It's "the dream"...now go live it!
Every day you spend with a person you don't fully love is another day where you lose part of yourself. You lose confidence, too. When a relationship is healthy, you gain confidence--not the other way around. With real love, you're not together because you feel obligated or have some sick codependency--you're together because you WANT to be. It's a choice. One you make every single day because being with a person you truly love makes you better than you are without them.
Be honest with yourself and you can be honest with others, Be kind to yourself, and you can be kind to others. Be compassionate with yourself, and you can be compassionate with others. THAT, my friends, is the very definition of consistency, and, as such, is the path to a happy, healthy life full of many victories and increased success.
Consistency is the key to happiness in all relationships--including the relationship you have with yourself.
Remember, good enough is never enough....