I came across this list a few days ago: 26 Ways to Take Your Life Back When You’re Broken. I haven’t considered myself to be broken in a long time, but I will admit that there have been aspects of my life that have ceased to work well. My marriage was broken for sure, and I felt tainted by that. I felt very injured. Broken? No. Were it me, I would entitle this list “26 Ways to Rebuild Your Life”. It’s worth reading just to get a sense of what a full life might look like. An example. To someone.
Number 21 caught my eye: “Let yourself be happier than you are comfortable with.” This I am very familiar with. The author of the list goes on to elaborate: “Too often, we sabotage our own happiness out of a reluctance to trust it. Rather than allowing ourselves to grow into bigger shoes, we declare our feet ‘not big enough’ and retreat. We have to start allowing ourselves to let go of guilt and self-doubt and start seizing opportunities as they arise. Even if we feel a bit out of our league along the way.”
This is undoubtedly true. I have actually heard myself saying, “Do you really think you deserve this? Who are you to think that you deserve to be happy?” Whoa. How much happiness should I have? A thimble’s worth? A cup? I have made great strides in laying a foundation for real happiness, and, yes, I am having a hard time trusting it. There are moments when I sit and wait for the other shoe to drop. “Okay, this can’t be real. Surely something terrible is going to happen now.” Well, I bought some shoes–some awesome shoes, but no shoes have been dropping. Life is just moving along. Have there been challenges? Sure. Aren’t there always? That will never change, but if you actually committed to the process of building out your own life with the intention of creating happiness and not sabotaging it in any way, what would happen? Would you actually be, dare I say it, happier?
Without knowing about this list, I can say that in the past year, I have done and continue to do twenty-one things on it. It is a great list to look at particularly during a divorce or even messy life circumstances. It gives you a sense of what could define a happy life. Goals and tasks. Starting points and points to work towards. Some are obviously easier than others, but that’s the point. Happiness doesn’t necessarily have to be hard. Sustaining it requires effort and commitment because we build it over a period of time, and the more influence we feel that we exercise over our own sense of happiness, the more we can grow and experience it. You just have to start somewhere.
So, I recommend reading this list. Pick something. I actually started my process a few years before I ended my marriage, and it was the process of rebuilding that allowed me to make that very hard decision. I started with numbers 5, 7, and 13.
What might you start with? Give it a try. See where it takes you.