I’ve been thinking a great deal lately about how to be real(ly) happy. This, as opposed to the fleeting, sometimes manic happiness that seems to come and go depending on my mood, situations, etc. As corny as it may sound, I’ve learned to like myself a lot more lately, and also to pat myself on the back when I make progress toward a goal. Or even when I exercise patience and/or compromise on something–both things that not so very long ago were difficult for me to do without being fairly passive-aggressive. All this plays into being happy with myself and becoming more centred, but I still have much work to do. Anyway, I read the above quote and immediately had a flashback to a scene from my last relationship. We were in Walgreen’s one night and Bob wanted to buy me a toothbrush, because in his words, “You’ve been staying over so much and you should have a toothbrush at my house.” I immediately teared up because that’s just the way I rolled for those several months after sobering up. He put his arm around me and asked me why I was crying. I pulled myself together and smartly replied there was no way he was buying me a toothbrush unless he bought me a Sonicare, knowing he wouldn’t do it. I explained that having a toothbrush at his house would jinx the relationship. The relationship that was perhaps a week-old at this point. Herein is where I’m reminded of the above quote: “Sometimes people just want to be happy, even if it’s not real.”
Truth be told, I don’t know how much of that relationship was real, all these months later. I honestly don’t; the more time passes, the more it seems like we were both in bad places and were fortunate to have one another to lean on for a brief while. I do miss holding hands with someone and laying next to someone in bed; both those things make me feel safe and calm the thoughts from whirring in my head. I don’t know when I’ll be ready for a relationship again, as I’m admittedly selfish with my time and am challenged when it comes to compromising on things. When I was at the beach with my parents last week, I had to just step away as they held hands and waded in the surf, so I went and meditated on the seawall. I realize I need to be happy with myself before I can be happy with someone else. Someone buying me a toothbrush or wading with me in the surf doesn’t equate to happiness, either.
Dame Elizabeth Taylor said the following in her 1987 book Elizabeth Takes Off:
“Today I think I am happier than I have ever been. There have been other times in my life marked with joy, like the blissful years I shared with Mike [Todd] and Richard [Burton]. But this is the first time that I’ve made my own happiness. It didn’t fall into my lap because I was young or lovely or famous. Nor did it come about because I was in love with a man. This happiness wasn’t ‘bestowed’ on me: I earned it.” (page 255)
Here’s to earning happiness each and every day,