You Don’t Need to Be Happy For Me… I can do that for myself.
photo courtesy of Steve Hodgson
Last week we published a post about the importance of being selfish. The jist was that we deserve to be happy and to seek personal fulfillment. I mentioned that not everyone in our lives may agree and I’d like to elaborate. Just as we, ourselves, may be rethinking a life of obligation, unfulfilling work, and strained relationships, there are those who do not see a way or a need to change this traditionally accepted view of living. Being happy can be perceived as a personal affront to some people in our lives and downright crazy to others.
You’ve decided to shake things up for yourself but, guess what? In doing so, we shake up everything. There are people in our lives who count on us to be unhappy or, at least, just so happy. What will we talk about if we’re not commiserating about our long hours, horrible bosses, chronic illnesses, or child-rearing issues? Misery does, indeed, love company. Elevating your consciousness to embrace a life of positivity and awareness of possibility also magnifies their negative focus. That doesn’t feel good. The lows feel lower. You’re no longer there to normalize their negative lens and experiences.
What do your decisions say about their life and choices? While you may not (and are probably not) intending to judge by making positive changes that suit your life and family, choosing a new way of doing things or perceiving things (and usually both) is often met with defensiveness and feelings of judgment. Why isn’t the regular way good enough for you? Are you saying you’re better than the rest of us? The way we’ve always done it is comfortable if not fulfilling and choosing something else often brings out latent insecurities in others.
For those without the awareness that it is possible, and even imperative, to make a big change in their focus and intention, your new outlook and actions based on that outlook seem entirely insane. You’ve become eccentric or a hippy or even irresponsible. If happiness is not a possibility from where that person is standing, you are doing the impossible. This often translates into countercultural actions that lead others to question your financial, medical, social, and familial responsibility (to name a few). You’ve quit your stressful, high-paying job to do something fulfilling but lower paying? Irresponsible. You’ve stopped paying for health (illness) or life (death) insurance and opted to use that money for another (and possibly more life- and health-enhancing) purpose? Irresponsible. You’ve decided to keep your kids out of school to live and learn together as a family? Irresponsible.
What do we do? Short answer? Nothing. As I said in that previous post, we are never responsible for the feelings and perceptions of others . Our decisions may jostle that person’s comfort level but we’re not here to keep others in a comfortable state of complacence. We are in charge of our own experience. A life well lived is, well, a life well lived. And that is probably the single most important thing we can give to ourselves and our children.
Making radical change in my own life, and witnessing the enormous positive, feel good results that follow, so naturally and simply allows me to flow to the next critical shift. I become more and more comfortable everyday with the authentic and simple act of listening, watching, thinking and changing. Before I know it I feel and act like a real individual and not a drone or a robot or a fearful, whining quasi-participant in my world. The better I feel, the more responsibility I take for my thoughts and actions and the less I am concerned about what anyone thinks!
What’s even greater is that I can now fully respect and honor each person’s journey out there in the real world, never feeling the need to compare myself to them or them to me, never aligning with a desire to judge… anything or anyone. My own experience, my own developing worldview, my own thoughts, desires, wishes and actions keep me busy and focused on the monstrous potential that exists in the world I create. I am free!
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