Sunday, October 18, 2009

are you brave enough to be really happy?

I recently had a conversation with a good friend. We haven't seen each other for a while. We were talking about the changes that our lives had gone through. We've grown - wiser, older, smarter, more beautiful and more comfortable in who we are. Mostly, we are happy. Happier.

We talked a lot about our roles as women in the world today. Our mothers, grandmother, and aunts fought the fight so we could "have everything." The problem is, we don't really want everything.

But still... we work until we can't see, and we parent competitively, and we are wives to men who are willing to step into our world and forgive us when we seem to go a little crazy... and I'm not sure we're happy.

So, what does it take to be happy?

Are you happy?

Are you honest with yourself? Do you have the courage to be honest about what you want in this life? Be really honest - to yourself, to your spouse or partner, to your children, to your family, to your co-workers, to your neighbors, to every single person in your life about what makes you happy?

What did it/does it take to make you happy?

I haven't had the courage recently to do what I need to do to make myself happy. Oh, I spend a lot of time making everyone ELSE happy - my boss LOVES my hard work, my students KNOW that I am always there for them, my husband can COUNT ON me for everything from dinner plans to unshakeable love, my children find SAFETY in my love for them, my parents trust that I will ANSWER every question quickly and with the answers that the EXPECT...

But what about me? I don't even think that I know what makes ME happy anymore. When I have 10 minutes quiet time, I am afraid to dream about those things that make me happy, because I am afraid that I am going to be disappointed.


I have a challenge. It is a challenge that I I am going to take, too.

Set your timer for 5 minutes. Take out a piece of paper and write. Write every word that describes you. Write and write and write and write.

Now. Take that same list and start to highlight - start with the ones you like - or the ones that you don't like, it doesn't matter. These are all part of you.

Here's the challenge. Whittle it down to one word. One word that describes you today. This word doesn't have to describe you tomorrow or when you were a teenager or what you'll be like as a grandparent. Just a word that describes you NOW.

Once you've got that single word, write that word on a post-it note. Now, slap that post-it note on your chest like a name badge. Do you have the courage to wear that word all day long? If you do - come back here and write about it.

What did people say? How did you tell people about that word? Were you honest? How much courage does it take to be really really happy?