Have you ever had something said to you a million times but one day it finally holds meaning? Like what was being said was just a grouping of words until- BAM- those words made sense? That happened to me last week.
I had been listening to a podcast while crossing things off my to-do list when either Rachel Hollis or Isabel Palacios explained her intentionality regarding other people’s happiness. Whoever it was, she explained how she often struggled with being happy for other people. She’d see people around her doing and having the things and life she wanted. She expressed how it made her feel and how she felt less than because she wasn’t experiencing the same blessings in her own life. She said she had to practice intentional happiness for those people around her. She explained that it wasn’t always easy to do and some days it down right sucked but eventually she saw results from it. I wondered what this practice could do in my own life so I decided to give it a try.
I’ve been in a season like this for a while now. I am not proud to say that I often feel a touch of jealousy when people around me are getting married, having babies or buying houses. I’m at that age where a lot of my friends are at that point in their lives and I sometimes feel – why not me? I understand that society and social media aren’t helping that. The “stay in your own lane” thing is harder now than ever, but in some way or another we’ve all been there. Speaking for myself, I knew I needed to handle what I was feeling. I didn’t always want to feel bitter deep down and I wanted to truly deal with what I was feeling. When I heard the advice regarding intentional happiness, I was all in.
Aside from all the social pressures, I think the #1 thing that I’ve struggled with is scarcity mindset. A scarcity mindset is feeling like there is not enough for the rest of us if “he or she” has the thing I want. We’re like a bunch of people at Target on Black Friday trying to get a Tickle Me Elmo or flat screen TV. Some people are up all night in line, some people shop online and some people don’t bother at all and are sleeping while the mass hysteria ensues. In reality- not everyone wants what you want and more often than not there is plenty to go around. My point is- there is no reason to worry that there isn’t enough for you just because someone else is happy and has what you desire.
Being faithfully happy for others is bound to get tired. I foresee having my own issues with it as more people I know end up with the things I want for my life. Engagement season is just around the corner and the cycle of life will continue. It’s definitely the hardest time of year for me. So far, something I keep reminding myself of is that – the people I am thinking of or am intentionally being happy for had probably prayed just as hard for those things as I have/am. We often see their highlight reel and think that these things must have just shown up for them but aren’t doing the same for us. That simply isn’t true. All things worth having take time. These other people have had to be patient too. So when I see friends meeting, falling in love, moving in and starting a new life with someone new- it’s ok to be happy for them. It’s ok to surround them in authentic joy because you never know when your time will come.
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s easy to say, think or day dream about what it would be like to have (whatever it is). In all honesty, it’s probable you haven’t realized the real WORK your dream requires. Relationships, houses, babies, your dream job- whatever it is, they take work, patience and dedication. I’m not saying that you aren’t ready for this thing, I am simply calling to mind the fact that it is easier to desire these things than it is to actually have them. I’ve know plenty of tired mamas, home owners and spouses. I’ve witnessed strained relationships, first time parenting struggles and first time homeowners who are honestly exhausted and ready to give up all together. It’s easy to overlook the hard times but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Try not to give weight and value to this thing as if your self worth is less without it. Too often we fail to measure up because our expectations weren’t met. Expectations is the true thief of my joy. As I’ve grown, I’ve learned to become more realistic about what is and what isn’t true in my life. It’s easy to get caught up in a day dream but when that day dream becomes a nightmare- you’ll wish you stayed grounded from the start.
Enjoy the season you are in. For me, I’m a 20 something single gal without kids. I’ve never felt fully immersed in this season of my life because I have always been hungry for something I didn’t have. Lately I’ve been trying to enjoy the opportunity I do have in front of me. It’s not easy and yes, I am still laser focused on the next seasons of my life but I am learning to enjoy them as they come. Being alone on a weekend afternoon or not having plans on a Friday night used to send my in a sadness spiral. Now- Friday nights are my self care, stay in nights and on weekends without plans- I do whatever I want to do! Being happy for other has helped me be happier in return. When my friends and family are caught up with their own blessings I get caught up in mine. For the first time in my life being single feels good and not like a death sentence. In reality- Someday I will have the things and life I desire. I won’t always get to prioritize myself. Someday I’ll be caring for someone else and hopefully a family of my own. I’ve said it before that self love and self care is not selfish and being in this season can seem that way. Enjoy and embrace what is in front of you for someday it may not be.
Prepare yourself well for the things you want. Did you know you can do that? Wait- how? Depending on what you want you can actually ready yourself ahead of time. I recently read a book on how to better prepare myself for the next relationship and hopefully, one day, the marriage that I want. That may seem a little silly but when I found out there was a tactical way to better prepare myself and a guide to help- the planner inside me jumped for joy! Kim Vollendorf wrote her book Loving Your Husband Before You Even Have One. I have taken my copy with me everywhere this summer! It’s a religious based book with practical advice to help you do the work before even meeting “your person”. She covers topics like: how to handle your finances, how to argue better, how to prepare your home and how to pray on it. I realize that not everyone lives a life centered around God so this book may not be for you. So far I’ve shared this book with many people because the teachings are just that good! If you click the book pictured above, it’ll take you directly to the Amazon page to purchase.
Being happy for others is easier said than done but I’m telling you- it feels so good. To be genuinely, wholeheartedly happy for someone other than yourself takes work, patience and daily practice. Key things to remember: your worth is not tied to their happiness, their happiness does not rob you of your own happiness and enjoy the season you are in. My friend, it won’t be easy and some days you’ll feel green with envy but just remember that your day WILL come… and when it shows up, I can’t wait to celebrate with you!
Until next time,