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Finding Happy

While sitting in the family room one evening I heard wails emanating from another part of the house. The crying got louder and louder as my littlest love came right up to me, staring at me intently as she approached. When I asked her what was the matter, she pointed to her leg and explained that she had hurt it while playing.

I picked her up, nestled her into my lap and gently kissed the back of her head. I inspected her leg, found no injury and assured her that everything was alright. Ever the centre of attention, my littlest love then continued to cry. After a while, I asked why she was still crying.

“My happy is broken” she lamented through tears.

I used every ounce of composure that I had to stifle my laugh. I continued to hug her tightly and rubbed her leg. “Your happy is not broken,” I assured her. “You just have a little ouchie, but don’t worry, you will soon feel better. Just rest a little while.”

Later that evening, I was recounting this exchange to my husband and we both smiled at the way she had phrased her little feelings. As much as I wanted to laugh in the moment, I found myself intrigued by her choice of words.

You see, for many years, I had felt that way…in an entirely different context, of course. I had achieved success by external standards, but I didn’t feel successful. I had satisfied the expectations that I had for my life, but I didn’t feel satisfied. I had fulfilled every action plan that I had, but I didn’t feel fulfilled. I was constantly looking for an escape from compounding busyness, commitments, exhaustion and overwhelm.

My happy was broken. Or so it seemed.

I have since come to realise that my happy wasn’t broken. Rather, it was lost – buried under piles of to do lists. Hidden in the overbooked pages of my calendar. Crushed by unrealistic expectations, some self-inflicted and some inherited. When we prioritise the urgent over the important, when we sacrifice the desired for the expected, and when we choose the needs of everyone else around us before we tend to ourselves, we feel depleted. We become overburdened. We get lost in the mix.

Your happy is not broken. It may just be lost. Buried and hidden far beneath the surface that is painted with perfection and varnished with validation.

Start to remove the blankets of obligation and expectation that surround you.

Peel back the layers of busyness that prop your feelings of self worth and prevent you from allowing yourself to rest.

Sift through the messages of ‘less than’ and ‘not enough’ and lavish yourself with grace.

Tear away the distractions that rob you of mindful presence.

Dig deep within yourself until you become reacquainted with who you really are and what you really want.

Stop looking for your happy outside of you.

Your happy is where it has always been: underneath the heaviness of ‘should’.

Look for it there.

I promise, you’ll find it.

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