(image credit: Pixabay)
"I stopped focusing so much on how my life looked, and I dedicated myself to focusing on how my life felt."
- Shannon Kaiser, Adventures for your Soul
I read this sentence in a book and I absolutely fell in love with it. I've spent so much of the past month mourning for a life that is no longer mine. I have been so caught up in the loss of things that I keep forgetting to see what I have gained. I keep feeling sorry for myself because of how my life looks from the outside, instead of experiencing how everything feels on the inside.
I am 32 years old and currently living with my parents. When I left my home two months ago, I thought it was only going to be for a month. When it was clear that I wouldn't be returning home, I felt lost for a long time. It hurt my pride to move back in with my parents to my childhood bedroom. Instead of focusing on what that looks like to everyone around me, I should have been thankful that I had a place to go at all. I honestly don't know what else I would have done. I felt like I lost my independence, my privacy, and my own space -- all things very important to someone like me. I should have appreciated that it was bringing me closer to my family, building on relationships that I unintentionally let go a bit, and allowing us to be closer than we have ever been. I was angry and hurt that another woman is now living in my home among all of my things that I left behind. I should have been grateful that leaving everything behind removed all the clutter from my life that stressed me out daily. I felt betrayed that someone was invading a place that I called home the last six years of my life and how that must look to everyone we know because it happened so quickly after I left. I should have realized that home is not a place, but a feeling, and I will find that feeling again some day soon. I now appreciate the value of letting things go and leaving behind a place that no longer brings me happiness.
I closed my business after four years in operation and am currently looking for a job while I freelance. I spent a lot of the past few weeks feeling like a failure instead of being proud of taking a risk by running my own business. I got lost in how that failure would appear to family and friends who supported me throughout the business instead of experiencing the love and support they are still sending my way. I was stressed every single day that I made a horrible decision by leaving my career to pursue this business instead of being grateful that I was able to work for and support myself for the past four years. It enabled me to do so many things I never would have been able to do, including finding a passion for writing and publishing my first book this year. I should appreciate all that running my own business has taught me and the experience it brings to my resume and portfolio. I feel more confident in my work than I ever have before and that confidence will carry over into any job I take on.
I lost my best friend and other half who I have spent my entire adult life with. I found myself lost in heartache because he walked away from me to be with someone else. I was so focused on what everyone else would think when they found out that he chose to cut me out of his life after so long and how easy it was for him to do so. I felt rejection like I've never experienced. I should have been thankful that he was finally honest with me so that I could move on myself. Instead of getting caught up in everything that had been done to me, I should have appreciated the strength I discovered. Instead of feeling so alone, I began to realize how amazing it felt to be surrounded by loving and supportive friends and family. I have learned through all of this how to be honest with myself and confront my own feelings, but I know that he still struggles with that. It took me a while to get here, but I can now understand that he was trying to follow his heart even though he hurt me in the process. I realize that I am working toward my own happiness while he is still battling with all of the same things that have always made him unhappy. I am working to fix things in my life while he is living the same life he always has. He simply replaced me with someone else. I have learned that despite everything, I still care for and worry about him, but that I can't let that prevent me from continuing to move forward.
My life turned upside down a little over a month ago, but this journey I am on started many months before that. It took me until now to realize that the only person standing in the way of my own happiness is me. I have stopped tuning in to the shortcomings of my life. I have stopped playing the victim and started taking responsibility for the things that have happened. I realize that things don't happen to me -- they just happen -- and I get to decide how to experience and react to them. I no longer base the overall success of my life on how it looks from the view from the outside. I focus on how my life feels -- in the little moments that bring me joy -- and I embrace what comes my way. I don't want to fight things anymore. I accept what is and am learning to have faith in what will be. I'm here to enjoy the ride with each and every bump in the road. I am focusing on how my life feels and it is changing me from the inside out.
My head is up. My eyes are bright. I smile without realizing it. I am letting go of anything that brings me down and letting in anything that brings me happiness. I am ready for my own personal evolution. Watch how quickly that changes the view from the outside.