After A LOT of self-reflection, I decided a few years ago to do what it takes to make myself happy. I found myself at a point where I was putting the happiness and well-being of others before my own and it made me feel… like crap. The moment I realised that and decided to make a change marked a new chapter in my life. It sounds a bit cliche but I really was about to live life for the advancement of my own happiness.
Why happiness? I firmly believe if you’re happy, then it’s possible to find joy in everything else, no matter the situation. Let’s use a job for example. I sat down and thought about what would make me happy at work. My list ended up being a set of conditions that included points like: working independently but having a team to fall back on, a chance to move around and do new things within my role/company, and problem solving while helping others. These we just a few of the points I made, but afterwards I had to ask myself if my job was fulfilling all the things I needed to be happy at work. The reality was my job wasn’t meeting all the needs I had. I did my best to change the environment but I had to accept there was only so much I could do. I ended leaving that job for something else that actually paid less than what I was making at the time but I did not hesitate or regret my decision. This new job was meeting the points I set out for a job/work environment I needed to be happy.
There was a chain reaction effect in my life when I rejected the notion of “doing what I’m supposed to” and replaced it with doing what I wanted in order to be happy. I found myself in a position of saying ‘no’ more often and not having to make myself feel smaller. It’s amazing how much we accommodate others and quickly forget to accommodate ourselves.
Does this sound selfish? Quite possibly. But it’s like the safety demo they give on a flight… you need to put your own oxygen mask on before you can effectively help others. I believe in giving selflessly and without expectations of receiving it back. And for this reason, I think it’s important that I be happy and comfortable to give a piece of myself without feeling like I’ll be missing a part.