When I posted on my Instagram on Monday that I would be blogging about the lessons this summer season has shined upon me, I had zero clue what I was going to write. Work and the logistics of life have been eating up most of my spare time, so putting much thought into blogging has been pretty much off the table.
So, over the last few days, I`ve been mulling it over, pondering… What DID I learn this summer?
The first notions to hatch in my thoughts were frothy, unimportant lessons like:
- I finally realized that I probably didnt need to buy ALL the groceries in Superstore, as I typically proceed to eat out 60% of the time, letting all the food go to waste;
- I shouldn’t do laundry at night because 100% of the time I fall asleep and let the clothes sit wet in the wash and end up smelly, thus requiring me to rewash them anyways; and
- I really need to eat before I drink.
But then, this morning, it finally came to me. This summer, I finally grasped that no one is responsible for my happiness, but me.
If that statement is less-than-overwhelming to you, and you just rolled your eyes and mumbled, “Ya, Morgan, obviously,” under your breath, than feel free to stop reading. But for me, this realization was profound.
I have always let my emotions, my actions and my reactions be a direct correlation of those who I have surrounded myself with.
If a girlfriend had talked about me negatively behind my back, I would be obsessed with finding out why.
If a co-worker seemed “off” toward me, I would frantically comb over our previous interactions in my mind, trying to figure out if I had done something wrong, something to make that person become upset with me.
And if a boyfriend acted out of line from my expectations? Oooohhh lawd, watch out. Nevermind that these were self-constructed expectations, based on nothing I had discussed with him. Veer off, and face the wrath.
My emotions were like a ping pong ball, constantly travelling from one end to the other, batted around by those around me. I had zero control over how I felt, or would feel, because of course, you can’t accurately predict how the people in your life are going to behave.
My first indication that this path was perhaps just a bit too rocky and unredicatable for me was two years ago, when my fiance and I broke up. I was constantly looking to him to fix some pieces inside of me that were cracked. When he couldnt sucessfuly do that, my dissapointment overode the love that I had for him, slowly corroding what was, and could have been, a completely happy, healthy and loving relationship.
I painted over our breakup with vapid, trite one-liners; “I just wasn’t ready,” “We just weren’t right for each other,” and “I can’t image being with one person forever!” In truth, I was more lost than ever, and it would get worse, before it got better.
Following that breakup, I dove headfirst into a new relationship – anything to soothe the pain of my hurting, bewildered heart.
Do you see the theme yet?
I leaned heavily on my new boyfriend for happiness. Every mis-step he took seemed exponentially more significant, every step I needed him to take to “make me happy” that he missed seemed detrimental. I can’t imagine the pressure he felt, holding my delicate feelings in his hands, given the sole responsibility for keeping the smile on my face.
I have always wondered: why am I NEVER satisfied? Why am I constantly searching for something bigger, better, always with one foot in, the other poised to leap as soon as something shiny catches my attention. What I didn’t understand was that I was never content with what I had, because my happiness was based on external factors. Getting happy within myself has allowed me to feel at peace with what I DO have.
As you can imagine, that relationship was less than great. We dragged it out for months, and in the end, all that was left was tatters of what was. During those months, I was a shell. If you know me, you know I am almost always happy, always positive, always smiling, but during that time, I found my smile slipping. This time, however, was different. My boyfriend wasn’t making me happy, but I was fed up with being miserable. I started focusing on identifying what DID bring me joy, and implementing those things into my life again. Like a muscle, with steady, consistent work on looking into myself for contentment, my resilience grew. And in the months that I stubbornly held on to a broken relationship, I slowly began to see my happiness start to sprout from new seeds.
Seeds of self-worth – Finally recognizing that I actually could be fine on my own. Things I never thought I could do on my own, I have done over the last year, each accomplishment acting as another badge on my sash of adulthood.
Seeds of action – Beginning to make it a priority to do the things I love again, like writing, fashion and creating.
Seeds of friendship – Spending more quality time with my girlfriends, quickly becoming reminded that the more time I spent with them was a direct correlation to the increase in the amount of laughter in my life.
Seeds of family – The notion that they are the ones who are always there, the ones who love me most and will always stand by me.
Seeds of recognition – That there is so much good in my life, I just need to believe in it, recognize it.
Seeds of knowledge – That I need to take control of my own life, and stop letting others dictate where my path is going to lead me.
This summer (really, the passed 8 months), I have finally kicked the crutch out. No more leaning on others for my own contentment. It is so freeing to finally understand that it is so much easier to just give it to myself.
I have all the power in my own hands, I just needed to harness it. And this season, I finally did.
Is all of the above just a walk in the park for me now? Of course not. I still find myself oftentimes easily rattled and quick to a reaction. But, acknowledgement is the first step, and this girl is a constant work in progress. A stumble in the form of an quick emotional meltdown on a Tuesday afternoon? I can handle it now.