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Self love - being happy


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Hi all, how do you truly reflect on yourself and whether you’re truly happy? I don’t mean a front I mean happy with who YOU are.

 

Ive come to realise self love is important for many aspects of life. I know it’s not possible to be happy 24/7 though it’s letting go of insecurities that we have.

how do people do this? I know the usual advice ‘take time for yourself’ ‘sit with your feelings’ ‘meditate’ ultimately you have to be happy being by yourself/alone especially before seeking a relationship.

 

I just find the concept of ‘being truly happy’ riddled with confusion and uncertainty. 
 

do people have stories about how they turned themselves around? What made them truly accept they were not happy within and change for the better and how? Accepting being vulnerable is essential in dealing with uncomfortable situations

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I personally do it by avoiding the temptation to indulge in self-absorption with one exception which I'll explain. But first - I mean I give to others, I listen to others (really listen) - through this I don't have to think about "truly happy" - I am living, doing, breathing, giving (to friends, through volunteer work, through small kindnesses and big ones). 

I personally don't reach this through "sitting with myself" or meditating.  I do do 4-7-8 breathing when I'm having difficulty sleeping and every single day I say a short prayer and think of 3 things I am grateful for and/or 3 good things that happened that day.  Sometimes it's my family, sometimes it's avocado.  My son does this too nightly - we do it together, I do it silently later in the evening.

I also am honest with myself.  For example, I never told myself I was truly happy being without a husband and without the opportunity to have a child, I try never to tell myself I "should" be "happy" with what seems to make others happy.  I don't want a spa day, I don't want a massage, I don't want to be able to sleep in, I don't want a glass of wine or a cocktail, I don't want to do extreme sports or extreme fitness. 

I was happy on my own -and I knew I wouldn't be truly happy without marriage and family.  I didn't take long breaks in between relationships and it wasn't always a mistake.  Sometimes it was.  I wasn't alone when I was not in a relationship. I had friends, relatives, etc.  Again it might work for someone else to focus on "I have to be happy being on my own".  For me it was "I can't be desperate for a partner or else I will settle".  

So here's the self-absorption exception.  I was not truly happy last night or this morning.  I've been feeling fairly burnt out and stressed mostly because of work but other stuff too.  Since 1982 I've been working out regularly - as little as 3 times a week but more typically 4-5 times a week and every day for about the past 10 years.  There are days like today I have to push myself hard to get outside and workout (outside since March 2020 because of covid).  I was not truly happy to do this.  I was not truly happy for the first 30 seconds. 

But I know myself.  I know that pushing myself makes me happy.  Maybe not someone else -they may be truly happy giving themselves a break from working out, or planning a spa day.  I feel fulfilled when I push myself to workout and workout with all my heart and soul and sweat.  I am never, ever going to post a selfie on social media of me working out.  I don't brag or post about it because it's not why I do it nor is it marathon-training level or anywhere near that.  But I feel truly happy when I push myself and complete my workout which is very challenging for me. 

In other parts of my life I've pushed myself really hard professionally and educationally.  I have to be careful to make sure it's not "too hard" but I am all about no pain no gain.  I keep my eye on the prize and I am type A and I'm not sorry about that. I married a type B so he keeps me honest.

I don't relate to all those social media posts to the effect that it's ok to rest, to say no to obligations, etc. Why?  Because of course that is true -that's obvious.  Balance is obvious - but I find those posts going further than that -suggesting that pushing ourselves in general is bad (especially- gasp - to move up a corporate ladder or get a promotion, etc -which is no longer part of my life but was for 15 years -no regrets!) - because it's obvious we shouldn't make ourselves ill - I don't like the suggestion of it not being worth it to push hard and challenge ourselves. 

I'm truly happy when I do that and show myself for example -yes it's 6:01 am, yes, in 17 minutes I'll be out there working out and I won't get to rest during the week until I get my son off to school an hour or so later.  I'm truly happy when I'm pounding the pavement uphill, feeling my body pushed to the limits and not feeling like I need to compare myself to another jogger or runner I might see - I'm doing me. 

So that is the self-absorbed part that makes me truly happy.  And it's great for my physical and mental health.  Trial and error to find what makes you tick but to me I'm not going to find it through the abstract "take time for yourself" and meditation is not my thing.  

Good luck and I hope this helped.  Be specific-avoid the whole pychobabble generalities of "having to be vulnerable"" -I was getting in my own way of finding a husband for example and part of it was bad luck/bad timing, etc.  So I had to face how I was getting in my own way. I was scared I'd fail at grad school.  I felt vulnerable but I did it anyway.  That's my mantra -feel the fear, do it anyway even if baby steps if the goal is worth it. 

Edited by Batya33
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2 hours ago, Rambo_Zee said:

I know the usual advice ‘take time for yourself’ ‘sit with your feelings’ ‘meditate’

Actually, that's very bad advice. It facilitates ruminating and wallowing and staying stuck.

 The first stop is to see a physician to evaluate your overall physical and mental health. 

Then ask for a referral to a qualified therapist for ongoing support.

 Mental health is not a DIY situation. In fact your untreated unaddressed depression contributed to the demise of the relationship.

 Get more involved in life. be active. Take up sports and get involved in fitness. Join some clubs, groups, take classes, get a side hustle, volunteer. Stay busy, make new friends. 

 Sitting around contemplating your navel is the same inertia that put you in this place so it's time to change things.

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I think I already talked about this here, but few years ago, there was a time where I wasnt so happy with my life too much. I had nothing going on. I was just out of big relationship, job was so-so and inconsistent. as I was in early 30s even health started detoriating(minor issues but still issues) and friend circle was becoming smaller due to people going their own way as they should so there was less time for hanging out. I was not in the right state for anything, so much so that I passed and didnt pursue a great girl because I felt "inadequate" and that I had nothing to offer there. She got knocked up and married some bogus guy 6 months later so I still kinda regret that decision. Anyway, I decided I want change. So I started to work more about everything. Took every job opportunity I could take and invest myself more so that in time become more stable and started to earn more money, started taking care of myself more(better food, more walks or training for health, even bought myself more clothes to look nice) and even surround myself with more quality friends(before my friend circle was more big but also more inconsistent as in more aquintances then close friends) who all did care about my company. So in time I did come to the right state of the mind so I can be happy with myself and trully feel that I have a lot to offer to anyone. There is still some days were I feel "down" about some stuff, but that happens. At the end of the day, that is all it matters, that you be happy with yourself. Or even as one of my more egotistical friends would said "To feel like you ae the most important thing in the world". If you arent, yes, you will need to do the work on that.

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Personally, I think it's about understanding who you actually are and figuring out what makes you specifically happy. I've noticed a lot of people who say they are unhappy are very fixated on looking at other people's lives and what they have and then feeling down for not having those things. Essentially engaging in a competition without ever stopping to ask what it is they personally want.

What do you love?

What do you enjoy doing?

What interests do you have?

What do you want to have in terms of lifestyle?

If you can't answer these questions easily or the answers are "I don't know or don't have any", then you need to start with that. Figure it out. Don't look at others and what they do, but figure out for yourself what it is YOU want and enjoy. Once you figure out what you actually want, then you can work out how to get it and the entire journey is what brings lasting satisfaction. Just keep in mind that it's not about what society wants, what your parents or partners want, what others have - it's about YOU.

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I agree with a lot above.  Everyone is different out there and never compare yourself to anyone else.

If you feel your mental health is low, then yes, speak with your doctor re: medication idea and therapy.

As well, we should figure out what we want and enjoy.

I have been single a while and am fine with that.  I hit bottom a few yrs ago & was mentally & emotionally exhausted ( how my therapist explained it).

I did not need or want to be involved anymore, as I felt I needed some serious 'down time',  as I did want my world to 'slow down'.  I was not the same person I was 20 yrs ago.

As of late, I do not do my volleyball anymore, I sustained an injury in that & it sucks 😕 .. But, I learned other hobbies, to make jams.. to crochet etc.

I try to aim for things , eg. Eventually learning to make a quilt like my grandma did.  I got myself a little dog ( my parents bred Golden retrievers and they are nice, but I always liked smaller dogs).  In time, I did it 🙂 .

Since getting my little guy I do often walk more.  So, that was a positive change, as movement is necessary for health.

Speaking of working on health, I have slowly changed my diet & eating habbits.  Rarely do I have sweets & greatly reduced my sugar intake.  More salads, fruit, vegies ( salads) and healthy fats. In order to work on my system and body challenges.

It all takes time.. I did all of these things gradually.  Having to work on accepting such changes and those necessary.

So, nowadays, I get up, let pooch out & feed him, make my coffee, turn on tv to watch my shows and get myself going ( routine is also helpful for some- including bedtime, same time every night).

As for friends, my circle is small I have a few around my area I see on occasion. ( Less expectations the better for me, since I hit my exhaustion level). Also, what helps is removing the 'toxic' people from our lives.  I've had to do this on a few occasions.  Realizing those that pushed me too much mentally, etc.

In the end, yes, I've had to lay back more & focus on myself- to avoid too many challenges. I take it all at my own speed and just got to know myself better.

I guess this is my form of 'self love'.  I have learned what I can & cannot handle.  ( some people have a streneous life to work & back, kids.. sports etc)- their choice.

 

In the end, is maybe that necessity to find that 'even balance' on what makes us work. Yes, life will always throw us a curve ball and we need to tend to it. ( some by choice, some expected). But, we also need to focus on ourselves.

Be who you are and do some things that make YOU feel good. ( mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually) ❤️ 

 

 

 

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I think you have some good thoughts here to consider.  As others have mentioned, it means different things to different people.  Self love, being happy, etc it's all subjective.  And I think it takes a lot of soul searching and making choices that support the person you are or are trying to be.  Which is very abstract and depends on your own circumstances.

I think I am a pretty happy person.  But I don't have it all together in life.  I think what makes me happy in general is that even when something bad happens or "could" happen, I trust myself to get through it. 

Keep hope alive.  

Some people could look at my life and say it's crap.  And that's their opinion. At some point, I just decided my life is good enough for me.  And I work towards the things that are important to me.  I try to make good choices.  

For example, if you want to be healthy.  You have to make healthy choices.  Healthy choices in every area-- from what you consume: food, water, music, reading materials, television, social media, the people around you.  To how you spend your time, how much sleep you get, your thoughts....

But things can still go wrong.  It's how you cope with the things that go wrong, too.  If I do everything I can to be healthy but get sick or hit by car or whatever, it's still on me to deal with it and get back on track.

My philosophy for my own life is to choose happiness.  Yes, bad stuff can happen.  but good stuff can happen, too.  Maybe I was born with a brighter outlook.  That doesn't mean when something bad happens, I refuse to let it get me down.  I can feel down at times and yet I am still happy in life.  

I think love of oneself and life is  just like bathing.  If you want it to last, you have to do it daily.  You have to put in the work.  That means making good choices, being true to those choices, even when they're hard.  That builds confidence and that confidence in yourself helps you when things get hard.  

It's like dieting or working out-- a little cheat here and there is no big deal.  It's consistency that matters.  You get up.  You show up.  You do your best.  Everyday.  You commit to taking care of yourself and doing the right things not always the easy things.  

Edited by Lambert
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3 hours ago, Lambert said:

My philosophy for my own life is to choose happiness.  Yes, bad stuff can happen.  but good stuff can happen, too.  Maybe I was born with a brighter outlook.  That doesn't mean when something bad happens, I refuse to let it get me down.  I can feel down at times and yet I am still happy in life.  

This. Happiness, I find, is a choice. I may not always feel joyful but, as Lambert mentioned, still be happy in life. I choose to smile, even when circumstances around me are dire.

Lambert said it brilliantly:

3 hours ago, Lambert said:

It's like dieting or working out-- a little cheat here and there is no big deal.  It's consistency that matters.  You get up.  You show up.  You do your best.  Everyday.  You commit to taking care of yourself and doing the right things not always the easy things. 

 

9 hours ago, Rambo_Zee said:

do people have stories about how they turned themselves around? What made them truly accept they were not happy within and change for the better and how? Accepting being vulnerable is essential in dealing with uncomfortable situations

My story is an ongoing one - life doesn't have a pause button - , where one day I learnt to accept that I'm a constant work in progress and took it from there. I can assure you that right now I'm facing stuff that you could write an almost harrowing blockbuster about. My decision is to keep smiling whilst I work on what I can control and let go of what I can't. Am I always upbeat and cheery? No, I'm only human. Still, despite rubbish hitting the fan, my choice is to keep on smiling.

So, how do I go about it in practical terms? I make it a point to 'nourish' myself with positivity, anything that brings joy and enriches my life, like watching positive movies, engaging with good friends and activities that are relaxing. I also find things to smile about. For example, the sun is shining, a bird is chirping, reading a really good book, enjoying a cup of coffee, etc.

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As others have stated, this is a highly subjective topic and since everyone is different has different values, then you will have a plethora of answers. All I can offer is mine. My advice is to keep an open mind, read everyone's, and think about it. What approach really resonates with you? 

For me, I have been feeling happier as a whole for the past 2 years and I chalk this up to some good choices I made. Namely, I decided I needed to make my relationship with my family healthier, follow MY instinct on what to do with my career, stop listening to my parents so much, and just live my life for me. It's going well. I gave up traditional dating too and I gave up some friends. I gave myself permission to live my life as I want to live it and with some exceptions, have done my best to untie my self worth from others' thoughts about me.

It's been very liberating. I wish I could tell you how to get here but I don't think it's possible. It's a path we all must find ourselves, in our own way. 

As one of my favorite writers once wrote (translated): "Life mostly consists of struggles in the dark." We are all trying to find our way through this existence and no one has all the answers. Find what works for you and run with it. 

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9 hours ago, Fudgie said:

As others have stated, this is a highly subjective topic and since everyone is different has different values, then you will have a plethora of answers. All I can offer is mine. My advice is to keep an open mind, read everyone's, and think about it. What approach really resonates with you? 

For me, I have been feeling happier as a whole for the past 2 years and I chalk this up to some good choices I made. Namely, I decided I needed to make my relationship with my family healthier, follow MY instinct on what to do with my career, stop listening to my parents so much, and just live my life for me. It's going well. I gave up traditional dating too and I gave up some friends. I gave myself permission to live my life as I want to live it and with some exceptions, have done my best to untie my self worth from others' thoughts about me.

It's been very liberating. I wish I could tell you how to get here but I don't think it's possible. It's a path we all must find ourselves, in our own way. 

As one of my favorite writers once wrote (translated): "Life mostly consists of struggles in the dark." We are all trying to find our way through this existence and no one has all the answers. Find what works for you and run with it. 

Do you feel getting older has anything to do with your increased happiness?  I am not sure for myself but I will say I think caring less about what others think (less .... not totally!) has triggered more freedom to be me, more happiness.

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When I learned to stop worrying about what others thought of me and what I did or said my life got a lot better.  I tried to tow the line and do all the typical things my mother thought I should do with my life even tho they didnt work for me.  I stopped trying to be what others wanted me to be and worked on being what I wanted to be.  Then I became a lot happier.  I am not interested in trying to be better than anyone, keep up with the Jones's etc.  I do what works for me!  Learn to be yourself and dont dwell on what others want or expect you to do.

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Other than gratitude and counting my daily blessings, happiness came from drawing my own conclusions due to life's experiences both good and bad. 

Due to experience, I've since learned universal human nature, what makes people tick and observed all sorts of despicable characters along the way.  I've learned how to navigate myself shrewdly due to negative experiences and always trying "to do the right thing" the wrong way.  I'm very cautious nowadays and it has paid off more than thousandfold. 

I've become very picky and choosy regarding who deserves to be in my life, enforcing boundaries with subpar people whom I can't avoid all the time and having more control for my own safety and protection.  I'm not as impulsive as I used to be.  I think long and hard before I act, write or speak.  Control in a positive sense makes me happy.  My outcomes are peaceful and copacetic which I equate with happiness. 

Books and websites teach you how to behave.  However, the true teacher of happiness and peace of mind stems from experiences which have worked for you or failed terribly.  Those are harsh lessons you'll never forget. 

As for me, happiness came from where I was in life.  I felt lost and miserable when I was a teenager and growing up in a poor, heavily indebted, domestically violent and turbulent home life.  My late father punched my mother's teeth out.  He mercifully died leaving a young widow and three children.  I went to work early as a teenager and later worked full time night shift while enrolled in college full time by day.  I was terribly unhappy back in the day.  I had financial responsibilities at a very young age. 

Several years later, I finally ascended in my career and this was the time when the real fun began.  My station in life had suddenly improved, I elevated myself socially and interacted with classier, upwardly mobile people as years went by.  I married the love of my life and have two great sons with roses and the white picket fence in an affluent suburb.  Life feels finally settled after years of toil, struggle and hardship long ago. 

I regret not having a youth and thrust into an adult world with adult responsibilities at such a tender young age.  However, I prefer to have earlier turmoil and a happily ever after instead of idyllic beginnings and a rotten adulthood as I had observed at a former classmates' reunion in my childhood hometown. 

My happiness comes from an established, settled, economically sound life in a household filled with respect and love.  It's very basic.  My happiness comes from a stable, nurturing, secure, calm and normal home life. 

Happiness came from hard work and wise choices in order to arrive at this point in my life.  No pain, no gain. 

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On 10/19/2021 at 8:49 AM, Batya33 said:

Do you feel getting older has anything to do with your increased happiness?  I am not sure for myself but I will say I think caring less about what others think (less .... not totally!) has triggered more freedom to be me, more happiness.

Yep, I think that's a big part of it for me. Not all of it, but certainly a big chunk. Getting older has sort of mellowed me out in some ways. I am much more likely to shrug my shoulders and say "okay, do what works for you and let me do what works for me". 

Years ago, I would not have gone the career route I did because my parents were not hot on it. Now I see that it works for me in so many ways and I feel happy AND I'm actually making more money per hour of work spent than my parents did for decades, and I've learned to ignore that part of me, rooted in childhood, that wants to please my parents at the expense of myself. It's an irrational urge and it doesn't serve me well. 

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