This is my first time doing this. I am very specific and very intentional when it comes to the content that I share here. I stumbled over and read this article in my email archives the other day from a fellow blogger that I subscribed to a little while back over the summer and found such value in it and what she has shared that I feel the need to share with you! Eat and enjoy 😉

monday #25: happiness.

I wasn’t happy.

You wouldn’t have been able to tell. That’s the funny thing about how we really feel– it doesn’t trickle onto the internet all that often. Instagram wouldn’t have given you any hints. No slew of 140-characters would have revealed it.

Still, I sat across from one of my best friends in a Starbucks that holds too many of my own memories– the table between us covered in papers and notebooks and planners and computers– and I told her honestly, “I’m not happy.”

“This isn’t the life I want to be living,” I admitted. “I don’t want to be the girl who just holds it all together on the surface but is someone completely different when you actually sit down to get honest with her.”

It was 9 months ago. Nothing in the folds of my life was a recipe for anything short of contentment. I would have said I stepped into everything that was supposed to make me happy– 2 books deals, a calendar packed full with speaking engagements, a Passbook full of tickets to states I’d never been to and cities I once dreamed of standing inside of. Don’t misread me– I was very grateful. I was thankful. But I wasn’t happy.

The honeymoon stage of each accomplishment was over. Now, all that was left was work and exhaustion. There existed no balance. I knew no rest. I was walking into the most transformational period of my life and I wanted more, mainly because I didn’t know how to take care of what I had. I was so afraid that someone would get too close to me and find the words to say, “You? You don’t deserve a bit of this.”

And my reason for thinking that could happen? Simple. I was unable to stand before myself in the mirror and actually convince myself that I did, indeed, deserve a bit of what blessings had come my way in the last few months. That hurts more than most things– giving yourself conditional self-worth. Thinking you’re only worthy when you’re perfect.

Happiness is a strange sort of thing because we look for it more than most things. We go on hunts for it. We go on journeys for it. We have pursuits for that happiness. Some build their entire lives on just the hope that they will stumble into this one thing. This one word.

I’ve always liked the way Liz Gilbert writes about happiness in her memoir, the one I’ve scribbled and stitched notes inside of for nearly a decade: “We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already.”

I’ve always liked that. From the second I first read it, I knew that I liked it more than most quotes on happiness. Because it makes me believe that it isn’t about searching. None of it is about finding something. It’s about taking inventory of what you already have and counting all of that inventory as gold. The good. The bad. The ugly. The fights. The thriving. The striving. The love. The hope. The shreds of faith you carry. I like the idea of happiness being the sum of all those things– gathering them all together and finally being content enough to say, “You will do. You will do.”

I just remember calling one of my friends to talk it out. He’s one of those people who just seems to carry infinite sorts of wisdom by the fistfuls. And he told me, in the most loving way that he could, that I could not go on living the way I was living. He watched it from a distance. He waited for the moment when it was right to tell me: You will drive yourself into the ground if you actually think this stuff will fill you.

I needed to find balance. I needed to find rest. I needed to find all the things you cannot actually buy from a store, the type of wisdom you won’t get from a book. I needed to learn how to put myself before the great things I was doing through work, or a book, or a brand. It had to be a willingness to wake up every single morning and say to myself, “You, first. I am going to focus and fix on you first.”

You. You. You. Because you don’t serve the world when you’re exhausted. And you don’t serve the world when you never find the time to feed yourself. And you’re like an empty saucepan on the day you think you can show up for everyone you stumble across and be some sort of something to them. People need a better version of you. People need the version that comes when you take the energy to step back, breathe, and remember that you are human. You are one person. You crumble, just like the rest of them. And you matter. You matter enough to be taken care of. So take care of yourself.

Whatever that looks like. However that needs to go down. You’re not the only one who benefits from it– the world reaps some sort of blessing when you recharge.

That was the strangest thing to walk inside of: the realization that I needed to figure out how to step back and recharge. It was this strange spot I had to reach inside of myself. The need to go there only ever came when I maxed out on being charged up by accomplishments and the affirmations of other people. It was this strange spot inside of me that suddenly spoke loud enough so I could hear it: you are not your accomplishments. You are not your gold stars. You are not worthy if, and only if, someone notices you.

It’s more than that. Something else needs to shift. Yes, something needs to shift inside of you because the world will never feed you happiness. And another person won’t give you that happiness. And enough purchases or swipes of a card won’t deliver that happiness to your door. You need to learn to walk inside of the footprints you’ve already made for yourself. You need to get back to basics. You need to be worthy enough of that rest and recharge. And perhaps, perhaps, happiness will be waiting for you there.

tying you closer than most,
hb.

Check out Hannah Brencher’s blog for more!

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