Finding Your Joy => Finding Love

Note: This morning I discovered I have 24 blog post drafts in various stages of completion. I decided to start going through them and see what was still relevant and interesting enough to me to finish and post during NaBloPoMo. This post is one I started writing in July 2011. Since then, Ms. Chick found her Mr. Right and married him. As for me, well…you’ll just have to stay tuned.

Earlier this year I met local blogger Ms. Chick. She writes some very funny posts about online dating and life in general. But she also writes about her frustration with her search for Mr. Right.

While I’m not focused on finding Mr. Right, or even Mr. Right Now, at this point in my life, I do understand the frustration. I think many women go through phases when it seems as if all their peers are hooking up, shacking up, getting married, engaged or having babies, and they are left holding the Party of One sign. I’ve been there. It’s actually part of the reason why I left SoCal:¬†everyone I knew seemed to be moving on to coupledom and I wasn’t even dating anyone. After one incredibly disastrous relationship and a couple blah ones, I was done with trying to find a good partner. I also believed that if I stayed, I would feel pressured into dating much more quickly than I was ready for, just so I wouldn’t be the odd-woman-out at gatherings with my friends and their significant others.

Spending the summer of 2010¬†in a small college town didn’t do a hell of a lot for my social life, but it definitely helped me get some perspective on who I am, what I love and what I want. The answer became clear very quickly: I am someone who loves to laugh and entertain, and who loves being laughed at (and with) and entertained by others. I love helping people connect in ways big and small. I want joy and peace of mind, body and soul.

A few months ago I asked Ms. Chick what gives her joy and what makes her laugh, really laugh from the pit of her stomach. Because it’s my belief that it’s when we focus solely on finding our joy, everything else falls into place: relationships, career, home, health. All the wrong drifts away and we’re left with all the right – including finding, dating and coupling up with Mr./Ms. Right.

It’s hard to get to that place, though. We’re all so conditioned for wrongness, whether we are feeling wrong or trying to make others feel wrong, intentionally or not. And looping on our failures can be affirming even when we claim we want things to be different. As this letter from Miss Information at Nerve.com says:

Failure sucks, and is frustrating. But really listen in: even when you’re pissed at yourself, there is often some perverse pleasure in it.

It’s emotional self-flagellation, really: we beat ourselves bloody for our failings and never quite fix them. T-Wizzle calls this “beating yourself with the Wrong Baton.” Because fixing them means honing in on key beliefs and attitudes we have about ourselves, seeing which ones are unhealthy and unhelpful and working hard to replace them with helpful, healthy beliefs.

I’m not suggesting that in order to find love, you need to become Pollyanna and drop the jaded, cynical tones. I’m saying that in those moments when the bitterness and anger is threatening to ruin your day (and maybe your life), acknowledge its presence and agree to disagree. (Yes, I’m anthropomorphizing feelings, deal with it.) Let the angry, cynical ego self be what it is and choose to do something that brings you joy.

sunset, Anna Maria Island, Florida, Gulf of Mexico, beach

What helps me find my joy.

 

Are You Happy Now?

I have a confession to make to all the people I know who recently got engaged, married, fell in love, moved in with someone, lost weight, got a new job, got a promotion, bought a house, car, or a major appliance.

I’m not happy for you. Any of you.

And the truth is, I haven’t been happy about anything good that’s happened for you for a long time.

I have tried to dredge up some happiness, though. Believe me, I have tried. The sad truth is that time and experience and my current state of mind has jaded me to the point that when I attempt to conjure up true joy for someone else’s bliss, all I hear are platitudes and shallow well-wishes coming from my lips. My brain is so full of snark and sarcasm that when I see social media posts from people about the awesomeness of their loved one, or how things are going so well in their relationship, or how much they love their new job or body or couch, I avoid saying anything in response because I know all that vitriol will ooze out of my cerebellum and into my fingers as I’m typing.

I hate that this is true. I hate that I am taking more joy in the stories when someone is miserable than when someone is actually happy and achieving their goals and dreams. Because I have not always been like this.

I can accept the fact that I have major narcissistic tendencies. I’m fully aware of my weaknesses. I’m very good at self-flagellation for any and all times when I’ve said the wrong thing, didn’t say the right thing, did or didn’t do something that would ease someone else’s suffering. I’ve worked hard at being kind and compassionate, because that doesn’t always come easily to me.

But this inability to exalt others is tough. It eats away at me. And it increases those feelings of wrongness.

I have been trying to get to the heart of why I feel this way. A line from “Desiderata” gave me some insight:

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve compared myself to others, whether it’s in terms of possessions, physical appearance, wealth, relationship status, or education. The compare/contrast tactic is ultimately a weapon of self-destruction. I’m working on being aware of when I’m doing this, and refocusing my attention on finding my happy place: a place that isn’t contingent on what I look like or how much money I make; a place where I want the best of everything for those I love. But the path to my happy place isn’t always easy to find, and even when I do find the path and actually get there, sometimes I wake up and discover I’m back in the not-so-happy place.

So if you don’t see me clicking Like on your Facebook post, or sending you congratulations, it’s because I’m still working on getting – and staying – in my happy place. And once I get there, I promise to send you a postcard.