Self Pity

Yesterday as I was winding down and the day was coming to an end, I was struck by a thought. How long do I intend to keep feeling sorry for myself? I finally found myself in a position of actually wanting to let go of all this pain and regret I’ve been clinging to for years now. I’ve simply started to get tired of it. For the first time in so long, I felt capable of putting down this weight I’ve been carrying.

I am so relieved that I’ve somehow found myself back in this state of mind. I had it once before, but I felt like back then it was a response to hitting rock bottom. I was faced with a choice between staying there at the bottom of the ocean with this weight around my neck, or freeing myself from it and finding my way back to the surface alone. That was the first time in my life that I can remember facing tragedy and deciding to be happy anyway. I had decided that I wasn’t going to waste anymore time being sad over things I couldn’t change or waiting for something that may never come before I would give myself permission to just enjoy my life.

Somehow I found myself dragging that same weight around once again. Somewhere along the line I picked it back up without realizing it. The story I’m writing of my life isn’t the story of Sisyphus, though. I have not been cursed. This burden is not my destiny. I still have free will and I am tired of choosing needless suffering.

Often I’ll look at my situation from an outsider’s point of view to get some perspective. Usually I cringe at how pathetic and pitiful I seem. But as I look at it now, that same pitiful nature appears simply inconsequential. I can look at it as if it’s sad I cling to something so far gone. But I can also look at it as something so distant and silly that it will be easy to release myself from it. From this perspective I feel almost like laughing at how simple it seems.

When did I allow myself to fall back into the shadow of that sad teenage girl who desperately needed someone else to make her whole, to validate her? That girl hasn’t been me for a long time now. I know who I am now. I am strong and smart and self-sufficient. I can give myself anything that I once thought I needed from someone or something outside of me.

I won’t chastise myself for all this time I’ve spent wallowing. Perhaps it was something I needed. However, the time has come for me to step back into the light, my own light. It is time for me to start enjoying myself again. I plan on making this coming spring yet another rebirth. To shed this tight, dry, winter skin and step back into the person I was meant to be. To step back into my power. The power to create my own dazzling sunshine of happiness. And for the first time in a long time, I am so excited.

Vicarious Happiness

Ever since I was young, I have had a hard time being happy for other people. I could never understand how others seemed to feel genuine joy at the success and happiness of those around them. I’ve always felt guilty that my automatic emotional reaction was the exact opposite. I don’t know why, but I always felt threatened when those around me found the happiness that I was searching for. More than anything, I felt jealousy. Even when it was someone I dearly cared for.

Not only that, but it has always been hard for me to hide those shameful feelings and feint excitement. I doubt I was ever able to fool anyone. I feared I wasn’t being a good friend. I was being selfish. I wasn’t capable of sharing in their celebration. I’ve always hated that about myself. But even though I have long recognized it, I don’t know how to change it.

I noticed myself mulling over my sister’s positive life events recently. I seem to feel even more threatened, the closer I am to that person. It is almost like deep in the recesses of my reptilian brain something is telling me that happiness is finite. That the more someone around me has, the less that will be left for me to discover. I know logically that isn’t true. Happiness, like love, is infinite.

Looking back, I have made a small amount of improvement. Now I am genuinely glad for my friends and family when good things occur in their lives. However, it is still overshadowed by self-pity ultimately.

I feel bad that I am wasting so many chances to be happy. The successes of those I love, are also my successes. They are opportunities for me to rejoice at their good fortune, the good fortune of people I care about. I want to keep reminding myself of this. Sometimes I get so swallowed up in myself that I forget that life isn’t all about me. It’s wonderful that it isn’t all about me. I think I would suffer a lot less if I learned to focus more on others. I hope that is something I am able to teach myself. Something I will get better at with practice.