This is what I have been reminding myself over and over again the last few days. It started with a conversation with a friend. During this conversation she stated that she felt I’d been depressed or sad for a while. That I wasn’t the playfully happy person I used to be.
I have to say, my first response was bafflement. I didn’t feel particularly depressed (and, believe me, I know what depressed feels like!). I would admit to feeling a bit sad for the last few weeks as the anniversary of my daughter’s would-have-been 11th birthday approached, but not overly sad before that.
When the conversation continued, I learned that this perceived depression and sadness was why we hadn’t spent much time together in recent months. And the bafflement shifted to hurt.
What was most painful was that I immediately started to make myself wrong and to doubt my own feelings.
See, I’m a happy person. I love my life and I am mindful to pay attention to the gifts and blessings that come into it. I feel a lot of gratitude a lot of the time. And, for the past 18 months or so, my life has also been one upheaval after another. Outer upheavals that include starting my own business, losing weight, increasing my physical activity, a change in my financial situation, relationship changes and most recently the process of moving to a new house. I’ve also experience many inner upheavals as I have worked to change my thoughts and beliefs about who I am, my work in the world, my finances, my body, my relationship with food, and much more.
So, perhaps there was some truth to what my friend said. I’m not the same person I was a couple years ago. I’m probably not happy or playful – not in the same way that I was.
I can’t be that person again. I’ve changed. I wasn’t wrong about my feelings. I am happy. I still love to play and joke around and have fun. I do it often. I laugh a lot and talk in British accents to my cat and make silly pictures in the flour I spill while making bagels. I love the direction my life is going and I love the work I get to do every day. I am absolutely clear I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I have amazing friends and family with whom I share a mutual love and adoration.
These last 18 months have also been challenging. I feel scared a lot. I feel uncertain much more than I would like. I feel insecure and unsettled and unclear. I doubt myself and my abilities at times. I sometimes feel alone and disconnected.
Sometimes, I feel all of those emotions – the good and the less-than-great – all at once. When I moved past the hurt and upset of this conversation with my friend, I realized that what she thought of me and how she perceived me was none of my business.
Because my business is how I see myself and how I feel about my life. I see myself as happy. I wouldn’t go back to who I was. These changes and upheavals are scary and uncertain and unsettling, yes, but I wouldn’t give them up for anything. I’m not completely sure how all these aspects of my life are going to unfold and that’s challenging for me. All of it, however, is part of the adventure.
It’s my business to live my adventure – ups and downs and everything in between. To be authentic to me, I have to let it be ok to feel all those feelings and live both the light and the dark of my life.
That may mean my friend might choose not to be around as I move through this upheaval-y stage of my life. It may mean she might not see the happy moments because she’s unwilling to be with me through the challenging moments. And that’s ok.
I’ll be with me. The me that is ever-changing and evolving minute-by-minute these days.
Because I like the me I’ve become. And I already adore the me I’m becoming.
The question is never “does XYZ person like or approve of me?”
It’s always “do I like and approve of myself?” Nothing else matters.
Be you. Do it your way. Mind your own business. 🙂