By the time I started writing this post, I had already written over 1700 words for a similar post. However, I found myself spiraling down a deep hole that I wasn’t ready to fight. I took a three-day break and decided it’s okay that I’m not ready to write about certain things. But I do have this beautiful platform to share the ups and downs of my life on, and I wasn’t okay with just giving up.
So as we all reflect on 2017, make goals for the new year, and promises to ourselves to do better, I’m reflecting on the biggest mistake I made this year:
I let other people control my happiness.
Early 2017 was the beginning of the end of my 9-5 job with the family business. We’ve all heard it before – “don’t mix business with family”. And I believe that now. The problem with this family business? The extended family members decided it was time to sell. I don’t think I accepted what was really happening until summertime, but by then, I was an emotional mess. Mentally, I was defeated. I fell victim to a deep depression and struggled with coming up for air.
For months and months, I allowed extended family members to control my happiness by making me miserable at work. They had an agenda and were willing to accomplish it no matter the consequences. Even with a smile on my face and my non-confrontational attitude, they found subtle ways to beat me (and my immediate family) down. The smallest comment would ruin my day. Their lack of respect wrecked me. Day after day, I never felt good enough. I wasn’t allowed to have an opinion, and I was expected to shut up and do as I was told. Maybe some of those family members didn’t realize what they were doing to me, but that doesn’t matter. I did and I allowed it. Coming home from work every day, I felt depleted, sad, angry, scared, and worthless. I allowed them to control my happiness and worthiness.
I pretended to take control by packing up my office and “quitting” three weeks before I was getting kicked out (the business has officially sold). The unknown has been terrifying, but taking back control of my happiness has been liberating. I know many of you might be thinking, “why didn’t you quit sooner?“. I guess that’s the struggle of being a part of a family business. There was so much more emotion and heart invested in my work. Walking away never seemed like an option to me.One thing we can control in life is how we react to things happening around us.Click To Tweet
What I Realize Now
Our happiness is controlled by us. Our worthiness should not be determined by others. One thing we can control in life is how we react to things happening around us. I realize now that even on the worst days, I didn’t have to be unhappy. I’m disappointed in myself for losing control of my own happiness. I got sucked into the belief that my job was who I am and that without a “real” job, I was nothing. I was so wrong.
Once I realized that I could create my own happiness again, despite the circumstances around me, I felt lighter. I’ve officially been without the security of my 9-5 job for just over a month, and I’m finally starting to feel whole again.
Looking back at everything now, I know I will never put my happiness and worthiness into the hands of others, ever again. But how? This is my best advice to myself (or anyone struggling):
- Recognize that happiness is created within. Acknowledge when you are not controlling your own feelings and make changes immediately.
- Surround yourself with people that respect you, love you, lift you up, believe in you, and have their own happiness.
- Let go of the toxic relationships.
- Realize it’s okay to be unhappy at times, but don’t hold onto it for too long.
- A job is not prison. Leave it when you are unhappy.
- What you “do” for a living does not define your worthiness. You are so much more than that.
- Stand up for yourself and your feelings.
- Do not disguise your feelings with temporary fixes. [In my case, drinking wine every day after work only lifted my spirits for a couple of hours. The emotions that followed made the day even worse.]
- Comparison is the thief of joy. Stay on your path and respect your own journey.
Shout out to my husband, immediate family, and closest friends. You helped me smile when I felt empty. You reminded me that this season of life would pass and I would be a stronger person from this experience. I can’t even explain how thankful I am for you all.
Life is always going to throw curve balls and test your strength. It is unpredictable and fascinating. Life is scary and beautiful. And I believe that the best way to make it through each day is with a happy heart and mind. During this season of life, I would tell myself I was pathetic for letting it get me down. I knew there were people suffering and battling much bigger problems in life. But getting mad at myself for caring so much never helped anything. I’ve learned you need to allow yourself to accept the situation, feel the emotions, and tackle them in the healthiest way.
I hope you know that if you’ve ever felt defeated, confused, heartbroken, or lost, you are not alone. Be kind to yourself.
Here’s to a much happier new year that is filled with new beginnings, strong relationships, exciting adventures, and so much more. Leave a comment below telling me what you plan on changing/improving in the new year!