My goal is to publish a self development non-fiction book in 2016. The working title is Love Lost, Life Found and is a journey of how I left a toxic relationship, learned to love myself again and find a life that I love. The book is party story & part actionable steps I took to start healing my life. I want to start sharing parts of chapters so I can get your honest feedback. Leave me a comment or send me an email through the contact form (found in the top menu). Tell me what you think about the topic and how it can be improved or what should be added. It will be hard to know how it fits into the overall picture but thank you for joining me in the editing process.
My Happiness Journey
I knew I wasn’t happy. I had just called off my wedding a month before it was supposed to occur. I had just lived for a year with pictures of a white tent lit up inside with my family and friends dancing the night away, myself in a white dress, standing beside a man that I loved. Throughout the last year of our relationship the ups and downs were so bad that I had held on to the happy pictures of our wedding hoping they would be a bandaid for our relationship that was falling apart. I was living with a significant other who was dealing with depression, abusing alcohol and I learned that he had cheated on me for the majority of our relationship. For some reason I thought a wedding could fix our deeply rooted problems. I am an intelligent woman. I like to think that I’m smart. I’m educated yet I still succeeded to succumb to a twisted view that societal pressure had put in my head. I thought getting married would fix everything. After I came to my senses and ended the relationship I knew I needed to “get happy” and fast so that I didn’t fall into a rabbit hole of self loathing and a deeper depression than I was in. I had allowed this relationship to occur in my life. My participation in the relationship was active and therefore I take blame for allowing things to happen and how I was treated. I needed to figure out what was going to simply make me happy again. I didn’t really know where to start.
My brain was telling me I needed to move on as fast as possible. To me moving on meant I needed to date again. It wasn’t the smartest thought that popped into my head but as I have learned my brain has a mind of it’s own and is going to do what it wants. In my head I kept telling myself that I had just wasted 4 years of my life with someone who was not right for me and despite me trying everything to “fix” it, we had failed as a couple. I knew that my energy was meant well so I wanted to immediately find a new loving relationship that was supportive and happy. A good thought was there but I can look back and know I was trying to replace one relationship with another. The alpha female in me was fighting to have a perfect looking life again. I started dating one month after my ex fiancée left my life. It wasn’t smart but I was going to do it anyway and it turned out to be exactly what I needed in that moment. The relationship I jumped into was flawed but started to teach me about what I wanted and needed in my life. I discovered I could have fun again. Who knew I was actually so full of fun? I discovered that I had truly put my life on hold for four years to “attempt” to make another human happy and I started to realize that I had been missing out on fun and adventure.
I learned how to have an amazing first date. My date took me out to a restaurant where you ate in the dark. He kissed me after I shared my story and I felt cared for and alive again. We went to Canada’s Wonderland for our second date and laughed until my stomach hurt! I simply felt like he was pushing me outside of my comfort zones. We had similar interests and he is the one that I can credit with inspiring me to attempt new fitness goals I never thought I was capable of. We dated briefly but he is the reason why I fell in love with adventures and with obstacle course races. So when I hear the saying “every relationship teaches you something” I know that he taught me to push my comfort zones and that I really do love fun and adventure.
During that time of dating I can say I learned that I was riddled with anxiety. Thoughts of my ex and how he had treated me invaded all my thoughts. When I didn’t receive an immediate text back I started being over run by thoughts of “Does he want to talk to me?” “Is he cheating on me?” “Is he dating other women?” It was bad. Plain and simple. I didn’t realize I could name what I had as anxiety but I had it. I was still living in the past and anxious about the future.
I had missed out on so much life. I had rushed home from work most days to spend time with my ex. If he was having a depression “episode” we would just sit on the couch and watch tv or movies. I stopped going to the gym as much to ensure I was home as often as possible so I was slowly realizing how much I had not done with my life during my years with him. I was discovering how to have fun again. During this time I started diving into self-help books. I picked up the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The book taught me how to set goals again in my life to find my happy. I created theme months so I was tackling one thing a month in the upcoming year. It taught me to dive into “my aims” – what makes me feel good, what makes me feel bad and what makes me feel right. After writing down my aims I then created My 12 Commandments. These core values I would apply to my life in the next year to keep me on track.
There were as follows:
- Be Robyn
- Stop Overanalyzing & Being Insecure
- Love Unconditionally
- Smile At Strangers
- Be Positive & Polite
- Always Remember I’m Responsible For How I Feel
- Why Do It Tomorrow When You Can Do It Today?
- Step Out Of My Comfort Zones
- Be Present
- Be The Fun
- Don’t Keep Score
- Be Specific About My Needs
And there began my happiness journey…
“Be Robyn” was a difficult one. I had been there for someone else for so long I didn’t know what about my identity was my own. I had developed a seriously unhealthy case of co-dependency. So how do you unlearn that? I looked to my personal brand for guidance. I had branded myself on my blog with two strong words that embody strength and independence but as an Alpha Female I was lost on how to embody that in myself. I was able to teach myself how to be authentic again by learning to love myself again. The concept of self love was foreign to me but I started seeing it everywhere. As I sat alone by myself in my condo with anxiety I started diving head first into self-development to learn to deal with it as fast as I could.
The definition of self love is
regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).
I knew what my personality was like at work. I knew what my personality was like in a relationship trying to please another person. But I didn’t know what my independent, fun seeking, fun loving Robyn looked like. She had been gone for a while. I needed to discover her all over again. I had changed so much in 3 years that I was having a hard time remembering what I was like. Over the years since I started my happiness journey I look back each year and am blown away at how much I change daily, weekly & monthly. I’m so very different now and I truly believe it’s due to learning to love self love, finding things that make me happy, being true to my aims, my 12 commandments and finding a life that I love.