I want to talk to you quickly about two rights that you have as a human…
1. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO YOUR FEELINGS…
Lately I have had several people come to me with their problems that they are facing. There is always this disclaimer before they begin…”I know this is nothing compared to what you have been through!” Oh boy…now that is a phrase that makes me cringe worse than the annoying whistley “S” sound my 6th grade History teacher did when she talked. That’s a bad cringe right there, friends.
As someone who has been through some really crappy (sorry Mom…that word is applicable here) stuff and is surviving, there is some stuff I want you to know.
Pain is pain.
Fear is fear.
Hurt is hurt.
Anger is anger.
Loss is loss.
Sadness is sadness.
There is no sliding scale on feelings based on circumstance. You have the right to feel everything you feel. Your feelings are not devalued because your situation is not as extreme as someone else.
If you feel sadness, you are probably feeling it 100%. Guess what?!? That’s all I felt it too. 100%. Regardless of why I felt it, regardless of why you felt it. We have both felt it with the wholeness of our soul. So that makes us kind of the same, huh?
2. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO HAPPINESS…
Sometimes you have a bad day. Sometimes you have a bad week. Sometimes if just plain feels like you have a bad life.
No matter…you have the right to be happy. IF your CHOOSE it.
Whether you did something to cause the “bad” or if someone else influenced it, you have the right to be happy in spite of it all.
After Dan’s death, I felt guilty every time I laughed. At one point, I was sitting in the funeral home with my parents. My dad and I share the same humor and I can’t for the life of me remember what was said that was funny, but my dad and I shared a joke and laughed. I’m pretty sure my mom rolled her eyes and prayed for us, but it happened…we choose to laugh over a funeral director’s desk. I had been struggling through our divorce for so long, then struggling past his suicide; I felt I didn’t have the right to take off my divorce fighting gloves or the “widow’s black.” Unsure of the timeline, I fought back every urge to smile, tell a joke…be happy. Then one night I realized something…I still have life to live. It was my choice that night to choose how to live it. With despair? With guilt? Perhaps with happiness? Perhaps laughing in a funeral home?
I was letting my guilt and self-talk tell me that I couldn’t be happy. If I was able to choose that…couldn’t I also choose to be happy? Big head slap moment there, folks. My sadness was my own fault. My guilt was my own fault. It’s what I had chosen to feel.
Sure there are still plenty of moments that self-talk comes back and whispers in my ear. A sadness that slithers its way into my sunshine. Those moments…totally normal. I have the right to feel it, but it’s up to me on how I act on it. Yes, I miss Dan. We shared more than 12 years together. It wasn’t an every moment kind of bad. The girls still miss their Dad. Sometimes we cry about it together. Sometimes we cry alone.
The hardest self-talk was when I recently found someone. I did NOT deserve this happiness. I did NOT deserve a healthy relationship. I did NOT deserve to be cared for. My mind had a time limit on my heart. I don’t know what I thought was appropriate or why I felt that way, but I was putting a time frame on my happiness. I think had the divorce gone through, had he not died; I would have felt differently. Instead I choose to carry a “survivor’s guilt.” Then the whole “what-will-others-say” began to play in my mind. I talked to an old friend one night and confessed it all. Everything in my heart and even those secret shadows of the heart. After hours of her saying it in every way she could, I finally got the message. It’s MY life to choose, MY life to live.
Fact: He choose his death. I choose my life.
We all have that choice to make. The choice to live. Perhaps you feel as though you don’t have the right to be happy because of what has happened to you or around you. Perhaps you have even lost what happiness feels like to you. Go back to when you were happy. What were you doing? What did you enjoy? What gave you peace? What gave you hope? Now learn to embrace those things again. I didn’t say re-create, because that may not be possible. But set your mind that direction and start walking. Happiness is a journey; not the destination. You just have to walk that way.
You have the right to be happy.