I’m writing to you from the first official day of your 12 Months of Happy project. Congratulations. You should be proud of the work you’ve put in, mentally and emotionally, to get you here.
I thought you’d like to remember why you embarked on this journey, why the cost of staying the same was heavier than the difficulty of change. Here’s how you’ve been feeling lately — for the last decade or so:
Every morning, you wake up tired. I’m not exaggerating: every morning. It’s been at least 8 years (9, from where you are) since you slept through the night, way back before your eldest baby was born. Her arrival is part of the reason, sure, but you were sabotaging yourself before that, staying up too late, mired in your depression. Even now, when you get to the end of the day and the end of your rope, you don’t choose sleep.
Taking care of yourself hasn’t been a priority in general. You’ve never liked your body, and you’ve often treated it with disgust and neglect. You sometimes chose foods that make you feel worse, to match what you already feel to be true about yourself: you’re gross and unlikable.
You spend your days pinioned by anxiety. It bubbles away, corrosive and paralyzing, your sympathetic nervous system constantly activated. Its low, static hum is the background music to your life. You’re easily frustrated, pushed over the edge, and the haze of nebulous fear makes you prone to lashing out at those who need you most.
You aren’t present in your own life, and you’re missing it. No wonder, when you have to battle yourself just to get through the day, but you don’t want to miss any more. Your babies aren’t babies any longer, and soon they won’t even be children. You don’t want more days to slide by without your presence, with you lost in your own head.
This may be a grim snapshot, but it’s honest. The problem is that up to now you’ve not considered yourself to be worth the effort, not deep down, not for years, not since the first time someone told you self-esteem was a sin. You’re ready to let go of that lie — that you don’t have inherent, inalienable worth — and try for happy, instead. To try for gentle and compassionate. To learn to love-is-a-verb your own self.
Even from here, I see the fruit of this paradigm shift, but I can’t wait to see what the coming year brings. Write to me, and tell me all about it.
All my love,