THIS WEEK I ASKED MY NUTRITIONIST (SOMEONE I SEE ON A BI-WEEKLY BASIS AS PART OF MY RECOVERY): HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE HAPPINESS?
For those of you who have taken part in The Original Q, you will know that this was one of the questions I asked.
I asked her because of a bigger question, one that's been rolling inside of my head: once I "conquer" my eating disordered mind, who's to say that I'll step out of here "happy".
THIS COMES ON THE HEELS OF MY GETTING INTO AN INSTAGRAM BATTLE WITH LEWIS HOWES AFTER HE POSTED THAT HE'S NEVER SEEN A NEGATIVE PERSON BECOME SUCCESSFUL. "POSITIVITY IS KEY!"
I responded with:
"I can be negative, does that mean I'm not successful?" and "without a positive there can't be a negative, and without a negative there can't be a positive", and "LIFE comes with both". It's part of the deal.
He messaged me back saying "thank you".
I said, "sorry, but I'm not sure why you're thanking me".
He said, "for the feedback. but if you are negative 100 of the time I don't know anyone with a positive life who is that way. do you?".
To which I said, "I mean that's a tough question - how does mental illness come into play then? You know, I just think it's important to let people know that there is no such thing as 100% positivity, either. They will inevitably be disappointed (if you feed them that message). And there's nothing worse than personal disappointment. But that's just my opinion".
To which he said, "I"m in no way positive all the time but when I'm negative good things don't magically happen for me either".
I ended the exchange by including the value of self-awareness and how cultivating that tool will help in all facets of life. I received a Red Heart Emoji in response and that was the end of that.
IT GOT ME THINKING. ARE WE MISSING THE POINT HERE? THAT AS MUCH AS WE MIGHT BE SEARCHING FOR "TOTALITY", THAT IT MIGHT BE AN UNREALISTIC AND ALMOST DANGEROUS GOAL TO STRIVE FOR?
I recently sat down with a friend and asked us to rate our happiness on a scale of 1-10. I'll leave her answer to us, but I decided that I was going to be a 5. That my daily goal is to be a 5. A balanced, "happy" medium. Rooted in reality. Aware of a high and aware of a low. Attaching to neither.
My Nutritionist said to me (and I paraphrase), "well, happiness is having three things: purpose, confidence and connection". I said, "okay, well what does that mean for you personally?". She answered, "my purpose is my job. My connection is my family, my kids and my husband, and my confidence is well, who I am. Me. Knowing that I'm enough."
Ah yes. That good ol' I'm enough. You know - that's an elusive one. What IS enough? And when do we know that we're neither overflowing or on empty? What's that happy medium? That 5.
I said to her, "would you say that maybe your job equaling your purpose (helping people like me) and your connection being your root and foundation (your family) is what provides you a balanced level of confidence?"
She replied, "yes, I suppose if something were to happen to my kids, my confidence and my purpose would be shot".
REALITY. AWARENESS. UNDERSTANDING THAT SOME THINGS IN LIFE ARE INEVITABLE, UNCONTROLLABLE, AND OFTENTIMES UNFAIR.
Sitting with that, we both took a minute, and in that minute, although we felt a wave of insecurity, isolation, vulnerability, and fear...SITTING, with those feelings, realizing that they ARE possible, allowed us to arrive in a space of total GRATITUDE for what we DID have, even though, the ENTIRE circle of "happiness" may not have been complete. Totality. Seemingly exciting but elusive and rarely seen. Rarely present.
So, Lewis Howes (and you, my Readers). Today I am a glorious 5. I am aware of my power to be a 1 and a 10. I do not strive for either. I am not attached to either. If I fall or if I rise, I will sit and I will feel. But I will always come back to the humming vibrancy of my content medium.
I send a 5 to you, too.