Stupid question, right? Of course, you want to be happy. You were happy, until Mr. Couldn't-Keep-It-In-His-Pants ruined everything.
Now you're miserable. And hurt. And angry. And you can't even imagine a time when you'll ever feel happy again.
But ask yourself again, "Do I want to be happy?" If the answer is, truly, yes, then you've got some work to do. And beware, the answer might not be an unequivocal yes. In the post-D-Day haze, I might have thought I wanted to be happy. But my actions indicated that I wanted revenge. A pound of flesh, preferably from his "boy bits". Vindication. None of which – let's be honest – would have led to genuine happiness.
But if you're a slightly less vengeful person than I was, and happiness is top of your list, then you're going to have to let go of some of that pain and anger and bitterness that you've wrapped yourself in like a security blanket. You're going to have to look at it directly and be brutally honest about whether those emotions are actually moving you forward into a place of healing...or whether they're keeping you stuck in pain.
We can't change our emotions, as my therapist so frequently reminds me. But we can change our actions. And our actions will frequently then change our emotions.
Or, as Deepak Chopra puts it, "If you have a closet stuffed with junk, the best way to find room for new stuff is to clean the closet."
The junk, for those of you who are metaphor-challenged, is all those nasty emotions that get in the way of feeling good and believing your future is something to look forward to.
Start by making a commitment to your happiness. By saying to yourself, and anyone else who will listen, "I deserve to be happy and I'm going to take steps to make myself happy." I suspect my 12-year-old daughter says this every morning, right before she leaves her wet towel on the bathroom floor and "borrows" my jewellery.
Then start to notice where happiness already exists in your life. Spring flowers poking through the melting snow. A request for "just one more kiss" from your young child. Your mother's support during this awful time. Discovering that the infidelity diet means you can fit into your favorite jeans once again.
It might all feel a bit...forced. At least at first. Happiness can be scarce when you're so mired in pain. But this was the only path out for me. The cloud didn't lift all of a sudden. And no matter the situation – whether we'd separated or our reconciliation had been fast-tracked – the feelings would have still been there. Which is why you have to feel them...and then make room for new ones.
Happiness isn't going to invite itself in...you're gonna have to seek it out.
- Join the Club...and Share Your Story
- Share Your Story: Finding Out (This section is full.)
- Share Your Story: Feeling Stuck? (This section is full.)
- Share Your Story: Multiple Affairs?
- Share Your Story: Feeling Stuck: Part Two (This section is full.)
- Share Your Story: Feeling Stuck? Part Three
- Share Your Story: Finding Out Part Two