When I was in college, I was severely depressed. The result wasn’t pretty: a relationship with a guy that took me for granted, less than ideal grades and a lot of waffling about my future. During that time, I read a lot of self-help books, trying to figure out how to regain my happiness, or at least not be so miserable. The self-help books didn’t really help, quite frankly. Turns out that you can can’t just read your way out of depression. But it seems, after all these years, that the advice I received at the time stuck with me.
“If I’m paying for it, I’m going to order it the way I want it.” This advice actually came from aforementioned guy. He was a schmuck about it, but he wasn’t totally off-base. In simplest form, yes, I do now order my food the way I want it. I’m sure I’m the bane of fine chefs everywhere. But the deeper message is this: Ask for what you want. And I don’t mean in a pushy, make-the-other-person-feel-guilty sort of way. Sometimes you have to respect that it’s not appropriate or even kind to ask for what you want, but generally, there is no harm in just putting a wish out there in the universe. To continue the metaphor, it’s silly to eat a meal gagging on the mustard when it’s just as easy for them to leave it off.
“Never rely on a man to make you happy.” Ironically, this came from the aforementioned guy’s mother. While we were dating. Was that a sign? Most certainly. But the deeper message is this: You are responsible for your own happiness. More importantly: You are responsible for your own life and life choices. And perhaps, most importantly: No one else is responsible for you, making you happy, or making your dreams come true.
“Stop waiting around like some fairytale princess and get on with [your] life.” This gem comes from a book called The Tao of Inner Peace by Diane Dreher. As dramatic as it may sound, this book literally changed my life. I’m still feeling the impact of her interpretation of the Tao Te Ching to this day. Coincidentally, this also could refer to my relationship with a certain guy – and at one time it did – but now it has other connotations. It’s a more active version of the previous quote. The deeper meaning: Not only do you need to take responsibility for your life and your actions, you need to claim that responsibility and act on it. If you aren’t happy with something, change it. If you want something, go after it. And if someone stands in your way (or simply ignores you), go around them.
People occasionally ask me how/why I’m such a confident person. The truth is that I’m probably not as confident as I seem. But, 1) I believe that I am just as good as (if not occasionally better than) anyone else and, 2) I follow the above advice wholeheartedly. The result is that I’m not particularly tied to other people’s opinions of me and I don’t rely on other people’s approval to feel good about myself. I’m not going to bore you with how I got where I am, but I’ve just tried to turn adversity into strength.
Over the past 6 months to a year, I’ve been complaining a lot about a few things happening in the mom blog arena. I decided that it was time to quit complaining and create the blogging life I want for myself. I’ve got a few projects in the works that I’m excited about and it has been inspiring to throw all of my energy into positive things. I have no intention of being the blogging version of the fairytale princess.
This post is for my daughter, really. LadyBug, if there is one thing I want to pass on you, it is the strength to stand, confidently, on your own two feet.