If there’s anything that I’ve learned, it’s that happiness does not come in the form of other human beings or possessions. Both can leave or be taken away in a moment’s notice.
For years, I had a huge family, friends and while not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, often having to scrounge to pay off bills, I had what I needed for the most part. I thought I was happy. Of course, everyone grumbles about something or other, no matter how much we have in our lives but, in all reality, I was secure in my little world.
As the years went on, those in my life whom I had relied upon most, began dying, one by one. Some passed on at ripe old ages and were expected but, a good majority of them, left this planet at younger ages than one would hope, want or expect. That included 2, possibly 3, suicides that left those of us left behind in shock, grief and feeling guilt and regret, complicating the grieving process more. There was scarcely time to recoup from one death before another would hit until eventually, almost everyone I had that made up my secure little world, had gone, vanished to some other realm or perhaps, nothing.
Those who were left, started to become disconnected from one another for the most part. Sadly, it seemed that if we weren’t attending to our own mourning processes, we simply had nothing left in common with the few who remained. In other words, the “glue” that had held us all together, had dissolved and left us with pieces that could not be put back together again in the way that we had been accustomed.
It’s ironic how people will find things out about others that we didn’t know once the glitter and lights have been stripped away. It’s even more baffling as to what we find out about ourselves when we are left with nothing but ourselves to face. We realize how much of a distraction other people and possessions had created for us not to have to face ourselves, our vulnerabilities and our innermost thoughts, feelings, flaws, warts and all.
More key is the fact that we are forced to face our deepest fears because we are no longer having much else to concentrate on except for ourselves. We often use others and their needs as an excuse for not looking into ourselves and dealing with the troubling aspects that we might have or might not have known existed within us, let alone dealing with them. That’s when harsh, cold reality sets in.
What’s added to that is that while we were once focused on so many people or possessions that we didn’t take the time to face ourselves, we also didn’t see other people for who they were or perhaps, that side of them came out afterwards? It’s kind of like the age old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Only hindsight might tell us but even then, it may be masked because others were doing what you were doing, focusing on others and possessions.
A few things have become clearer to me as I am slowly waking up to reality.
People take care of Number One…Themselves so, you need to take care of you first too.
As selfish as that may sound, the concept is much like the idea of putting on your own oxygen mask first before helping someone else put on theirs. The idea behind that is that if you can’t function, it’s impossible for you to help anyone else. If you’re constantly running around, trying to help/fix everyone else’s problems, you’re going to wear out and will eventually burn out. If others have learned that simple concept of taking care of self first, you may find that you’re left behind the 8 ball with no help when you are at your lowest. Take care of you first, then you can help others but, be careful in how much help you give others.
Just as we can become dependent upon others for their help and security, others can become dependent upon us. We all must learn to stand on our own two feet too.
It’s always nice to have someone or several someones that we can rely upon when we truly need help. Not many of us are so totally independent that we’re not in need of other people. However, we also must remember that by relying upon others all of the time for our help or, in causing them to become reliant upon us for their lives, we run the risk of losing that help for one reason or another. Death is not the only cause. Moves, fights, illnesses, estrangements, retirements etc., can also be ways in which we lose other’s help and their security. It’s paramount that we all learn that we have power within ourselves and when we can’t do something for ourselves, there are other people in this world who can help us as well. There’s no shame in asking for help but, when we become reliant upon certain other people for our wellbeing and lives, we are letting ourselves down. We may find ourselves incapable of moving forward on our own should those people leave our lives for any reason. That includes family and friends alike as no one is a sure thing in our lives and, no one is 100% reliable or infallible.
Our happiness and security doesn’t come from others or possessions but rather, it comes from within ourselves.
Some may have learned this far earlier than I have recognized this fact. Kudos to those who have done so already. I have been learning this slowly over time and with losses of both people and possessions that I had built upon as my “happiness”.
Upon the deaths and estrangements once the “glue” was gone in other people, I have learned that reliance upon anyone other than ourselves and our own means for our happiness is bound to be a failing endeavour at some point or another. People and possessions are not permanent fixtures in our lives, even if it may seem as though they are at the current moment. People “break” as do possessions and oftentimes, they can’t be fixed nor, replaced. Relying upon them for our happiness is like relying upon thin ice to hold us up on its surface. We have to learn that happiness is within us and, other people as well as possessions are simply aids to that happiness not the crux of it.
There’s a good introduction to the topic but, there’s a lot more that I’ve learned along my travels through life that I will share in Part II. Stay tuned.