A friend posted a really great quote today:
Don’t ever feel bad for making a decision about your own life that upsets other people. You are not responsible for their happiness. You’re responsible for your own happiness. Anyone who wants you to live in misery for their happiness should not be in your life to begin with.
And I needed to see that today. I’ve been going back and forth a lot recently, feeling bad for decisions I’ve made and the people that I’ve had to leave behind.
But then I realized that again, this was as a result of me putting everyone’s happiness before my own. I care too much about other people, what they think, how they feel… I’ve been doing it for years. It really is the result of going through a lot of things I’ve had to in the past, and after a while I started to believe that my own happiness didn’t matter, but only the happiness of those around me. I believed, for a long time, that if those around me were happy, eventually it would make me happy too.
It never did. And I suffered for years, trying to smile and keep up appearances while dealing with a lot of depression. I never let anyone know, not even the people closet to me, because I continued to put their happiness above mine, and I thought burdening them with my problems would take away their happiness. And most of all, I didn’t want anyone’s sympathy or pity. The last thing I wanted was for someone to rub my back and tell me it was going to be alright. I hate that shit.
My life finally came to a breaking point in early 2013, and in an attempt to find a slice of happiness, I spent my tax return on a trip to Japan. It was during that week and a half that I fell back in love with the culture and the country. The time I spent here brought me a piece of happiness, something I had really been searching for so long. I made the decision while I was still here to gather up all of my courage and apply to teach here.
The rest was a whirlwind… I got the job, I started packing, tying together the loose ends of my life. I was going on an adventure to find the happiness I had been missing for so long… too long. And while I was doing it, the support I thought I would receive didn’t exist. Instead I was met with thinly veiled anger, disappointment and selfishness from the people I thought would be my biggest support.
It was like a smack in the face, but it was at this point, that I truly understood the quote above. These were people that I had put above my own happiness for so long, people who couldn’t (or rather wouldn’t) allow me to find my happiness, if it meant impeding on their own. The cruel selfishness of people you thought were your support is really a bitter pill to swallow. I spent weeks confused, wondering if I had made the right decision. Was this the best option for me?
Of course it was. I wasn’t actually thinking if it was the best option for me. I was wondering if it was the best option for them. I fell back into old patterns, worrying and concerning myself over other people instead of myself.
I’m glad I stuck to my decision and made the move over here. There are days that are challenging and difficult, but I’ve found what I was looking. I smile more naturally now, I’m not angry all the time and I’m enjoying what I’m doing. The most important thing is that I’m happy with myself. I’m happy with all of the things that have happened thus far, and though I’ve lost some people along the way, I’ve gained others.
No one else is going to put my happiness above theirs. And now that I truly understand that, I’ve accepted the things that have happened, the things I can’t change. And I’m happy. Really happy. And I hope things stay like this for a long time to come.