Growing your own happiness- Part 2

“My grandma used to tell me the same thing. You really need to let that go.”

My friend looked at me with slight exasperation on her face and wide, brown eyes. She was right. I had been blaming my struggles with weight on events and people in my past. This conversation happened several years ago, and I am now just realizing that it is a whole lot deeper than that.

Last time I wrote a summary of how we internalize external phenomena into our state of mind. We let our experiences determine whether we are happy, sad, angry, or a host of other emotions. The key to obtaining true happiness is to reclaim the power to create it. Happiness is a conscious decision we need to make. How can we harness happiness in our own lives? We can start in three ways: boosting our self-confidence, recognizing our blessings, and… Just. Letting. Go.

Boosting self-confidence

Self-confidence is a huge issue for many women. It’s a huge issue for me. Confidence is something I battle with on a daily basis, but am working diligently to improve it. Being able to bring our confidence level to where it should be is a different journey for each person. The first part of any journey, though, is to stop beating yourself up. We all have things we don’t like about ourselves. I definitely have body image issues. Even more so after giving birth. When I start digging in on my looks or shake my head as I squeeze or push on a problem area, I immediately put my hands down, and mentally say, “Stop it.” Stop hating your body. Stop comparing yourself to models and actresses who have money at their disposal to look as society dictates is beautiful. Stop feeling like a failure for not losing the baby weight in 3 months (or 6. Or 12.) Stop berating yourself for saying the wrong thing, or feeling a certain way.

Instead, try playing a new tape in your head. You could tell yourself why your body is so strong, starting with your feet, and moving up in body parts till you get to your face. This exercise is meant to point out all of the powerful things you have done. Love those feet that invested all those volunteer hours. Love that belly that made a human being in it. Love those chubby cheeks that glow whenever your loved ones make you laugh. I’m already standing taller.

Something else that works for me is putting myself together at the very start of my day. Some foundation, mascara, and an outfit I feel powerful in is often the ticket I need to confidence city. Some might argue that focusing on your external appearance is shallow, demeaning, or counterproductive. If it is for you, then don’t do it. But I am a firm believer in putting your best foot forward in the world. When I look good, I feel good, and that is all the proof I need.

Another idea: exercise. It truly is one word and one solution. Exercise. Fitness, no matter what level, should be a part of your life. Not only is it good for your health and releasing endorphins and science stuff, but getting that blood flowing and completing a fitness session brings a sense of power and satisfaction. Ran five minutes straight for the first time? Yeah you did. Finish a half-marathon? Go girl. Celebrate every accomplishment.

Recognize your blessings

In today’s society of more, more, more it is easy to get caught up in the swirl. We begin to see our lives as empty, or not good enough, and this really starts to affect our mood. I am guilty of this. I watch Property Brothers and drool at the beautifully finished houses, then look around and feel a pang of jealousy. When I turn off the TV and look around my home again and at the people– and dogs– in it, I couldn’t be more full of joy. Our house is truly a home and it is because we share a love here. Life is a long road, and there is plenty of time for home improvement. I’m starting with gratitude for being able to have a home in the first place.

Blessings don’t have to be tangible things. They can be experiences or accomplishments, or maybe people you’ve met or people that have passed on. We are touched and blessed in so many ways in our lives, don’t let the Keeping-Up-With-The-Jones’ attitude sway you from inner peace. Write them down daily in a journal if you have to. Tell a friend all the things you are grateful for. Just recognize how blessed you really are.

Let it go

I think back to my friend and her words to me to just let it go. I think of how much time I have wasted stewing and boiling over incidences or missed chances in my life. Harsh words by bullies. Lost time not blogging. I often feel anger, guilt, resentment, or anxiety. But why?
Has anyone ever asked you, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” Ooo, I hate that phrase. Hate it real good. But it does have merit. Is spending all of this time, energy, and emotion really helping you out right now, right here, right in this moment? The answer is likely no. The answer is likely that it is eating your soul away. Tsk tsk, what a waste.

Let that shit go. It’s got to go.

To release these negative foci, I find a quiet space, and close my eyes. I turn my mind’s eye inward and take a deep breath in. In this deep breath, I visualize white, peaceful energy. As I exhale, I see the breath carrying away all of the black, negative energy that is in my body. Deep, calming breath in. Long exhale out. The negativity flows away. I am left filled with peace and positive.

Too new-agey for you? That’s cool. Try to find a method, though, that enables you to make a conceded effort of releasing all of those bad memories and feelings. Fill up that open space with positive thoughts and emotions. No matter how you accomplish it, you will feel ten times lighter and calmer at heart than you were before when you were lugging that emotional baggage around.

Happiness is personal. Happiness is a personal choice. It is a conscious decision we need to make daily, or several times a day. It might not be so easy to do the first time, but the more you practice, the easier it gets. Maybe happiness is like a muscle memory, repetition breeds strength. Go ‘head girl. Flex it.

Growing your own happiness- Part 1


When I saw this statement, it really gave me pause. I really took the time to think about it.  So often I perceive my own happiness as a byproduct of something else. Other’s actions, the weather, how the work week went, a conversation with a family member all either tilt the scale of happy to miserable, or somewhere in between.

Why do I invest so much time and energy in the interpretation of external phenomena into my own happiness and well-being? It’s a good question, and no easy answer. I think a lot of it has to do with how our societal culture raised us, or maybe just how our family influenced us (or probably both). It is right to feel how others dictate we should feel, and our happiness should hinge on our day to day activities. Is it? Should it?

You may have noticed I have fallen a bit behind in blogging. I agree, I have. I haven’t forgotten about you. Quite the opposite, I have been feeling quite guilty about it (guilt is a post for another day). As a new mom, time precious commodity and sometimes things get brushed aside. As all moms, I’m trying the best I can to find balance! Easier attempted than achieved.

Regardless, I plan to restore my balance and get back to writing. I’d like to explore more themes of self-made happiness and how we can get there. Growing your own independent happiness is a large part of how we can live a fulfilling life and a life of zen. Check back for more posts on this topic!

Some days

I’m overthinking it. I’m trying to write about being emotionally and physically stuck and I just can’t do it. There’s too many words and too many story beginnings in my head, and nothing is coming together on paper. Well, on screen I guess. Fuck I wish I had some chocolate. Or cheese. None of which I can eat on this breastfeeding elimination diet. I’m digressing again into some useless mental tailspin instead of working on this. Baby T is sleeping on my chest, and I can almost hear the minutes ticking by until he wakes up again, and I will have gotten nothing done. Some days I feel hopeless. Can I even accomplish anything as a writer, blogger, entrepreneur? My critical voice says NO. My idealist voice says HELL YAS GURL.


This is my third attempt at some semblance of a post today. Nothing is coming together. I wish this baby would nap longer. I wish I could hire someone to watch him a few hours a week so I could work on my passion projects. Oh right, I gave that option up when I quit my job to stay at home. Ironically, staying at home is a 24/7 job—I’m always on call for T. Even when my husband watches him, I’m still on call. Boobs on demand these days.

I’m acutely aware I chose this life. I wouldn’t change it, don’t get me wrong, but some days it is hard. A lot of times it is hard. I want so badly to be my own boss and independent, but instead I just traded one boss for a much shorter, fatter, balding one, and handed over my independence on a shiny, milk-filled platter.

Every day is different. Today I am proud to have showered, gone to new mom’s group, had lunch with a friend, and write. An immense success. I remind myself that small steps are better than no steps. A little step forward is still forward momentum, even though some days T’s poop shoots faster than my ideas do. I think about my big business dreams, and all the steps it’s going to take to get there. It’s overwhelming. I have no idea how the hell these moms do it—they run a successful business venture and a successful household. At least that’s how it looks on the outside.

Some days I feel like quitting. Maybe it was stupid to think that I could start my own business with a newborn. I think about why I even started this blog. I often felt alone during pregnancy, and I wanted to make sure no pregnant woman or new mom ever feels that way. Motherhood can be hard. It can suck. I always hear how worth it it is, but no one told me how hard things can get.

I keep writing. If other women do it, I can, too. I need to remember that some days, just getting through the day keeping the baby fed and happy is a successful day. Other days can be for working, submitting posts, and blogging. I put too much pressure on myself, but it’s hard not to when other moms seem to always have their shit together. I feel inadequate, not good enough, failing. Other moms tell me they feel the same thing; at least I’m not alone. I keep it up. I keep being the mom my son needs me to be. Some days, the most important thing I can do is share my story. Someday, I hope it will help you, too.

The [baby] honeymoon is over.

He’s 15 weeks. That’s 3.5 months, roughly. That’s 105 days. I’m not really sure how the time went so fast. I spent the first three months in sleep-deprived bliss. Running on fumes, I had never felt so happy. Complete. Invincible. I didn’t need sleep. New moms never do. Holding that precious bundle, inhaling the newborn smell; the world is perfect. I quit my job, sure that nothing could be a better career. I was never bored; every moment spent with my son the most fulfilling one yet. I couldn’t understand moms that got stir crazy or unhappy being home—I was in total bliss. It took 105 days for that to change. The reality of my new life had sunk in.


Now I’m tired. I spend my days hoping that my baby will soon sleep a perfect six hours in a row. I’m willing to sacrifice my mammary ducts for a good night’s sleep. It’s funny what is considered a “full” night. It used to be 10+ hours; now I’m thrilled for five.

Now I’m bored. Old enough to be cognizant of his world yet not old enough to hold up his head and occupy himself, I spend a lot of time holding my little man and trying to occupy us both with simple picture books and rattles. Going to the grocery store alone is my big day out (even though I am bound by his breastfeeding schedule).

Now I’m frustrated. I’m anxious. I want to be able to be the perfect stay at home mom and start my own business. The sink is full. The couches and chairs in my living room have turned into an impromptu laundry mat. I don’t have enough time to write, blog, and grow my brand. I don’t have enough time for my husband. I don’t have enough time for myself.

Now I’m questioning myself. Did I really up and quit my career? I walked out of that building with a “quit dis bitch” attitude and never felt better. Now I’m not so sure. Being a stay at home mom seems a lot harder than going to work ever was. It’s like being on call 24/7, except the pager is never turned off. There are no weekends or days off.

Now I’m lost in motherhood. I’ve let it completely consume me. Everything about my life is about being mama. I don’t recognize myself anymore. Not just the dark circles and belly pooch, but my priorities. Everything is different. Last week Baby T experienced his first cold. I experienced utter exhaustion. It was like that game at the fair where you hit the target with the big funny hammer as hard as you can to try to ring that bell at the top. I was 99% of the way to getting my bell rung. There was nothing funny about it.

Now I look at my son. It’s finally a new week. His eyes crinkle and a big toothless grin emerges. He shrieks in delight, waiting for me to shriek back. This is our adorable new game we play. I realize that I may have lost myself in motherhood, but I found someone better. I have found someone that is more selfless, more loving, more patient, and more kind than I thought possible. I found someone that finally puts her priorities in the right order. I found someone that I was meant to be.

Now I’m sure. I found a mother. I found my new life. And I wouldn’t change her or it for anything.