It has been awhile since I’ve offered something from my heart to you, dear readers. There are certain things which are more difficult to share than others. Certain lessons that have been learned in less than glamorous ways, when the glitter and sparkle fade and the truth begins to settle in…
The person I lie to the most is myself. A few months ago, when I was faced with the seemingly simple question, “Are you happy?” I found it difficult to answer. There are only two real options, “yes” or “no,” but I never was able to give that straightforward an answer. I found I often began with a qualifier. “I am really enjoying my new apartment in the city.” “My husband bought me flowers just because.” “I was promoted at work last month.”
Did you notice that these responses don’t actually answer the question? They are qualifiers, not answers. And this is the way in which I began to respond to the question. It seems I was trying to convince myself of my own happiness. Justifying oneself to others is a common practice, but I began to realize that I actually spent a lot of time and energy justifying myself to myself.
If you are honest, you might find the same holds true for you. Are you happy? If the first thing that comes to mind is a qualifier, why are you reaching for justification? Your response should not require a prelude. Yes or no—nothing more is needed. It is either a yes or a no.
“But, but, but” begin the excuses. Please listen up billy goat. I’m trying to share something with you and your “buts” will just get in the way. Set them aside and listen. It wasn’t until I answered this question purely, without the add-ons, that I was able to see the reality of what I had allowed my life to become. I had to cut through the denial and get to the truth—to the yes or no. I cut out the qualifiers and looked for the answer in-between all the other words.
And, no, I was not happy. In fact, I hadn’t been for awhile. But the good news is that once I finally forced myself to really answer the question, I was able to do something about it. I stopped qualifying and started figuring. Figuring out what I needed to do in order to find my happy again. And I’ve started to find it.
The lives we lead are full of deceit and denial. It is a tennis match where the volley is never-ending. Deceit is up to serve--we tell a lie; Denial returns the serve--we deny the lies, the empty feeling in the pit of our stomachs, the reality staring us in the face. We qualify. Then, Deceit returns with another lie. Neither player backs down. They are worthy adversaries. They never tire. They feed off one another.
The only way to stop this game is to take a step out in the line of fire. Answer the difficult question. It could be painful; you will probably get hurt. But it is the only way to stop the ceaseless back and forth of self-destruction. Step out. Stop the volley and start your lives. Find your happy.