self careKarrine Steffans

Choosing Your Happiness Over All Others

self careKarrine Steffans
Choosing Your Happiness Over All Others

We all claim to want happiness, but most of us are not willing to do what it takes to obtain and retain the happiness we seek. The thing about happiness is that it comes with a set of sacrifices that have a lot (if not everything) to do with letting go of something or someone. And the thing about most people is that they have a hard time letting go of anything. We are an emotional species run amuck by emotional hoarding, tip-toeing around mounds of kept things, trying not to bump into them, afraid of the avalanche that is sure to ensue. We are deathly afraid of moving forward because the only thing we know is what has already gone and everything ahead is a complete mystery. So, we stay stuck and there is nothing about staying stuck that relates or equates to happiness.

In order to have all the things you've ever wanted, you're going to have to give up all the things you never needed and the things that you may have needed once upon a time, but that no longer serve you. But how do you know what those things are? How do you know what's really going to make you happy? How do you know what or who you do not need? For me, the answer to that is obvious.

Those Who Make You Happy:

Happiness is fleeting, it comes and goes and it will always do this, as will all other emotions. Emotions are fickle and ever-changing, but they are also a very good indicator or what and who you need to keep around. Take relationships for instance––do the people you spend your time with make you happy? Sure, there are days you may feel like taping your man's mouth shut or dropping your best friend in the middle of the desert and leaving her there, but on a deeper level, do these people add to your overall happiness? If the answer is a resounding yes, they can stay––for now.

Those Who Make You Unhappy:

For the people constantly aggravate you, who always make you feel angry or sad, those who drain you, are constantly complaining or arguing with you––it's time for them to go. Now, within this group of people, I am sure you would like to exclude a few of them based on the nature of your relationship or the things you may have been through with each other over the years. However, nostalgia is not a reason to hold on to an energy that makes you unhappy and, sorry to break it to you, but neither is family relation. What I am saying to you is that I don't care if it's your ninety-year-old grandmother, if she makes you feel bad, dump her.

Why We Dump the Downers:

Dumping your grandmother may seem harsh but that's because it is. Here's the thing: when you learn to put your happiness first, to protect yourself from harm regardless of the source, you learn to care less about how others feel about your self-protection. Your main objective becomes and remains your overall happiness.

Yes, this is selfish.

No, selfishness is not always bad.

This is simply an extension of the put your oxygen mask on first theory. In order for you to function at a high level and to be effective in your life, you have to be healthy, and unhappy people are automatically not healthy. In order for you to have a thriving work and personal life, you have to feel and be your best. If you are surrounded by downers, they will only deplete your energy and enthusiasm, and which of us can afford that? Life is hard enough as it is, and we will always come into contact with people and circumstances that frigging suck. Let's not invite and allow these sorts or engeries into our lives, let's not give them time and space to get comfortable.

How to Dump the Downers:

There may be downers in your life you haven't known that long, or downers you have just grown apart from, and these are the people who should be the easiest to dump. You always have the option to ghost these people––that is to say––just disappear. This is easier to do when people aren't that close to you and are not a major part or your life. Sometimes, it's not worth the energy it takes to tell someone they are no longer welcomed or enjoyed. Some people are not worth the conversation and the back and forth that usually comes when they feel rejected. In cases like this, blocking phone numbers, emails, and social media accounts is a no hassle was of giving them a message without actually saying anything.

When dumping downers who are close to you, it's important to be kind in your pursuit of personal happiness. Whether by phone, email, or in person, make this more about you than about them. Don't point and wag your proverbial finger to try to make them feel bad about themselves and where they are in their personal growth and discovery. Be very careful not to become a downer when you're dumping a downer. Tell them you are going within and communicating less. Say you need more peace and me-time. Tell them you are separating from many people in your life and securing your self-care bubble, focusing on yourself and your personal needs. Leave the lines of communication open but put boundaries on them. Give them a special email address or allow them to leave you messages once in a while, but make it clear that you will not be in constant contact from this point onward.

It's okay and very helpful to be able to express why you are taking this step backward. Explaining yourself could be very helpful to the downer you're dumping and this may help them change their perspective and interactions. When doing this, remember:

Be kind.

Be gently.

Be happy.

New York Times best selling author, keynote speaker and workshop leader, founder of The Gorgeous Girl's Guide, Steffans Publishing Enterprises, and Karrine & Co.